More on the (un)Affordable Care Act
With every day that passes the questions about President Obama's signature accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, are mounting. We've all heard the White House talking points that there's an incredible amount of interest in signing up for the new healthcare plans being offered under the law and that the volume of visitors is what's causing the technical problems. That is pure spin. The fact is that very, very few people are signing up for the plans and technical difficulties are only partly to blame. A partial roundup of recent media items about the Unaffordable Care Act, the dearth of buyers and the perverse incentives it unleashes on the market is below the fold.
Conservative columnist Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post:
Even if the administration manages to fix the Web site and finally implement the individual mandate, people still may not join — because the plans being offered are so unattractive. To entice people to join the exchanges, the administration forced insurers to offer low monthly premiums and cover people with preexisting conditions. Insurers have responded by increasing deductibles — the out-of-pocket costs people must pay before insurance benefits kick in — to stratospheric levels.
According to an analysis this weekend by the president’s hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, “21 of the 22 lowest-priced plans offered on the Illinois health insurance exchange for Cook County have annual deductibles of more than $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for family coverage. .?.?. Plans with the least expensive monthly premiums — highlighted by state and federal officials as proof the new law will keep costs low for consumers — have deductibles as high as $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families.” Even with federal subsidies, few Americans will bother to buy insurance with a $4,000 to $12,700 deductible — and millions won’t even be eligible for the subsidies.
If enough Americans don’t join the exchanges, Obamacare collapses. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the administration needs at least 7 million people to join the exchanges for Obamacare to be financially viable
Article in the Miami Herald:
Nearly two weeks after the federal government launched the online Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov, individuals who have successfully used the choked-up website to enroll for a subsidized health insurance plan have reached a status akin to urban legend: Everyone has heard of them, but very few people have actually met one.
The Miami Herald searched high and low for individuals who completed enrollment for a subsidized health plan through the marketplace, also called an exchange, launched by the federal government on Oct. 1 in 36 states, including Florida...
As of Friday, however, only a smattering of success stories had emerged in news reports. Politico.com, an online news outlet, reported that a 21-year-old Georgia resident who enrolled successfully has become a cause célèbre, with national media and even the White House touting his story...
HHS has not said how many people in Florida or elsewhere have enrolled or attempted to enroll. Federal officials said that Americans have enrolled for coverage through the exchange, but they have declined to reveal how many. Obama administration officials said they will release those numbers once a month.
Insurers selling plans on Florida’s exchange, such as Florida Blue, also said a number of consumers have purchased subsidized plans through the exchange. But they, too, have declined to say how many.
The San Francisco Chronicle offers this handy guide to getting your health insurance subsidized: lower your income:
People whose 2014 income will be a little too high to get subsidized health insurance from Covered California next year should start thinking now about ways to lower it to increase their odds of getting the valuable tax subsidy.
"If they can adjust (their income), they should," says Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation. "It's not cheating, it's allowed."
Jim Angle from Fox News on ACA sticker shock:
Andy Mangione, who lives in Louisville, Ky. with his wife Amy and their two boys, is doing the same thing millions of people are doing --trying to figure out how much his insurance will cost under ObamaCare...
The problem is the plan closest to what he has now will mean a 24 percent increase over his current payment-- after subsidies...
They're not the only ones with sticker shock.
Members of Congress say constituents have been complaining, as they recently described some of their mail.
Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., read from one constituent who said "I remember our president saying the new health care bill will reduce costs. I have my health care renewal forms, and the premium has increased about 15 percent, a $700 deductible is added, and my co-payment has increased."
Now that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has gone into effect, the debate will shift from promises and theories to what consumers actually experience. As we are seeing, the first reaction appears to be bipartisan sticker shock.
The Manhattan Institute analyzed premiums in many states, including Texas, showing that young men are going to pay almost double for their health insurance under Obamacare, and women will pay 55 percent to 62 percent more.