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ACA Fail Fractal
The Unaffordable Care Act

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.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    If you make $25,000 and think a $70/mo health care premium is too expensive, be aware that Republicans believe you should either pay quite a bit more than that for a “market-rate” policy, or just have none.

    • Andrew Allison

      Although I’m not one, I am well aware (as I’m quite sure you are), that Republicans believe no such thing. Furthermore, as noted above, the problem is not the highly taxpayer-subsidized premiums, but the huge deductible required to keep the premiums affordable: actuarial mathematics are as unavoidable as any other kind, and there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
      I’ve commented here before that Republicans have, in fact, put forward several sensible healthcare proposals, none of which were even discussed when Congress was controlled by your ilk. This is not an ideological issue, it’s inescapable mathematics.

      • FriendlyGoat

        The Republicans have really put out nothing at all that does not revolve around “selling insurance across state lines”, the plot to reduce policy standards to those of the least-regulated, GOP-controlled state. Since there is no free lunch, as you say, the plan is to sell mini-policies to poor people OF THE TYPE THAT INSURERS CAN MAKE MONEY ON FROM POOR PEOPLE, and then pronounce them “covered” (with great unanswered questions about covered for “what?”) We’ve been through this before.

        • Boritz

          It is ACA that pronounces people covered even as they avoid treatment due to out of pocket costs. The Republicans had the better idea when they said leave it alone. The concept of do no harm beats the ongoing worsening. Something TAI never quite got.

          • FriendlyGoat

            “Leave it alone”, is not better and never was better. That’s what Republicans said alright, but not because it was a better idea. Everybody on the left and right has now agreed that underwriting on pre-existing conditions needed to go. Your guys planned to keep it forever.

        • Andrew Allison
          • FriendlyGoat

            You ought to read some of that stuff. You’ll find that the latest big GOP alternative proposal (Feb 2015) revolves around selling insurance across state lines. I have not been making false claims. They have NOTHING without that, AND the plan is to negate federal policy standards and those of 49 states.

          • Andrew Allison

            I’ll leave it to the Jacksonian Libertarian to comment on the sheer lunacy of “Selling across state lines is not ‘competition’ between insurers”. Are you really unaware that an insurance company has to be licensed in each and every state in which it does business, and the resulting effect on competition?
            As anybody who has been following the discussion of health insurance here knows, it’s my personal belief that single-payer INSURANCE (as opposed to single-provider healthcare) is the most cost effective approach to health insurance but, failing that, there should at least be as much competition as can be engineered between private insurers.
            You seem unable to grasp the fact, which the Republicans (and anybody else with half a brain) appear to have, that insuring everybody necessitates lowering standards — much as we might wish otherwise, there simply isn’t enough money in the economy to provide both more-or-less universal coverage and the standard of care which the insured have come to expect.

          • FriendlyGoat

            1) I’ll take you at your word on wanting single-payer.
            2) How about you agree to stop supporting its opponents?
            3) Thank goodness “JL” is not here for this one.
            4) When movie-makers want government help, what do they do? They get legislatures to put their CITIZENS into competition for the corporations with the magic of “entrepreneurial federalism” (39 states now, they say.) When corporations want “help” on labor relations, what do they do? Same answer, with so-called “right-to-work” laws in selected states. When they want taxpayers to build and equip new plants, what do they do? Same answer by “shopping” the states’ economic development (giveaway) departments?

            When the business community wants “help” on health care, what is it doing?
            It is attempting to hoodoo the citizens (AGAIN) by pretending that health insurers are going to sell anyone something “good” and “cheap” from some other state. Like I told you, insurers cannot and will not sell policies which lose money, even if there are fifty carriers trying to offer something in a market. “Across state lines” is a massive con and citizens need to wake up and know it.

        • alanstorm

          IOW, “I can’t do the math, so I’ll make an emotional argument based on ideology.”

          • FriendlyGoat

            Okay, you can do that if math is hard for you.

    • Anthony
      • FriendlyGoat


  • Andrew Allison

    It’s not the $70 premium that’s the problem, it’s the $4,500 deductible!!

  • iconoclast

    And never forget about the skyrocketing deductibles under Obamacare. That was the first increase. Obamacare will go full death spiral when the Feds stop subsidizing health insurance losses.

  • JR

    Wait, so what you are saying is that you can’t get something for nothing? Insuring additional people costs more money?? Things that cost other people’s money are more popular than things that cost YOUR money??? Wow, will the wonders never cease.

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