With a new report, the last defense of Obamacare has completely fallen apart.
The entire premise of Obamacare was that if we could force more people to buy health insurance coverage, at higher premiums and deductibles, the healthy would subsidize the sick and expand quality insurance coverage for all.
Those who still cling to Obamacare hold on to the premise that increased health insurance coverage for the previously uninsured or underinsured atones for Obamacare’s sins. An unconstitutional tax on people who chose not to have insurance? Worth it to drag them kicking and screaming into the market. Skyrocketing premiums? Healthy people need to pay more so that sick people can pay less. Government-mandated essential benefits requirements cancelled your old insurance plan? That plan was skimpy anyway, and you were underinsured.
The American people are repeatedly told by Democrats and Republicans alike that these core elements of Obamacare must be preserved, that they cannot be repealed, because Obamacare increased quality insurance coverage.
A new study blows those Obamacare premises to smithereens. Today, there are more underinsured Americans than there were before Obamacare. The law has made the problem worse.
Georgia Health News reports:
The Commonwealth Fund report said that last year, 28 percent of U.S. adults who were insured all year were “underinsured” — an estimated 41 million people.
The underinsured are people who have health insurance (including employer and individual exchange plans) but face deductibles and health care costs that are high in relation to their income.
The underinsured rate is more than double the rate in 2003, and up significantly from 2014, [when] it was 23 percent, or 31 million people, the Commonwealth Fund said. The share of adults who were underinsured has climbed in each coverage group since 2003: employer-based (both large and small employers), individual market, Medicaid and Medicare (emphasis added).
Because of Obamacare, out-of-pocket health care costs are so expensive that more Americans with health insurance today are unable to keep up with those costs than before Obamacare. Insurance companies are raising deductibles to manage their growing costs. As a result, people’s deductibles are too high. If you can’t afford the amount you need to pay before your insurance kicks in to cover your health care bills, your insurance is useless. That’s called being “underinsured.”
Obamacare was supposed to fix this problem by forcing insurance plans to cover a wide range of medical conditions — infamously forcing men to pay for coverage that included maternity coverage — and then subsidizing those plans with federal dollars to keep costs for the sick low. But that hasn’t happened. Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed since Obamacare became law. It expanded coverage by mandating plans people cannot afford to use.
Put simply, Obamacare has failed to do the basic thing Democrats and Republicans tell us it was supposed to do — provide insurance coverage that can pay your medical bills. Today, more Americans are paying more money for insurance plans that they cannot use.
The implications of this study should rattle Washington to the core. The American people ought to rise up and shake Washington. Republicans in Congress have promised to repeal Obamacare for nearly eight years now. Under President Trump, the GOP has not considered one true repeal bill. Each of the Republicans’ failed attempts at partial repeal have kept in place the parts of Obamacare causing premiums and deductibles to rise because essential health benefits and pre-existing conditions regulations are supposed to expand quality insurance coverage.
This study exposes Obamacare’s claim to expand quality coverage for the lie it always was. This study exposes Republican attempts to keep parts of Obamacare as utterly foolish. You cannot expand insurance coverage at the expense of reducing costs. You will achieve neither.
If President Trump wants to pass health care reform that truly makes health care great, the Republicans need to start with full repeal of Obamacare. Ignore the attacks from the Left and the charges that the GOP is taking health insurance coverage away.
The Democrat Obamacare plan already robbed millions of Americans of quality health insurance coverage. It’s time to kill that plan and move forward. And any Republican or Democrat members of Congress who fail to recognize this must be replaced.
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Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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