Respected health policy analyst Bob Laszewski concludes that Obamacare has failed and that is why Democrats want to move on. “Obamacare is ‘Stable’ at an Incredibly Unstable Place,” he writes, “The Democrats Want to Move Beyond Obamacare Because We Have No Other Choice.”
“Simply, we went from a pre-Obamacare system that hurt the poor and the sick to a post-Obamacare system that works well for the poor and sick but has made things much worse for the middle-class––but is very, very profitable for the insurance industry,” Laszewski writes.
“Many of the long-time Obamacare supporters now refer to this as a ‘stable’ system. But how can anything that so negatively impacts the American middle-class be considered stable?”
Laszewski says healthy, middle-income people are still being hurt significantly by the law with “ever higher premiums driving out even more of the unsubsidized who could no longer afford the premiums and deductibles,” adding, “family plans costing $15,000 to $20,000 a year with $7,000 individual deductibles were not uncommon.”
In an earlier interview, he called Obamacare Zombie Care. “I mean, it’s just going to stumble along. A zombie’s the walking dead. So, Obamacare is still there, it’s still walking around. It’s still selling health insurance plans to people. But it has no chance in its present form of ever offering affordable and attractive health insurance. And more and more people are just exiting it and going uncovered because they can’t afford it.”
2020 enrollment has begun in the ACA exchanges, and the Trump administration has taken steps to try to improve the market, as Brian Blase documents and as CMS administrator Seema Verma explains. But the fundamental structure of the law still drives millions of people out of the market, as Doug Badger and Jamie Hall write in What You Should Know about the Uninsured.
To validate Laszewski’s conclusions, a recent survey of attitudes toward health insurance showed that only 14% of respondents with individual insurance gave their plans a top grade. Overall, 42% of people with an individual or ACA plan rated their plan poorly. That’s the worst rating by far. Here is the full report at insurance.com/Google on health insurance satisfaction survey results.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren just released her plan to pay for Medicare for All by increasing taxes by more than $20 trillion (still at least $12 trillion short, according to an analysis by economist Chuck Blahous). The rest would be paid for by dramatically cutting other federal spending.
Even with all that, payments to physicians and hospitals would have to be slashed dramatically and be paid at often-below-cost government rates, driving many of them out of business or forcing them to dramatically curtail services.Perhaps it is time to look at more sensible approaches that decentralize power, moving it away from Washington through the states to individuals so we can get a properly functioning market working in our health sector, as the new Republican Study Committee plan envisions, and as the Health Policy Consensus Group recommends with Health Care Choices.