Healthcare

Obamacare After 5 Years

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Health care expert Sally Pipes marks the 5th birthday of Obamacare with a painful reality check of the changes the health care law has made.

Promise: lower premiums by up to $2,500 per year for typical family.

2014 insurance premiums are 24.4% higher than they would have been without Obamacare, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Promise:  protect vulnerable patient populations from increases in drug prices.

Drug costs are being shifted to 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.Drug costs for these patients have skyrocketed as costs of drugs were shifted to patients.

Promise:  more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.

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.

Promise:  Government spending on Obamacare will be only $900 billion over 10 years.

This month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the law’s 10-year cost will reach $1.2 trillion.

Promise:  Obamacare will cover 34 million uninsured Americans by 2021.

The Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to 25 million obtaining coverage by 2025. Moreover 89% of Americans who have signed up for Obamacare in 2013 were already insured and simply switched insurance plans.

Promise:  Obamacare will let you keep your doctor and your hospital.

McKinsey & Co. noted that roughly two-thirds of the hospital networks available on the exchanges were either “narrow” or ultra-narrow,” meaning Obamacare plans refused to partner with at least 30% of the area’s hospitals. Other plans exclude more than 70%. More than 60% of doctors plan to retire earlier than anticipated — by 2016 or sooner, according to Deloitte. Coverage is worthless if patients can’t find a doctor or hospital who will see them.

“Time and again,” writes Pipes, “Obama has been proven wrong about what his health law would accomplish. Quality hasn’t improved, and costs continue to grow out of control.  So far at least, that’s Obamacare’s legacy.”

Source: Unhappy Birthday, Obamacare: Five Years After its Signing, the Affordable Care Act is Failing to Live Up to Its Promises, Sally Pipes, New York Daily News.