Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Obamacare: More Is Less

Among the many fictions President Obama and his supporters are currently peddling is this one: the insurance policy you will get on an Obamacare exchange will be vastly better than the one you were just forced out of.

Once the nation understands it, they believe, the tide of public opinion will turn toward Obamacare.

Apparently, this is not merely a convenient fiction sold to the uninformed masses. Since President Obama and his supporters seem fervently to believe it, it counts as self-delusional.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb ran the numbers for the new Obamacare policies. By his anlaysis most of those who buy policies through the exchanges will get less coverage at a greater expense.

Your government at work: making a mess of the private insurance market and damaging citizens in the process.

One analysis found that the average deductible for someone who enrolls in a “Silver” plan is more than twice the deductible for employer-sponsored coverage. Deductibles for the lowest-cost “Bronze” plans (which cover only 60 percent of projected medical costs) average $5,150 for an individual and can be as high as $6,350 or $12,700 for a family of four.

So exchange insurance isn’t so great if you actually get sick.

Say you come down with a slipped disk in your back, and run up medical bills of $10,000 for imaging and doctor visits: You’ll be on the hook for at least $5,000 of that with a Bronze plan, on top of $3,000-plus for your premiums.

And you may have to pay the entire bill for any out-of-network care you choose — as well as for any medications. Typically, only 60 percent of drug costs are covered, and newer drugs are restricted by the plans in favor of mostly generic medicines.

Gottlieb does mention that anyone who did not have insurance or who qualifies for government subsidies will be better off than they were before. The question is: at what price? And, who is going to pay?

Consumers can get subsidies to help offset these costs. But based on my calculations, unless you’re earning less than about $60,000 for a family of four, or $30,000 for an individual, the subsidies are probably too low to offset the higher costs you’ll pay for Obama­Care versus your prior coverage.

ObamaCare’s most striking feat has been to simultaneously degrade the quality of private insurance, while also making the resulting health plans unaffordable. The plans are so costly that people need government subsidies just to afford the premiums.

Those who qualify for small subsidies or none at all are squeezed the hardest — forced to buy a costly plan with no help from the government.

A family of four earning $95,000 a year (a sliver too much for any subsidy) could spend close to 25 percent of its after-tax income on a “Silver” plan.

ObamaCare will beat being uninsured for working-class Americans who qualify for the best subsidies. For many others, the president’s oft-repeated promise that ObamaCare will trump your old coverage will just be another falsehood.


Anonymous said...

If Rupert Murdoch's newspaper says its true, it must be true.

Sam L. said...

Anon, can you tell us what Gottlieb has gotten wrong, other than you don't like the paper that printed it?

Dennis said...

Sam L,

It has come to this for those on the left and Obama supporters, but I digress.
It would have seemed to me that if we had 30 million people without healthcare, really a large bit of dissembling, we could have created a system like Medicade with some financial stake for those without health insurance. Add to that portability and competition across state lines and the problem is fairly well solved. A simple solution that allows the vast majority to keep their health insurance, takes care of those on Medicare and Medicade and insures that all others would be covered if they needed and want to be covered. No taxes, no fines, no coercion, et all. Best of all only a small bit of government involvement in people's lives. People still have the freedom, and the responsibility, to choose.
The money we have, and will spend, on this disasterous monstrosity would have gone a long way to insuring those who need it. Instead we have created a disaster that is so full of problems and regulations that it will ultimately break the economy.
Medicare, Medicade, Mediplan ( the new program for the 30 million) and the system we had and we effectively insured that everyone who wants insurance has insurance. I have said on a large number of occasions that life really is far simpler than we make it.
My thoughts.