When President Obama’s landmark health care law ushered in a slew of new insurance options in 2013, the Andersons could not wait to sign up. But in April, when Roger Anderson fell while hiking and hurt his shoulder, he discovered, to his dismay, that simply being insured was not enough. The Andersons’ mid-tier health care plan costs them $875 a month and requires them to meet a $7,000 deductible before insurance payments kick in. Their experience echoes that of hundreds of thousands of newly insured Americans facing sticker shock over out-of-pocket costs.
Philip Dorsey, a retired lawyer and legal editor, recounts his experience with health insurance since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. Mr. Dorsey has been forced out of his plan each New Year’s Day since 2012.
“In the first year I got a glimpse of how reform reduced coverage for the many on the group health plans offered by large corporations to their employees. In the second year I saw how it had similar effects on the owners and employees in small businesses that obtain group plans through professional or trade associations. In the third year I would see how individuals who lost group insurance coverage were affected when forced into the individual market.”
The future of the Affordable Care Act could depend on the success of federal and state administrators in signing people up in the current open enrollment period—the last one before the 2016 election. Over 10 million people eligible for ACA coverage have yet to sign up. Retention of those already covered may be hindered by rising premiums, dissatisfaction with high deductibles or coinsurance in some plans, limited choices of providers offered by plans, or simple ignorance of the necessity to re-enroll.
A new survey by Gallup shows growing discontent with ObamaCare and the U.S. health care industry generally after years of relative satisfaction with the quality and cost of the health-care system. 53% of Americans rate health care quality in U.S. positively, 1 in 3 rate U.S. health care coverage positively, and fewer than 1 in 4 are satisfied with the cost of health care.
Gallup’s latest poll shows the majority of Americans still oppose the ACA, even two years after its full implementation. Those who are uninsured oppose the health care law by nearly 30 points.
The Obama administration officials are touting low premiums available during open enrollment on Healthcare.gov, but for many new patients receiving coverage under the ObamaCare exchanges, the sticker shock of sky-high deductibles leaves them just as vulnerable as before they were covered. The New York Times found that in many states, more than half the insurance plans offered on the federal exchanges had deductibles of $3,000 or more.
For the press, the debate over ObamaCare is over. There may be a few proverbial Japanese soldiers wandering on isolated islands yammering on about the failure of ObamaCare, but word will eventually filter down to them, too. This assumption is so deeply embedded that it is impervious to new evidence that ObamaCare is an unwieldy contraption that is sputtering badly. Yes, ObamaCare has covered more people and has especially benefited those with pre-existing conditions (to be credible, Republican replacement plans have to do these things, as well), but the program is so poorly designed that, surely, even a new Democratic president will want to revisit it to try to make it more workable.
Obamacare’s third year of open enrollment began on Sunday. People hoping to sign up saw a website with fresh photos and high-tech features. They found the actual insurance of the president’s signature law has gotten even worse. Unless something dramatic happens, this may be the year of the health care law’s collapse. Prices keep rising and service keeps fading. It should not surprise the administration that people are not signing up.
Waste: After spending billions on state-run ObamaCare exchanges, the federal government is only now writing clear rules on how that money can be spent, while half of the exchanges head toward bankruptcy.
state-run exchanges were supposed to form the beating heart of ObamaCare. And the Obama administration dumped almost $5 billion in an effort to make it a reality.
The results have been a disaster.
Of the 37 states that received $2.1 billion in grants to establish an exchange, only 17 did so, and they got an additional $2.7 billion from the feds.
Of those 17, two went bankrupt in the first year. One of them, Oregon, had received a $60 million “early innovator grant.” Residents of those states now use the federal Healthcare.gov site.
A memo from Health and Human Services’ Inspector General Daniel Levinson warns that some of the remaining may be violating federal law in an effort to stay afloat.
(Reuters) – Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a law on Monday that requires doctors to tell women that drug-induced abortions can be reversed and that blocks the purchase of insurance on the Obamacare health exchange that includes abortion coverage.
The requirement that patients be told that the effects of abortion pills may be undone by using high doses of a hormone was the most hotly contested provision during legislative debate.
Supporters said there was ample evidence the reversal was possible if acted upon quickly, although they provided no peer-reviewed studies in support of their position.