Obamacare one year later: Many Americans can’t afford to see their doctor

Obamacare one year later: Many Americans can’t afford to see their doctor

WASHINGTON, October 14, 2014 — When asked recently about the Republicans continued attempts to block or even repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Obama responded by asking why anyone would oppose affordable health care for all Americans.

Is the ACA providing affordable care for all Americans?

A recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research provided some interesting insights into how Americans are faring after one full year of the ACA. The results clearly show why the majority of Americans oppose this law.

The administration says that almost 8 million previously uninsured people now have health insurance. That is true, but there are still about 42 million people uninsured, and the 8 million who are insured are paying with subsidies provided by the taxpayers, who now pay more for their insurance and pay taxes to cover the subsidies.

The insurance policies provided on the government exchange have low premiums and seem to offer low overall cost. However, to keep the monthly premiums down, very large deductibles are required. This means that Americans must pay the first $4,000 to $8,000 or more of medical costs before the insurance pays anything. The poll indicates this is having very negative effects on the quality of the health care they receive.

Because monthly premiums for low deductible plans are so high, many people have been forced to take these high deductible plans. The poll found 29 percent of those on high deductible plans did not see a doctor when they were sick or injured because of the cost.

Twenty three percent of those on high deductible plans skipped a recommended test or treatment because of the cost, while 24 percent admitted that they went without a physical exam or other preventative care.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said that part of the problem is that many consumers simply do not understand how to properly shop for a plan. She indicated that the new, recently rolled out web site should help. Further education of consumers is also needed, because she says that the law requires insurers to provide preventive care at no charge to the patients. This seems to contradict what consumers are saying.

How are consumers paying these extra costs for health insurance they are forced by law to buy? Forty three percent of those in the high deductible plans said they cut back on entertainment spending, while 24 percent said they had to dip into their savings. Twenty eight percent said they reduced their saving for retirement.

While the President continues to say the ACA is a success, the reality is that the failures far exceed the successes. On the plus side, Obama notes there are 8 million (out of 50 million) previously uninsured people who now have health insurance. He further notes that, for health insurance purposes, a child can remain a medical dependent until she reaches the end of the year in which she turns 26. And no one with a pre-existing condition can be denied health insurance. While these appear to be positives for a small percentage of people, the vast majority are being charged higher premiums to cover the costs.

On the negative side, health insurance premiums continue to increase for all consumers. Many Americans cannot see the doctor which they had been seeing for perhaps many years. Numerous Americans have seen the insurance plans that they satisfied with, cancelled. Many Americans can’t even go to the hospital that is most convenient for them. It’s no wonder every poll shows that a majority of people are not happy with the ACA and want it either changed dramatically or completely repealed.

It has been a pattern for the Obama Administration to distort the facts and spin the results so that the situation appears to be far better than it is. This has been true in a number of areas, but especially with the ACA. A huge, inept government bureaucracy can’t possibly efficiently run a segment of the economy as large and as important as the health care industry. Eventually we will have to make dramatic changes or even repeal and replace this inefficient, counter-productive, high-cost and lower-quality law. And many Americans believe, the sooner the better.

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