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ACA Agonistes
Obamacare Discontent Rises

A record number of Americans now report that the Affordable Care Act has made their healthcare situation worse, according to a new Gallup poll:

[M]ore Americans than at any previous point are reporting that the law has hurt their healthcare situation. The percentage who believe their family will be hurt in the long run by Obamacare is up slightly since May. It is possible that these feelings are related to negative media attention to the law this summer; that the lack of positive news has returned sentiments to previous levels; or that they simply reflect underlying political predispositions to the law. In any case, President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement still has miles to go before a majority of the public considers it a positive.

The result reinforces polling from Pew earlier this summer, which found disapproval of the law nearing an all-time high. No matter how many times liberal partisans insist that the law has been an unabashed success, the public correctly perceives that it has fallen far short of expectations, and that the cracks are widening.

These concerns aren’t coming from nowhere. Big insurers are leaving exchanges, premium hikes keep rolling in, and competition in the healthcare sector is declining, with no end in sight. To prevent further unraveling of the U.S. healthcare system, the next administration should prioritize a new wave of health reform—this one focused on market-based innovation and cost-cutting, rather than byzantine regulations that threaten to make healthcare even more expensive and unaffordable for the middle class.

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  • seattleoutcast

    Democrats need to learn that 1930s style, vertical integration is no longer a valid method of economic governance. Gratis to WRM and his Blue Model that explains all of this in detail.

  • Andrew Allison

    There’s no chance of fixing the healthcare disaster until insurance is clearly separated from care. A good first step would be to figure out how much insurance contributes to the cost of care (premiums and the overhead of both the insurance companies and the care providers).

  • Thom Burnett

    “the next administration should prioritize a new wave of health reform—this one focused on market-based innovation and cost-cutting,”

    Only in your dreams. The fix to problems caused by government complications is almost always more government complications. Your regulations don’t produce the result you hoped for – then make new more detailed regulations.

    In this case the failure of this new layer of government involvement with health care will surely be more and stronger government involvement with health care. I expect to see a government insurer to compete with the private insurance companies next. It will prove inefficient leading to taxpayer support and a well paid but more intransigent bureaucracy. When that fails, we’ll try the single payer (government payer) system, and then fully socialized medicine.

    • Andrew Allison

      ACA has nothing to do with health care, it’s an utterly stupid and doomed to failure insurance mandate. The ACA insurers are, deservedly, suffering for their support of the legislation under the mistaken impression that it would increase their profits.
      Healthcare and health insurance are NOT synonymous.
      For your information, there is already a government insurer competing with private insurers; it’s called Medicare. Not only does Medicare (as the largest healthcare insurance “company”) negotiate lower prices with providers than private insurers, but its overhead is a quarter of theirs (3% vs. 13%). And that’s before the 20% profit once quaranteed to the private insurers. The simple fact is that we can’t afford adequate private health insurance.
      Health care is a completely different issue.There’s essentially no difference in the QUALITY of care provided to Medicare, privately insured or Medicaid patients, the differences lie in ACCESS to care. Since the passage of ACA and resulting enormous increase in Medicaid eligibility, access for Medicaid patients has become very difficult (it’s the immutable law of supply [of practitioners willing to accept ridiculously low reimbursement] and demand). The ACA-insured have a different problem, namely that, in order to make the premiums more-or-less affordable, the deductibles are equivalent to what used to be called catastrophic insurance, and cost a lot less.
      The answer, as the rest of the OECD countries have figured out, is single-payer basic insurance with optional private insurance for those who can afford it. In other words, Medicare for all. Aside from reducing costs by making participation on the risk pool mandatory and VERY significantly reducing overhead, the “purchasing power” of a single insurer would force healthcare providers to reduce costs. Note that, as spectacularly demonstrated by the VA, single-provider health CARE would be an unmitigated disaster.

    • LarryD

      Single payer was always the intended next step, after ACA.

      • CosmotKat

        Those who were opposed from the beginning and the intellectually honest understood this, but as is always the case Democrats chose to deceive.

  • Kevin

    I am surprised to see the administration so weak on antitrust enforcement. This used to be a staple of Democratic adminstrations. (In fact I used to think they usually went to far.) Now it seems that in one sector to another – insurance, hospitals, banks, airlines, etc. – they have been captured by insiders.

    • f1b0nacc1

      That is because the insiders learned a simple rule: pay off the Dems and the enforcement can be made to go away.

    • seattleoutcast

      When I speak to Democrats about regulatory capture, they usually just brush me off. It’s real and has done enormous damage.

    • Andrew Allison


  • Thom Burnett

    Larry and Andrew,

    I see you agree with me in where we’re going tho you appear to approve rather dislike that direction.

    What exactly do you have in mind with single payer? Is it Medicare for all?
    Do you expect it to be taxpayer from the start?

    • LarryD

      What makes you think I approve of single-payer? I disapprove of monopolies in general, but especially when the government runs them. And our current governing class has demonstrated an astonishing lack of competency. Milton Freidman once said “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.” This crew could do it in a year, tops.

  • Frank Natoli

    Who, in his right mind, would think that compelling insurers to “insure” pre-existing condition individuals who would immediately file claims, potentially extremely expensive claims, and compelling insurers to provide “no surcharge” coverage, e.g., obstetrics and pediatrics, would NOT result in skyrocketing premiums? Who?
    Answer: a Democrat.

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