The UnAffordable Care Act

Robert Book and Paul Howard have condensed the results of the Affordable Care Act for Forbes and the results are astounding…as you may well know from personal experience.  The ACA as it is also known is especially bad for people in the individual health insurance marketplace as contrasted with the employer-sponsored marketplace.

The first statement they make is rather chilling:

It turns out that across the board, for all ages and family sizes, for HMO, PPO and POS plans, premium increases averaged about 60% from 2013, the last year before ACA reforms took effect, to 2017.  In the same length of time preceding that, all groups experienced premium increases of less than 10%, and most age groups actually experienced premium decreases, on average

The alphabet jargon above is translated thusly for normal people:  HMO is Health Maintenance Organization, PPO is Preferred Provider Organization, and POS is Point of Service plans.  These look like larger groupings of a wide range of provider types so each group has a shot at staying alive financially.

They were also able to break down the pre-ACA and post-ACA changes by age, individual vs. family coverage and plan type.  They further report:

Overall, HMO premiums actually decreased 4.6% in the four years before the ACA reforms came into effect (from 2009 to 2013) but increased 46.4% in the first four years under the ACA.  POS premiums decreased 14.9% before the ACA, and increased a whopping 66.2% afterwards.  Premiums for the more common PPO plans increased 15% in the four years before the ACA, and 66.2% afterwards.

This is very dry ‘stuff’ but it seems necessary to make the point:  The Affordable Care Act has been anything but affordable.  That is, of course, the dollars and cents side of the ACA’s impact.  Something I’ve noted personally is the number of healthcare organization consolidations.  There is hardly a non-affiliated hospital to be found in my part of the country and I believe that is the case pretty much nationally.  Virtually all have become absorbed by a larger group, and some “larger groups” have already been absorbed by mega-groups.

Another result is that the larger the entity one belongs to, the less accessible it may have become.  I live within a seven-minute drive of a very nice hospital, but the closest hospital that I am permitted to use except in a true emergency is about a 25-minute drive (which would no doubt seem like a two-hour drive if I am transporting a family member in pain or worse).  The definition of a “true” emergency by contract also might vary and almost always is lesser than the person suffering the “emergency” believes it ought to be.

So, the fabled Affordable Care Act (ACA) legacy left us by the Democrats and Barack Obama has not necessarily lived up to the “affordable” part of its name, it has increased costs and in some cases decreased the availability of providers given subsequent mergers, etc.  I also think that it will prove to limit the numbers and quality of medical providers of care over the long haul.  Being a doctor or a nurse will not be the desired career it was pre-ACA given the effects the ACA is having on the general world of health care and on those in that field.

The need that spawned the ACA was a political need, not something that was being demanded by the populace.  It is commonly known also as ObamaCare and represents what I have long thought was his need, and the need of the Democrat Party, to socialize everything thus making government all-powerful and all-controlling.  This is borne out by the “O-Dark-Thirty” hour of its passage and the solid Democrat vote in favor of the program.  I will believe to my last breath that this monstrosity was never read by even one of the people who cast their vote for it.

Unfortunately, us voters seem to have relatively short memories, and we seem unable to peak under the skirt of our favored political party even on matters this serious.  The people heard what the Dems wanted them to hear, and felt “relieved” that Pelosi and Company had persevered to bring this wonderful gift to them.  And, the man whose name this monstrosity bears is at work to further his brand of “freedom” that has few real freedoms anywhere close to it.

We’ve not, unfortunately, heard the last of this cabal.

 

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