ObamaCare Came at Too High a Price

Reno Gazette Journal August 13, 2017


John with a family of three pays $17,000 a year for his health insurance. Trevor with a family of four spent over $14,000 in insurance premium and $7000 more in out-of-pocket costs last year. David’s premium has gone from $2600 to $9000 a year. He cut his finger recently and had to spend $1000 in out of pocket costs for seven stitches. These are just a few examples of the millions of forgotten men, women and children of Obamacare whose financial well-being is at peril thanks to Obamacare.  Exorbitant increases in medical cost are no longer the exception but the norm. Nationwide, in 2017 Obamacare premiums increased by 25%. In Nevada, carriers have requested a premium increase of 38% for 2018.

Obamacare’s primary goal is to provide healthcare to those who couldn’t afford it. Seven years later, we are nowhere close to achieving that goal and things are getting worse. In the subsidized market, 45 counties around the country will not have an insurance provider in 2018. Fourteen of those 40 counties are in Nevada. So, Nevadans living outside Washoe, Clark or Nye counties could lose their ability to purchase subsidized coverage in 2018. Nationwide, it is projected that 1388 counties representing a total of 40% of counties will have just one insurance carrier in 2018. As it stands right now, 2.3 million Obamacare participants have just one insurance carrier and 27,660 Americans are projected to lose their subsidized coverage entirely in 2018. These statistics come from The New York Times.

Back to the situation in Nevada, in the unsubsidized market the number of carriers are dropping. Those that remain are charging higher premiums with very high deductibles and co-pays. Platinum and Gold plans (which charge high premiums in return for lower deductibles and copays) are slowly disappearing leaving Nevadans with only plans that have exceedingly high deductibles.

To summarize Obamacare: In the subsidized market, insurance carriers are exiting and people are left without coverage. In the unsubsidized market, premiums are skyrocketing, choices are dwindling, deductibles and copays are rising. That aside, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln???

To be sure, there are some good things about Obamacare. Insurance carriers can no longer deny coverage to the approximately 1.5 million Americans who have pre-existing conditions. General checkups and preventive care (e.g. mammograms) are fully covered by all plans. While these are much needed improvements, they have come at a disproportionately high price. Requiring men to be covered for maternity care and grandmothers to be covered for pediatrics is not the way to go. Neither is forcing healthy Americans to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have unnecessary government-mandated coverage when all they need is catastrophic insurance at a fraction of the cost.

One final point: Obamacare, the way it stands right now, has not solved the problems it set out to solve while forcing many middle-class Americans to spend a much bigger portion of their paycheck to get coverage they don’t need and never will use. To quote Speaker Paul Ryan, “You cannot help America’s poor by making America poor”.