Some Americans will be given several extra days to sign up for Obamacare insurance plans after the federal enrollment period officially ends Friday, amid long waits on the government’s enrollment phone line.
With debate raging over federal tax reforms, health care has temporarily moved off center stage in U.S. policy debates. But with costs soaring, it won’t stay in the backseat long. Progressives will continue to promote the single-payer idea, with Senator Bernie Sanders and others advocating for “Medicare for All.”
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is a highly complex law and has made our current health care system more confusing. A single-payer system is attractive to many people because of its perceived simplicity – the U.S. government would provide direct health services to all Americans.
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- In absolute terms, the average worker in 2016 had to work 63 days a year just to cover his/her own health costs .
- In relative terms, the average American worker in 2016 must work 9 times as long to cover average health spending costs as his or her counterpart in 1940 .
- In comparative terms, the average American worker in 2016 must devote roughly twice as many work hours to cover health spending costs as to cover average food costs.
This year’s debate over trying to repeal, replace, or just rename Obamacare often recycled the well-worn nostrums concerning private health insurance arrangements. Among them:
■ A large majority of health care spending involves a much smaller, less healthy portion of the insured population, which means that the distribution of health care spending is highly concentrated.
■ Most individuals are healthy and need to spend very little on health care each year.
■ Sustainable health insurance markets require that healthy customers pay more than they want so that less healthy customers can pay less for the care they need.
■ Extensive government intervention, such as standardized benefits, generous subsidies, and limits on risk-based underwriting, is necessary in health care markets because those markets are prone to adverse selection and dangerous “death spirals.”
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