ObamaCare’s provisions to help the uninsured before the massive subsidy program starts is off to a rocky start. “Earlier this month, the Obama administration launched the latest version of high-risk pools, as authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The new pools are off to a stumbling start – behind schedule, facing resistance (or indifference) from many state governments, structurally flawed, and substantially underfunded. In other words, ‘Close enough for government work.'”
“Does President Obama have any idea what’s in his own health-care reform law? Since he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a bit more than 100 days ago, the president has given a number of speeches and interviews in which he continues to say things that, well, just aren’t so. Just last Friday, he told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that the law ‘not only makes sure everybody has access to coverage but is reducing costs.’ Wrong on both counts.”
“I think what is interesting is how poorly the law stacks up against its proponents’ own criteria. The new law fails to control rising health-care costs or increasing health-insurance premiums. In fact, the legislation will actually increase U.S. health-care spending by $311 billion over ten years. Insurance premiums will roughly double over the next six years, roughly what was expected before the law passed. It doesn’t restructure programs in a way to improve quality… By 2019, there will still be 21 million uninsured Americans, and nearly half of those who do get coverage under this law are merely thrown into Medicaid. Many other touted reforms come with surprisingly high price tags. For example, sure you can now keep your children on you insurance plan through age 26, but it will cost them an average of $3,380 per year per child in higher premiums. Even if you believed completely in President Obama’s goals, it’s hard to see what there is to like about this law.”
ObamaCare is substantially worse than most people think. “The length and complexity of the legislation, combined with a debate that often generated more heat than light, has led to massive confusion about the law’s likely impact. But, it is now possible to analyze what is and is not in it, what it likely will and will not do. In short, the more we learn about what is in this new law, the more it looks like bad news for American taxpayers, businesses, health-care providers, and patients.”
Emergency room visits in Massachusetts have skyrocketed since their health care system was changed in 2006. “[E]xpanded coverage may have contributed to the rise in emergency room visits, as newly insured residents entered the health care system and could not find a primary care doctor or get a last-minute appointment with their physician.” ObamaCare will create similar results nationally, as its massive coverage expansion will exacerbate the existing doctor shortages.
State-run high-risk pools can provide coverage for the up-to-4-million uninsured Americans with expensive preexisting conditions, and they can do so for $15 to $20 billion a year — compared to ObamaCare’s cost, from 2018 onward, of over $200 billion a year. Furthermore, ObamaCare’s alternative solution of requiring insurers in the regular market to cover people with preexisting conditions at regular premiums, would likely cause a “death spiral”: everyone else’s premiums would rise as a result; many younger and healthier people would respond by dropping their insurance and paying the fine (knowing they could sign back up as necessary); premiums would therefore rise further; more healthy people would drop out; etc. But high-risk pools have to be well-designed, unlike the pools that will start this year under ObamaCare (long before most of the overhaul), which are very poorly designed and will be very poorly funded (receiving less than $2 billion a year, or less than 1 percent of what ObamaCare would soon cost), and hence are doomed — if not designed — to fail.
ObamaCare is predicted to result in over 30 million more Americans getting insurance, but what exactly does that mean if they don’t have access to actual medical care? Emergency rooms are expected to be severely overcrowded because of the law, even though they are currently over capacity. “The biggest users of emergency rooms by far are Medicaid recipients. And the new health insurance law will increase their ranks by about 16 million. Medicaid is the state and federal program for low-income families and the disabled. And many family doctors limit the number of Medicaid patients they take because of low government reimbursements.”
When it comes to ways to make coverage available to uninsured Americans with expensive preexising conditions, high-risk pools would cost less than one-tenth as much as ObamaCare, wouldn’t raise everyone else’s premiums, wouldn’t decimate the private insurance market, and wouldn’t leave us with government-run health care.
Evidence of a significant free-rider problem in Massachusetts may be a harbinger of things to come under Obamacare.
Since 1997, 13 years before the passage of ObamaCare, it has been illegal for health insurers to drop someone because they are sick — and, even before then, the practice almost never happened.