Exactly five years ago, on March 23, 2010 President Obama introduced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a law. Almost nobody has in fact read the law and few understand what a government takeover of health insurance markets involve. The purpose of the law was to make the healthcare system more efficient. Vice President Joe Biden commented upon this and said that the law represented an attempt to create a kind of universal health care system which would offer the US citizens guaranteed financial security and access to medical care which have long existed in every other developed country.
Obamacare sounded very good five years ago: a social net to help poor people and save them from loving at the mercy of merciless insurance companies. In addition, every American, no matter their income, would be insured the health care system they need. It sounded as a compelling story for many, but most people opposed the law at the time of its passage.
Gallup has reported that after five years the percentage of adults who have no health insurance has dropped to 12.9%. This is the lowest percentage the organization has noted and it corresponds to insurance for almost 16.4 million people who might not have it otherwise. Indeed health insurance does not equal health care, but studies have suggested that people who get insurance become more financially secure and less likely to die on the long run.
According to the Congressional Budget Office the budget deficit is coming down. An important role in the reduction was played by the Affordable Care Act. On the whole health costs are rising at incredible low rates. It is not quite clear yet, but Obamacare must have contributed to this.
The result is that Obamacare does not make life easier for the poor people, instead it forces them to pay for an insurance which they cannot afford. One of the most important features of Obamacare is the individual mandate, meaning everybody has to buy health insurance no matter what. Naturally, not everyone can afford it, especially poor people. The lowest premium plan, depending on your age, health and the state you live in, sums up to hundreds of dollars per month. In addition, if you cannot pay it, you have to pay the penalty. In 2015 the penalty amounts to$325, but it is nothing compared to the sum of $695 which will be reached in 2016.
Another problem is the fact that although you have an insurance, it is too expensive to use. An insurance deductible is the sum you have to pay each year before your plan takes over and you have to pay. The plan with the lowest premiums has an average deductible of $5,181. How many people could afford to pay this astonishing sum of money for a medical treatment, taking into consideration the fact that many may be in the situation of lacking employer-provided care. There is no use having an insurance if you go bankrupt when you have to use it.
With Obamacare, insurance companies are not allowed to charge older people more than three times as much as younger people. This is totally wrong because older people have to spend more money on healthcare and after a lifetime of investments and accumulate wages they have more money, whereas younger people spend the least on health care but they are forced to pay more.
The Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation has conducted a study which showed that 83% of doctors have considered quitting because of Obamacare. In addition medical school admissions have dropped 6% and by 2025 the Association of American Medical Colleges has predicted a doctor shortage of 160,000.
Another broken promise and also the most obvious one is the one regarding the health plans. People were supposed to be allowed to choose their own health care plan, but this proved to be a lie. On one hand Obama administration claims that many people enroll in Medicaid which proves that Obamacare makes access to care more extended, but on the other hand a study conducted by Harvard Medical School found out that 80% of the people who had newly enrolled were shifted off their insurance plans.
In conclusion Obamacare has done more harm than good. The best thing to do would be a debate over these issues and trying to find solutions to these problems. Congress could fix things with a simple amendment to the law. This summer the Supreme Court will decide whether the law’s insurance subsidies should be invalidate in most parts of the country.
Image Source: National Grocers
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