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ACA Agonistes
News Flash: Health Care Still Unaffordable

The ACA may make everyday health care expenditures affordable for the previously uninsured, but many plans offered on the federal exchange still wouldn’t offer enough financial protection to families getting a bigger bill or more serious treatment. USA Today breaks down the numbers:

Medical insurance deductibles for plans on the federal exchange covering 34 states average $3,000, and those for the least expensive, bronze-level plans average $5,082, according to the USA TODAY analysis of deductible data for Those costs, according to a recent study, may still be more than many people can afford.

The USA TODAY analysis also found the lowest out-of-pocket limits on plans were $4,350 for individuals on bronze plans and $8,700 for families, although these were not the norm and are likely paired with high premiums.

Studies conducted since the law was passed in 2010 have confirmed that federal health care programs are really only good, not for making people healthier or bending the cost curve, but for making individuals more financially secure. If it turns out that, despite the ACA, many families will still be one unexpected medical bill away from bankruptcy, the law will not even have solved the one problem it was capable of addressing.

But there are two ways to make sure health care doesn’t put families aren’t in a position of radical financial insecurity: increasing subsidies to ever higher levels, or actually making health care cheaper and more efficient. Too much of our policy, including the ACA, is about the former. But there are plenty of good leads out there if we would start shifting our focus to the more sustainable long-term strategy of lowering costs through delivery innovation.

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  • qet

    Via Meadia should highlight the similarities between Maduro’s Chavenista logic on milk and sugar shortages and the logic of the leftist policy wonks employed by our national media in their Obamacare propaganda: “Look, Obamacare has lowered premiums, just like He promised it would!!!” (yeah, by raising deductibles).

  • rheddles

    But there are two ways to make sure health care doesn’t put families
    aren’t in a position of radical financial insecurity: increasing
    subsidies to ever higher levels,

    Yeah, that really worked with higher education. And housing.

    The only, ONLY, way to lower costs is to minimize government involvement and eliminate the employer tax deductibility for health insurance premiums.

    • Andrew Allison

      I’m inclined to agree about employer-plan deductability — it is after all simply remuneration. But the way to really reduce healthcare delivery costs is price transparency and competition. First step would be to eliminate barriers to interstate competition by insurance companies. That said, I’m still waiting to see some commentary on the question of why, given that they are all required by law to offer the same products, we need more than one insurance company. The replication of administrative overhead seems rather wasteful.

      • rheddles

        You missed the part about minimize government intervention. Then you could get any kind of insurance you wanted from any of the competitive companies.

        • Andrew Allison

          You missed the part about the distinction between the delivery of healthcare and how it is paid for ;<)}

          • rheddles

            No, the way it’s paid for is the problem with its cost, which is the subject, not the quality or delivery. The core problem is that individuals do not pay for their health care. Therefore they don’t have an incentive or the information to purchase healthcare efficiently. If they did pay for health care they would quickly be incented to get the information and make the best decision possible.

          • Andrew Allison

            No, the reason for the cost is the way it’s paid for. Which has nothing to do with delivery.

  • Dawn Brown

    I suppose, its just the beginning for ACA, hence there are glitches. But yes this will definitely revolutionize health insurance sector

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