Thursday, November 19, 2015

2016 Sticker Shock - Unaffordable Care is Here

A detailed article in the Wall Street Journal today by Louise Radnofsky, Paul Overberg, and Stephanie Armour describes the disaster that awaits average Americans in 2016: double digit health insurance premium increases and huge increases in deductibles.  The idea, all along, was that average Americans with good health would pay through the nose to provide the money for poor people to gain insurance.  That's what's happening.

Here's just one example of many:

"Eric Elmquist, 37, of Franklin, Tenn., felt he was paying too much in 2014 for his Blue Cross Blue Shield plan at $878 a month for two adults and three children, with an annual deductible of $5,000. A year later, he had a plan with a premium of $1,089 and deductible of $7,000. Now, he is eyeing a premium of more than $1,416 to keep that plan."

The broad conclusion:
 
"Many people signing up for 2016 health policies under the Affordable Care Act face higher premiums, fewer doctors and skimpier coverage, which threatens the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs.
Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings. The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn’t allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions."

The reality has arrived.  Under the guise of the "Affordable Care Act," health care in America is becoming increasing unaffordable and unavailable.  This trend is not going to be reversed and things will continue to deteriorate until America's health care system begins to resemble the worst public schools in Chicago with a similar funding status.

Not to be outdone, the NY Times today has two articles of its own detailing the disastrous results of Obamacare.  Stacy Cowley's article discusses the problems that small business faces having to choose between compliance with Obamacare and their own growth or even their own survival.  Abby Goodnough describes one of life's new stresses, the annual search to find some health insurance that meets their needs.  This, of course, is something new that has been added to life by Obamacare -- fear, panic and anxiety as average Americans desperately try to find new coverage in the Obama world, most of whom were satisfied by the coverage they already had before the brave new world of Obama began.

Here's an apt quote from Goodnough's article: "I don't have a regular doctor anymore, so I avoid going."  Ah, health insurance without health care -- the Obama dream come true.

It is hard to imagine a worse health care regime than Obamacare.  Almost anything would be better than this.  For a country that grew up with free markets delivering the best quality of health care in the world, it is remarkable that this could all be destroyed in less than a decade by overzealous, inexperienced, dogmatic politicians, who, themselves, will never be subject to this terrible law.

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