There are two sides to every story. The left is happy to tell you about those who have benefited from ObamaCare – and there are many. But what about those who are worse off now than before?
Alex M. Azar, II, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), tells both stories in an Op-ed for The Washington Post. He says that ObamaCare effectively split the United States individual insurance market in two.
The first group, the one progressives boast about, consists of about 8 million enrollees (2017) who pay, on average, less than 25% of the cost of their healthcare insurance. These are the ones who receive taxpayer subsidies that insulate them from the high ObamaCare premiums. Naturally, they think ObamaCare is great!
The other group, the one the media ignores, consists of about 5 million Americans (2017) who face the full brunt of premium increases driven up by the law’s broken regulations. These people pay those premiums without subsidies.
There is actually a third group of about 28 million other Americans who remain uninsured because they don’t qualify for subsidies or Medicaid, but they can’t afford, (or don’t choose to purchase), ObamaCare insurance. The rest of the country receives their healthcare insurance through their employer (178 million) or they qualify for Medicaid, Medicare, or other government funded insurance.
Azar says the subsidized group has remained fairly steady as premiums continued to rise – because subsidies have risen to make up the difference. The total number insured, however, is less than half of earlier expectations of the Obama administration.
But those who don’t receive subsidies have opted out of the system in increasing numbers. An independent analysis found that the entire unsubsidized individual insurance market shrank by more than 40 percent from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2018. In other words, ObamaCare has forced unsubsidized Americans to choose between unaffordable insurance and no insurance at all.
Fortunately, the Trump administration finds this unacceptable and has been doing something about it, despite the ineptness of Congress. They have taken the following steps to ameliorate the situation:
- Short-term, limited duration plans (STLD) – These plans are free from most ObamaCare regulations, lowering their costs by 50 – 80 percent.
- Renewable plans – These plans allow consumers to stay on their affordable coverage for up to 36 months and lock in low rates in their plans even if they get sick.
- Ending the Individual Mandate – President Trump has already signed the legislation that will eliminate the onerous Individual Mandate, that forced all Americans to purchase healthcare insurance or pay a tax penalty, beginning in 2019.
- Association Health Plans – The Trump administration Labor Department has made it easier for small businesses and self-employed Americans to band together to purchase more affordable insurance through these plans. (see earlier post ObamaCare Relief for Small Business)
As a result of these steps, the Trump administration has made healthcare insurance affordable again for millions of Americans. They have given people choices that fit into their unique situation instead of offering them the “one size fits all” approach of ObamaCare. While I still believe ObamaCare needs to be repealed and replaced with a better system, these steps go a long way toward improving the current healthcare insurance market.