Obamacare is blowing up the health insurance industry – and our wallets

(BigGovernment.news) Well, we got “healthcare reform” like President Obama and Democrats promised. What we didn’t get was the promise of healthcare reform.

I’ll explain.

When Obama was campaigning for his first term, he promised that his healthcare plan would do several things: 1) expand coverage to all; 2) lower healthcare costs overall; 3) lower health insurance premiums; 4) keep in place current patient-doctor relationships.

None of this has happened. In fact, just the opposite of each of these promises has come true, denying us true “reform” in the truest sense of the word.

Expand coverage to all

While more Americans are actually now covered – that is, they now have health insurance, whereas they did not before Obamacare – far from all Americans are covered. In September, FiveThirtyEight reported that while 9 million people gained coverage last year, 33 million still were not covered. Many Americans have chosen not to get coverage because it’s expensive (more on that in a moment), so they have chosen instead to pay the fines mandated by the law for any year of non-coverage.

Lower costs overall

In June, Forbes reported that the law is not having the cost-saving effect on healthcare that it was promised to have. Rather, healthcare costs are rising faster than inflation.

“It seems that over-regulation, excessive taxation, and a few additional issues are the root of this problem,” writes Matt Patton. “What can be done to reduce health care costs? Health care, like any other industry, needs competition to push prices lower. Unfortunately, because each policy must cover the 10 essential health benefits, insurance companies have no latitude to create innovative, customized policies. It reminds me of the original Model-T Ford. You could buy a Model-T in any color you desired, as long as it was black.”

Lower premiums

One of Obama’s main promises was that his Affordable Care Act would be, well, affordable, and that meant lowering out-of-pocket costs for Americans.

Hasn’t happened. In fact, out-of-pocket costs are skyrocketing, mostly in the form of higher premiums and deductibles.

The Washington Free Beacon reported last week that deductibles are climbing rapidly in 41 states, with some rising as high as nearly $1,400 per customer, per year.

 

 

“While some states are already facing high deductibles of $3,000 or more, the tracker finds that deductibles increased by $265 or 8.4 percent on average, with some state deductible increases rising as high as $1,395,” the news site reported.

Keep your doctor – and your plan

Yeah, about that…not so much. In fact, because of mandates and requirements in the law, not every doctor or insurance company is participating, at least on the same level. Before the law was passed, Americans were able to choose their own levels of coverage. But Obamacare mandates a basic level of coverage for everyone, even if they don’t want certain kinds of coverage (like men having to carry coverage for obstetrical care). So tens of millions of Americans lost their current plans when the law took effect.

As for coverage, well, there is a difference between being covered (insured) and actually having access to a primary care provider.

Some physicians have chosen to retire because of all the of regulatory madness contained in the massive law. Others have decided to start “concierge practices” and have stopped taking insurance of any kind (government and private industry).

So in the end, it’s true that Obamacare has reformed the American healthcare industry. But what it hasn’t done is deliver on its promises of reform as they were sold to the public. In fact, you could certainly argue that the healthcare and health insurance industries are much worse off today after being more heavily regulated than they were before.

What’s needed is for Washington to get out of the business of regulating what ought to be a free market. Competition – in which practices and insurance companies compete for patients and customers by offering superior or hard-to-find services – will lower prices inherently, while raising customer satisfaction.

In other words capitalism, not socialism, will fix American health care, and finally deliver on the promise of true reform.

See also:

FiveThirtyEight

Forbes

Washington Free Beacon

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