Here’s how “affordable” the Affordable Care Act is: the LA Times reports that large numbers of Californians enrolled in ACA plans are struggling financially under their plan’s cost:
Forty-four percent of exchange policyholders surveyed said it’s somewhat or very difficult to afford their premiums. That’s compared with 25% of adults who had employer-based or other private health insurance.Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, acknowledged that many Californians find it hard to fit health insurance premiums into their household budget, even when they qualify for generous federal subsidies.“If you are making $25,000 a year that $70 premium is still a struggle,” Lee said. “The Affordable Care Act is providing nobody with a free lunch. This issue of making healthcare affordable is not easy.”
And if it’s bad now, just wait. Premiums are expected to rise in many states, as several insurers request large increases—as high as 50 percent in New Mexico. Some states have the power to deny these increases, but if even some of them go through, the problems California consumers are currently experiencing will go national in a nasty way. We’ve said since the law’s start that the ACA does not make health care cheaper for individual Americans—and, in fact, may make it more expensive. The ACA’s plan to expand coverage without first controlling costs struck as a recipe for a more expensive health care system, including for the Americans the reform is supposed to help. It looks like we were right.