Five years after its signing, the Affordable Care Act known as ObamaCare is failing to live up to its promise – to say the least. We know from Jonathan Gruber that Barack Obama and everyone else involved in the “selling” of ObamaCare was lying, cajoling and B.S.’ing from the get-go – but it’s probably worse than you’re imagining.
Fewer options, higher costs, fewer doctors, substandard coverage. I know facts and figures are like kryptonite to the average Obama supporter, but after five years we have a whole bunch of them re: The Affordable Care Act known as ObamaCare.
There’s a great piece in the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS by Sally Pipes about ObamaCare’s fifth birthday and what has actually happened – not what Gruber, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama told you was going to happen:
… There’s little to celebrate.
When he signed his signature piece of legislation into law, President Obama guaranteed lower health-care costs, universal coverage and higher-quality care. Americans wouldn’t have to change their doctors if they didn’t want to. Five years later, the health law has failed to fulfill those grandiose promises.
“In the Obama administration,” candidate Obama boasted in 2008, “we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family in a year.”
Not quite. A recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research examined the non-group marketplace, where families and individuals who don’t get coverage through work shop for insurance. The report concluded that 2014 premiums were 24.4% higher than they would have been without Obamacare.
On Obamacare’s third birthday, the White House reassured Americans the law would protect vulnerable patient populations from increases in drug prices.
“Preventing them from being charged more because of a pre-existing condition or getting fewer benefits like mental health services or prescription drugs,” was a key purpose of the law, explained the White House.
Instead, drug costs for these patients have skyrocketed. The majority of health plans on the exchanges have shifted costs for expensive medications onto patients.
In 2015, more than 40% of all “silver” exchange plans — the most commonly purchased — are charging patients 30% or more of the total cost of their specialty drugs. Only 27% of silver plans did so last year.
Part of the problem is that Obamacare has quashed competition.
The president promised in 2013 that “this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.” But that hasn’t turned out to be true. According to the Heritage Foundation, the number of insurers selling to individual consumers in the exchanges this year is 21.5% less than the number on the market in 2013 — the year before the law took effect.
The Government Accountability Office reports that insurers have left the market in droves. In 2013, 1,232 carriers offered insurance coverage in the individual market.
By 2015, that number had shrunk to 310.
Consumers who purchase insurance on the law’s exchanges have fewer options than they had pre-Obamacare. McKinsey & Co. noted that roughly two-thirds of the hospital networks available on the exchanges were either “narrow” or “ultra-narrow.” That means that these insurance plans refuse to partner with at least 30% of the area’s hospitals. Other plans exclude more than 70%.
Patients may also have fewer doctors to pick from. More than 60% of doctors plan to retire earlier than anticipated — by 2016 or sooner, according to Deloitte. The Physicians Foundation reported in the fall that nearly half of the 20,000 doctors who responded to their survey — especially those with more experience — considered Obamacare’s reforms a failure.
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