The Reality of Obamacare Hits Home
By Pat Fenati
While going door-to-door during my campaign last October, I spoke with a voter who told me his wife needed surgery. Since their deductible was $12,000, she planned to postpone the surgery until 2015 rather than use the deductible late in 2014 and face another $12,000 fee a few months later. For all intents and purposes, that family was paying large premiums for no insurance in 2014.
Also, one of my neighbors recently told me that his $300 monthly premium had risen to $1,300.00 after the Affordable Care Act was implemented. Assuming he makes his deductible, his annual cost for health care is now $20,600.
Next year, insurance companies in some states will be raising rates to levels that will be unaffordable for those who do not qualify for government assistance. In a recent article, Larry Kudlow said that Maryland Blue Cross Blue Shield has requested a 34% increase in premiums next year,* which means that many in our state will face preposterous premiums with outrageously high deductibles.
If that happens, my neighbor will be paying over $1,700.00 a month, bringing his total cost for insurance to nearly $26,000 a year. On top of the high premiums, every worker in the country is being charged an increased amount of 0.9% for Medicare tax. There is also a cap on health care flexible spending accounts and, despite the increase in medical expenditures, there is a higher threshold for itemized medical deductions.
Families are also paying more for no coverage, unless they are “lucky” enough to have a medical catastrophe that satisfies the deductible early in the year.
A salesperson who sells individual Obamacare insurance policies told me that her prospects almost go into shock when they realize what they have to pay to get insurance, how high the deductibles are, what their co-pays cost, and how many benefits they will lose. Many with serious conditions are no longer able to see their specialists. Some just walk away without insurance and others are devastated because they have no other choice.
In addition to hurting individuals, the ACA is hurting the economy, since the high cost of medical care means that most families have less discretionary income. Many studies also show that the president’s health care mandates discourage companies from hiring more full time staff while encouraging them to keep those who work less than 30 hours a week, and hold down the total number of employees to less than 50.
Perhaps some people whose premiums are subsidized by the government think they are getting a good deal. But wouldn’t it be better to have a full time job with higher pay? Even if their premium payments are subsidized, the deductibles and co-pays are still high. In a recent NBC/WSJ poll only 8% of those polled think Obamacare is working well.
Although the recent Supreme Court case that was decided in June, 2015, had offered an opportunity to scrap the law, it was instead reinterpreted and rewritten to preserve Obamacare subsidies.
It’s worth mentioning that insurance companies are not losing money under Obamacare, since the new plans usually result in higher premiums and fewer payouts. Before President Obama was elected, he said it would take more than one step to arrive at his ultimate goal of single payer government health insurance. This disaster is his first step. He seems to be betting that these expensive policies will lead the population to move to a government run health system without a lot of pushback.
With the escalating costs to cover health care needs, and the added cost of new government agencies created to administer health care options, I think the nickname of the “Affordable Care Act” should be changed to the “Obama Doesn’t Care Act.”