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.
The Obama Administration has made big promises about lowering premium costs for families and businesses, so they are making a variety of arguments to pretend ObamaCare will save money. But claims that the law will produce large reductions in the “hidden tax” Americans pay for uncompensated care for the uninsured are significantly overblown.
The Congressional Budget Office has determined that ObamaCare’s program to create high-risk pools to cover the uninsured until 2014 will fail unless they are heavily restricted or cost an extra $5 to $10 billion. “Healthcare reform’s high-risk insurance pools could end up excluding hundreds of thousands of Americans or costing three times more than what’s budgeted now, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.”
Early retiree insurance costs are significant for many employers, and one of ObamaCare’s selling points was $5 billion in new funds to be given away to companies to cover those costs. But the fund won’t help much and businesses won’t get the benefits they were promised, because the fund is so small it will quickly run out. “Confusion over how the money will be distributed is frustrating employers, consultants and applicants say. ‘They’re already getting nervous,’ said Derek Guyton, a partner and actuary with human resources consultancy Mercer LLC in Chicago. ‘At some point, the money will just run out,’ he insists. Mr. Guyton said midsize employers are questioning whether it’s worth applying for the funding since it requires time-consuming calculations.”
Funding to cover the uninsured in state-based, high risk pools until the new insurance subsidies are rolled out is woefully inadequate and would cover less than 10 percent of those eligible, according to studies.