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Obamacare Is Failing…Just as Planned

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:16
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(Before It's News)

obamacare-fail

It’s almost that time again!

The Department of Health and Human Services released a research brief yesterday titled

HEALTH PLAN CHOICE AND PREMIUMS IN THE 2017 HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE

It’s a 40-page document, and the second paragraph begins with:

When the 2017 Open Enrollment Period begins on November 1, 2016, millions of Americans will once again be able to shop for high-quality, affordable health care coverage through the Marketplace.

High-quality? Affordable?

On what planet?

There is an important footnote on page 1:

This brief does not analyze consumers’ final expenses, after considering other health plan features, such as deductibles and copayments. Consumers may examine all elements of health insurance plans in order to estimate expected total out-of-pocket costs.

I’ll get to the point: Health-insurance premiums will go up by an average of 25% in 2017 across the 39 states that are served by the federally run online market. Some states will see much bigger increases, others less.

The entire report makes no mention whatsoever of deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses. I wonder why that is?

Not only does the government report avoid discussion of those costs entirely, is very difficult to find information on how much deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs like co-pays are anywhere.

In The Latest Problem Under the Affordable Care Act, Nathan Nascimento of National Review addressed this issue. Here are some excerpts from that article.

The latest problem with health plans obtained through the law’s exchanges is one that’s largely flown under the radar: the enormous deductibles that come with them. While monthly premiums can aptly be described as how much it costs to have insurance, deductibles are how much it costs to use it. On average, that cost now runs well into the thousands of dollars annually, severely limiting access to insurance patients can afford to use.

Average deductibles for silver plans — which accounted for nearly 70 percent of the exchanges’ 9.3 million enrollees last year — now average $2,994. The second most popular Bronze plans have average deductibles of $5,629. Of the three most popular categories, gold plans were the only category to see deductibles decline (by 0.6 percent to $1,105), but carry premiums too expensive for most Americans to afford.

Paying $3,000 or $5,600 before their insurance kicks in simply isn’t an option for most families in times of emergency. A December 2015 survey by Bankrate.com found that 63 percent of Americans don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected emergency-room visit costing $1,000. A recent report from the New York Times put it bluntly: Rising out-of-pocket costs have rendered many exchange plans “all but useless” for those already struggling to make ends meet.

Nascimento goes on to explain that while it is easy to blame insurance companies for these outrageous prices, they, too, are suffering because of the ACA:

…many of them are hemorrhaging cash on the exchanges, too. The largest U.S. health-insurance provider, UnitedHealth, recently announced losses of nearly $1 billion in 2015 and 2016 on plans sold via exchanges. Other insurers have also lost significant sums.

Co-pays under ACA plans range from $28 to $56 per visit, according to a 2015 article.

More concerning points from the government’s report:

The number of issuers offering health plans in the Marketplace has decreased from 2016 to 2017.

Across the HealthCare.gov states, 15 new issuers will begin offering Marketplace plans for the 2017 coverage year, while 83 issuers that offered plans in 2016 will no longer offer plans through the Marketplace in 2017.

Higher premiums, ridiculously high deductibles, and co-pays all add up to make the Affordable Care Act decidedly UNaffordable.

Even politicians who were once in favor of the ACA are now pointing out the massive problems with the program.

Democratic Minnesota Governor, Mark Dayton, recently called for changes to the healthcare exchanges in his state saying that “the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable.” 

From Zero Hedge‎:

Of course, these comments come just 1 week after Minnesota Commerce Commissioner, Mike Rothman, posted a letter to the state’s website saying that the state succeeded in preserving the exchanges for one more year by agreeing to massive rate hikes but warned they are on the “verge of collapse.”  The letter goes on to describe Minnesota’s healthcare rate environment as “unsustainable and unfair” and notes that “middle-class Minnesotans” are being “crushed by the heavy burden of these costs.”

Rate increases for 2017 range from 50% – 67% across Minnesota.

Here’s a chilling example of what people in Minnesota can expect, from Hot Air:

Minnesota House speaker Kurt Daudt told me about a local farming family of three that has to pay $2300 a month in premiums for 2016 for a policy with a $13,000 deductible. That’s $40,000 out of pocket before the first benefit outside of a standard wellness check (~$500 per person tops) gets covered.

For some reason, they stuck with the insurance this year, but Minnesota’s rates will be going up 50-67% in 2017. On the low end, that’ll make their premiums $3450 a month, which escalates that threshold to over $54,000 with premiums and deductibles added together. That’s more than some hospitalizations would cost, so … why would they stay in the exchanges?

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., urged the White House to admit that the health care law wasn’t working, reports Fox News:

“We’ve reached this point because ObamaCare is built on the lie that Washington’s bureaucrats are smart enough to plan health care for millions of Americans. At every turn — whether it’s CO-OPs collapsing, premiums skyrocketing, or big insurers bailing — the American people have paid the price. More spin won’t solve this — it’s time for the White House to admit that this law isn’t working.”

Oh, but isn’t it “working”? Didn’t Democrats want this to fail, so they can make a case for a single-payer system?

The Obama administration and supporters of Obamacare would like us to believe that the financial assistance provided in the form of subsidies provide significant savings to ACA customers, and that this offsets the sky-high premiums.

But an estimated 5 million to 7 million people are either not eligible for the income-based assistance, or they buy individual policies outside of the health law’s markets, where the subsidies are not available.

In addition, enrollment has been lower than initially projected, and insurers say patients turned out to be sicker than expected. Moreover, a complex internal system to help stabilize premiums has not worked as planned.

From Bloomberg:

Nationwide estimates of the number of people losing their current plans are higher. For example, Charles Gaba, who tracks the law at ACASignups.net, estimates that 2 million to 2.5 million people in the U.S. will lose their current plans, compared with 2 million a year ago. Gaba’s estimate is based on insurance company membership data.

Currently, #ObamacareFail and #Obamacare are trending topics on Twitter.

Let’s take a look at what people are saying.

And, she makes a great point…

As I stated last week in 8 Ways Control Freak Government is Sabotaging Freedom and Making Life More Difficult For Us:

The Obama administration promised Americans that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would allow us to keep our plans and our doctors, that our premiums would be lower, that families making less than $250,000 per year would not see any form of tax increase, that we would have more choices and lower costs, and that every American would be insured.

Not a single one of those promises has been kept. In fact, the opposite of every one of those claims is now true, and the middle class is suffering the most.

Premium hikes.

Outrageous deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

Less choice.

I think it’s time to officially change the name of the ACA to the UCA – the Unaffordable Care Act.

For those who cannot afford health insurance, concierge care (also referred to as “direct care” or “membership practices”) may be an option. Doctors who use this business model charge patients a monthly or annual membership fee or retainer for unlimited office access (usually including 24-hour email and/or telephone accessibility), and bill patients for tests and supplies that are used.

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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”

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