December 6, 2021

14 Ways ObamaCare Is Still a Big Mess

Press Release from National Center for Public Policy:

As ObamaCare Exchanges Are about to Open, ObamaCare Has Raised Premiums, Reduced Quality, Harmed Employment, Reduced Competition and Increased the Deficit

Liberal Websites Such as Vox Present a Misleading Picture That ObamaCare Is “Working”

Washington, DC – “With the ObamaCare Exchanges set to re-open, the political left is hailing ObamaCare as a success,” says Dr. David Hogberg, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

In a new National Policy Analysis paper entitled, “14 Ways ObamaCare Is Still a Big Mess – That You Won’t Learn from the Liberal Website Vox,” Dr. Hogberg examines both the problems that ObamaCare has already created and ones that are just over the horizon.

“Amusingly, Ezra Klein of Vox wrote not only that ObamaCare is succeeding but also that conservative websites give a misleading picture of ObamaCare, focusing largely on its failures,” Dr. Hogberg said. “Ironically, almost none of the problems appear on Vox’s site.”

Among the problems Dr. Hogberg examines:

Despite President Obama’s promise that a family of four would save $2,500 in premiums costs, since 2010 health insurance premiums for a family have risen over $3,000

Despite President Obama’s promise that if you like your health care plan you can keep it, another 350,000 policyholders on the individual market have lost their plans this year.

Millions of people on the exchanges will likely see their premiums increase this year because of the way premium subsidies are calculated. The subsidies are based on the second-lowest cost silver plan, and that plan will be cheaper in many exchanges causing subsidies to decline. An analysis by the state of Colorado found that exchange consumers could see premiums rise by an average of 77 percent next year if they keep their current plans.

The quality of insurance plans on the exchanges are worse that what existed previously in the individual market, from higher out-of-pocket costs to “skinny networks” of physicians and hospitals. Federal Reserve surveys show quality is also beginning to decline for employer-based plans, with business reducing the size of networks and range of services covered in their plans.

ObamaCare’s employer mandate is reducing the hours worked for lower-income workers as employers are faced with the prospect of either reducing employees’ hours to less than 30 per week or paying them health benefits. Federal Reserve surveys show that businesses are increasing part-time employees, reducing the total number of employees and are reducing wages in anticipation of the employer mandate taking effect in January.

The exchange risk pools have a disproportionate number of sicker people in them. A Gallup survey shows that people on the exchange self-report being less healthy on average that the entire adult population. Research from Express Scripts shows that exchange enrollees use expensive specialty drugs at a higher rate than people in other private plans. With a disproportionate number of sick enrollees, the exchanges will eventually be headed for a “death spiral.”

The Medicaid expansion has, thus far, done little to improve access to health care for the poor. Medicaid enrollees are seeking health care where they always have, the emergency room. A Colorado Hospital Association study found that ER visits increased 5.6 percent in Medicaid expansion states from the second quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of this year.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

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