The New York Times has a scathing report on the rising cost of insurance plans across the nation. These plans found on Healthcare.gov were supposed to be affordable according the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. And while the policies themselves are relatively inexpensive, the “sticker shock” comes from the cost of the deductibles.
“The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,” said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. “We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”
“Our deductible is so high, we practically pay for all of our medical expenses out of pocket,” said Wendy Kaplan, 50, of Evanston, Ill. “So our policy is really there for emergencies only, and basic wellness appointments.”
Her family of four pays premiums of $1,200 a month for coverage with an annual deductible of $12,700
With health care plans rendered useless under Obamacare, Republican have another weapon to wield against Democrats this election season. And they would be justified in taking Dems to task for it.
How can any Democrat run on the affordable care act now? And once again, Obama’s words are being used against him.
“Most Americans will find an option that costs less than $75 a month,” President Obama said.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, issued a report analyzing premiums in the 38 states that use HealthCare.gov. “Eight out of 10 returning consumers will be able to buy a plan with premiums less than $100 a month after tax credits,” she said.
This tone deaf response is troubling. It does not address the issue of high deductibles. In addition, it exposes a flaw in the priorities of Democrats when it comes to health care. The focus now and then, was on getting people insured – especially poor people. The hope was that the more people in the marketplace and competition, the lower prices would go. That was the reason for the individual mandate. There is almost nothing in the act to ensure price controls on things like deductibles.
And for those who had employer sponsored plans are also feeling the pain. While the deductibles are much lower, folks remain concerned about financial ruin as employers shift to cost to employees. And these folks are more likely to be your middle class voter who will remember the pain at the polls.
I believe the private option, a private medicare like insurance company funded by the government, would have helped prevent this. But as we all know, that was torpedoed by Democrats (thank you Joseph Leiberman).
All in all, liberal commentators on MSNBC like Chris Hayes and even economists like Paul Krugman need to start telling these stores and getting the word out to Dems about the failings of the Affordable Care Act.
Talking about the law in terms of all the newly insured is not telling the full story.