According to a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association report, people who enrolled in health insurance through the ACA appear to be sick than expected. People who enrolled in individual health insurance plans after 2014 were less healthy and used more healthcare in 2014 and 2015 than those who were already enrolled in individual plans and those who receive insurance through their employer.
The report isn’t without its shortcomings. It looked only at BCBS plans, not the entire universe of Obamacare insurers. But that’s still a sizable sample. BCBS companies participate in the exchanges more than any other insurer.
Gonshorowski and Haislmaier examined the effects of the law’s new insurance regulations they found the three most costly ones—age rating restrictions, benefit mandates, and minimum actuarial value requirements—increased the cost of the previously available least expensive plans in a state by 41 percent to 51 percent for younger adults (the group most likely to be uninsured), and by 1 percent to 18 percent for pre-retirement-age adults.
ObamaCare’s “Millennial mandate,” the requirement that employers who offer health coverage for employees’ dependents continue to offer such coverage until the dependents turn 26 years old, is one of those supposed free lunches.
This mandate’s benefits unquestionably come at a cost. Expanding health insurance coverage among adults age 19-26 leads them to consume more medical care. When those people file insurance claims, health-insurance premiums rise. Yet ObamaCare does an amazing job of hiding those costs from voters.
Obamacare was a badly designed law. We could have achieved gains in insurance coverage without Obamacare’s regulation-heavy approach; we could have addressed the health-care system’s discrete problems without trying to overhaul it from Washington, D.C. Those without access to employer health plans could have been given enough money to buy a policy that protected them against catastrophic expenses — and that offered more protection if they put some of their own income into the policy.
More Americans think the law has hurt them than think it has helped them. And as flawed as the law already appears, worse days may be ahead for it.
Americans have found that health-care expenses for many individuals and families are higher, their insurance costs are higher, their choice of doctors and insurance is diminished, and the total costs of the program are burdening a weak economy. Had members of Congress known then what they know now, they would never have passed Obamacare.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the transformation of the nation’s health care system, HHS has gone from a minor regulatory player to the second most-burdensome regulator, measured by the amount of paperwork they pile on Americans, behind only the IRS.
In 2008, HHS imposed roughly 412 million hours of paperwork, up sharply from 152 million hours in 1995. By 2016, however, with the help of hundreds of new ACA regulations, HHS’s paperwork burden has increased to roughly 700 million hours, an increase of more than 300 million hours since President Obama took office.
Both the percentage of employers who offer insurance and the percentage of people covered will be important to watch as the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to unfold. New coverage provisions and financial assistance provided in the ACA affect employers’ decision to offer coverage and employees’ decisions to take up any coverage they are offered at work. The employer shared responsibility provision, for example, requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to offer coverage to full-time employees and their dependent children or face a financial penalty.
The administration has decided to explore the ‘next chapter’ of healthcare reform, rather than focusing on the issues of access and affordability.
The administration continues with an aggressive agenda to make administrative changes that impact millions of people without benefit of congressional input.
The latest changes that the Obama administration wants to make to Medicare Advantage plans offered to retirees of companies, labor unions, and municipal governments—called Medicare Advantage Employer-Group Waiver Plans (EGWP, pronounced “egg whips”).
Most of the criticism of Obamacare by its right-of-center opponents has focused on its regulatory mandates, botched implementation and rising premiums for less-favored purchasers. Far less attention has been paid to how little the new health law accomplished in fulfilling its advocates’ promises to boost the growth of small business and new entrepreneurial start-up firms.
The Bureau of Commercereports that new business formation inched up slightly for a few years from its low point in 2010 – after four years of decline. But its 2013 figure of 406,000 new businesses remains far below the recent pre-recession peak number of 560,000 in 2006.
Similar measures of entrepreneurial activity by the Kauffman Foundation find modest evidence of recent upticks, but levels still below historical norms.
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Liberals have been claiming for decades that U.S. companies are at a disadvantage because they help finance health insurance for their workers while their competitors in nations with government-run health systems don’t bear those costs.
Instead of addressing the problem, ObamaCare made it worse.
- The law mandated that U.S. firms provide their workers with health insurance or pay a fine of $2,000 to $3,000 per worker, and imposed significant regulatory compliance burdens on them.
- The American Action Forum estimates that the Affordable Care Act has imposed costs of $50.1 billion in state and private-sector burdens and added 177.9 million annual paperwork hours.
- The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the law will result in a reduction in work hours equivalent to the loss of two million jobs over the next decade.