(Before It's News)
There are a few things about the Affordable Care Act that members of both parties agree on, but there is at least some consensus on the law’s biggest drawbacks.
It’s what should be done about these problems where most Democrats and Republicans part company. That’s why Congress has done little to fix things. Republicans often say they want to repeal the whole law, but many also often agree on at least our top two “best” aspects of the law commonly known as Obamacare. Democrats, on the other hand, want to address some of the law’s biggest problems — which they often say occurred because it was a compromise involving powerful factions of industry, including insurers, hospitals, doctors and drug makers.
As its fourth open enrollment starts Tuesday, here are five of the things most would agree are best about the ACA, followed by what’s not working.
The good news:
- Sick is OK. Insurers can no longer penalize people — or refuse to insure them — for having pre-existing medical conditions.
- Out-of-pocket spending capped. Before the ACA, people were often bankrupted by medical bills, but now there are annual maximums they would have to pay. lifetime caps by insurers not allowed.
- Kids covered later. Parents can keep their children on their insurance until age 26.
- Insurers’ profits capped. Insures have to spend at least 80% of people’s premiums on their health care, not bolstering their bottom lines.
- Far more insured. Thanks in part to subsidies for those making 400% of the federal poverty limit — about $97,000 for a family of four — and Medicaid expansion to cover the lowest income people in 32 states, up to 20 million more people now have insurance.
Now the bad news:
- Individual mandate lacks teeth. It’s often cheaper to pay the tax penalty for being uninsured than to buy the insurance, which keeps healthier young people from signing up and offsetting the costs of insuring older, sicker ones.
- Often not affordable without subsidies. Without tax credits and the subsidies to reduce cost sharing, the definition of affordable depends for many on whether…
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