Liberals pretend that, for people who lost their health care plans because of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act will lower monthly premiums while offering the same or better coverage—and other people won’t even be affected! They promise a veritable gold standard for 21st-century health care delivery.
Their claim is all flash and no substance.
First, health care premiums are not lower across the board, as Obama promised they would be once his act was passed. They are lower only for certain subgroups, such as people who qualify for federal subsidies; people who live in states like New York or California that have already jacked up premiums exorbitantly; and people with preexisting conditions who justifiably get charged more for the cost risk they pose.
For just about everyone else who lost his plan, premiums are heading north. In 2014 this will affect those on the individual market and those who work for small businesses. In 2015, when the employer mandate kicks in, it will affect many if not most who receive insurance through large employers.
Second, even for the minority of plan-losers who enjoy lower premiums next year, the government is offsetting this cost through huge annual deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. Many low-income people who can afford only the cheapest “Bronze” Obamacare plans can’t budget the outrageous annual deductibles they must pay before they see a penny of reimbursement. Many middle-income people who fall just below the threshold for subsidies face a lose-lose tradeoff: buy a Bronze plan with monthly premiums similar to what they paid before but a huge deductible, or minimize their deductible by paying higher monthly premiums.
Lots of middle-income people who do meet the subsidy threshold will nonetheless find themselves paying more. Why? Because federal and state exchanges cover a narrower range of hospitals and doctors than many plans do now, and consumers who want to stick with their current arrangement will shell out more for out-of-network services that were previously considered in-network.
To sum up, low-income people won’t have it nearly as easy under Obamacare as promised, and many with high deductibles will pay the full cost of expensive medical bills in addition to monthly premiums they didn’t pay before. Many middle-income people will pay higher premiums, deductibles, or both for the same coverage.
Third, even if Obamacare manages to cover a few people at near-zero premiums and drastically reduced deductibles, it will either help only a tiny sliver of the population, many fewer people than promised; or generate enormous costs to taxpayers who will have to pick up the tab if the program expands to generously cover more people. As Huffington Post writer Nathan Newman admits, “As conservative critics snipe at Obamacare for out-of-pocket expenses being too high for families making more and not qualifying for these subsidies, we should be pointing to these formulas [for poor people] and agreeing that we need amendments to extend cost sharing subsidies to more families” [emphasis added]. In liberals’ dream world, everyone but wealthy Obama donors will be saddled with Bronze plans.
So a few poor, older people in New York and California may end up better under Obamacare. But liberals are pushing for generous health care entitlements to spread to an ever-growing swath of society, an arrangement that will eventually squeeze the middle class out of the health care market. And a nation without a stable middle class can’t fund a massive new entitlement for a swelling portion of society, which means even the poor won’t get much help for much longer.
Finally, Obamacare is funded through openly larcenous schemes such as swiping billions of dollars in tax credits from people who used to be allowed to deduct most medical expenses from their incomes for tax purposes. This is yet another way in which Obamacare hurts the people it is supposed to be helping.
So Obamacare doesn’t help people who can barely scrounge up enough to pay for a Bronze plan, and it doesn’t help people who have to upgrade to Silver for the same coverage.
It doesn’t help individual market subscribers or those who work for small businesses, and soon it won’t help those with large employers.
It doesn’t help frugal red states, and soon it won’t help prodigal blue states.
It doesn’t help young people, and soon it won’t help old people.
It doesn’t help the middle class, and soon it won’t help the poor.
In the long run, Obamacare’s cheap, flashy, structurally hollow aluminum plans help no one.
Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics
- Here Are Three Things We Can Do About Obamacare Rate Shock (businessinsider.com)
- Woman cited by Obama as ObamaCare success story … can’t afford her new insurance (hotair.com)
- Professionals,Skilled Workers, Fund Obamacare’s Subsidies (tomohalloran.com)
- Tackling The Questions Raised By The Affordable Care Act (ronaldkkentii.wordpress.com)
- Here’s Why Both Parties Lie All The Time About Health Care (businessinsider.com)