The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was created to fix a multitude of problems faced by American citizens
Here are some of the reasons people were so upset about healthcare opportunities before the ACA (nicknamed “Obamacare” by the GOP), and why the reform law was written as it was:
- Premiums were increasing rapidly
- Insurers and employers were shifting more and more of the cost for coverage and care to individuals and families
- One of every 6 Americans, young and old alike, had become uninsured, primarily because coverage had become too expensive for them
- Young people in most states were being kicked off their parents’ policies as soon as they reached the age of 18
- People on Medicare were having to pay more and more for prescription drugs than many of them could afford when the entered the dreaded ‘donut hole’
- People in their 50s and 60s were being charged up to 10 times as much as younger people for the same policy in some states
- Women were having to pay considerably more for coverage than men, simply because they were born female
- Millions of people with pre-existing conditions (a term created by insurance companies to deny coverage) couldn’t find policies they could afford because insurers took healt status into consideration when setting prices; many people with a “pre-existing” condition couldn’t buy coverage at any price as insurance companies considered them “uninsurable”
- Growing numbers of Americans, including women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, were getting cancellation notices from their insurers because they needed expensive care
- Insurers could sell ‘junk insurance’ policies that offered little protection in the event of an illness or accident and unrealistic prices
- Many insurers were devoting more and more of our premium dollars to overhead expenses like sales, marketing and executive compensation, or just to boos their overall bottom line profits
- The U.S. lead the world in healthcare spending per capita, yet outcomes on most measures were worse than in other developed countries.
- Many people were victims of ‘job lock’ and were afraid of quitting a job they absolutely hated out of fear they’d be denied affordable coverage if they left that job for another.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) addressed those problems
The ACA was written to address each of the above issues as well as others. As a result, all of us, not just the 20 million Americas who became newly insured by the Act, have benefited in these very important ways:
- The rate of increase in premiums has slowed for most people
- There is now a limit on how much of the cost of care insurers and employers can shift to workers and their dependents
- The number of uninsured Americans is at an historical low
- Young people can stay on their parents’ policies until the age of 26
- Medicare beneficiaries are paying less out of their own pockets for their prescriptions (AND, preventive care is now covered)
- Insurers can’t charge older people more than three times as much as younger people for the same coverage
- Insurers cannot charge women more than men
- Insurers cannot base premiums on a person’s health status or refuse to sell them coverage using declarations that the person to be insured has or may have a “pre-existing” condition
- Insurers cannot cancel someone’s policy to avoid paying for expensive care
- Insurers cannot sell junk insurance policies anymore
- Insurers cannot devote more than 20% of the premiums we pay to overhead and profits
- The overall rate of growth of healthcare spending has slowed
- People have the assurance of knowing that if they leave or lose a job, they can at least get insurance through an ACA exchange
So, imagine my dismay this morning, when a rabid piece of Republican propaganda appeared in my inbox. I’ve taken the time to correct their erroneous claims.
We Saw This Coming The GOP Did Everything Possible to Make THIS Happen: Another Major Insurer to Exit Obamacare the Affordable Care Act Exchanges
We were warned Over the last two sessions of Congress, the Republicans have done all in their power to assure that Obamacare the Affordable Care Act exchanges would see less competition and choice in 2018—and over the past 24 hours, two insurers have turned that fear finally turned our meticulous work into a reality.
“Humana to drop out of Obamacare marketplace at the end of 2017.” That headline flooded inboxes yesterday afternoon—one more sign that things are only getting worse under Obamacare the Affordable Care Act will soon be scrapped and that our InsuranceCo benefactors will once again be able to pick the pockets of consumers while providing minimal, if any coverage whatsoever.
But that’s not all. Just this morning, Aetna’s CEO declared that Obamacare the Affordable Care Act markets are in a “death spiral,” predicting even more insurers will leave in the coming weeks. With shrinking competition in individual markets, incentives for Americans to sign up for coverage are dwindling. Now, incentives for insurers to stick around are fading, too write the next evolution of policy offerings that are even more restrictive in what medical conditions may be covered and how little they’ll reimburse with premiums that will increase once again by double-digits for years to come.
The Humana news follows the decisions last year by insurance giants United and Aetna to leave the Obamacare Affordable Care Act markets. Here was Speaker Ryan’s reaction to Humana’s decision during his interview on Morning Joe:
“Assuming that the status quo can stay with Obamacare is wrong—it’s collapsing as we speak. Humana, I think, just announced yesterday they are pulling out. So we’ve seen United pull out, we’ve seen Aetna pull out, we’ve seen Humana pull out. The Blue Crosses are on their last breath in these plans. So the status quo isn’t staying put—it is collapsing. So, that’s one of the reasons why we’re
doing Obamacare gutting the Affordable Care Act first, because we’ve got to rescue people our InsuranceCo benefactors from this collapse their collapsing bottom-line profits. And we feel an obligation to do that.”
WHY THIS HAPPENED?
Humana cited two main reasons for its decision: One, “the market has not stabilized enough to participate next year,” and two, the company “is losing money from taking on too many sick people without enough healthy people to balance the pools.” (Translation? The ACA profit-margins are too slim and we need to be able to bilk our customers for a whole lot more to pad our bottom-line.)
In other words: Obamacare the Affordable Care Act markets are not sustainable given that GOP efforts were so successful in continually reducing subsidy levels for any insurance co that was stupid enough to have participated in the exchanges. Aetna’s CEO admitted “it’s getting worse.” As designed, the system relies on young, healthy Americans to keep it afloat. Unfortunately, people just aren’t buying it, making health care across America less affordable. Last October, POLITICO delved into “Obamacare’s The Affordable Care Act’s millennial problem”:
“The 18- to 34-year-olds who helped elect Barack Obama could consign his signature domestic policy achievement to failure. That’s because not enough millennials have signed up for Obamacare coverage under the Affordable Care Act to make it work well. Despite repeated outreach—including entreaties from all manner of celebrities, including NBA stars and Obama himself—young people make up less than 30 percent of Obamacare Affordable Care Act customers. (Gee, ya think that might have anything to do with Millennials are covered by their employer’s plans?) The White House had set a goal of 40 percent in that age bracket to sustain a healthy marketplace…”
Unfortunately, we saw this coming—it’s Fortunately for the GOP, we took every possible action to assure even more bad news for the country as a result of the once Obama’s collapsing health care law breathes it’s last gasp. As Speaker Ryan said Tuesday, “Insurers should compete for your business, and treat you fairly.” But as evidenced by the latest development under the current system, they aren’t able to GOP plans are working quite well to gut all fairness and allow the GOP’s InsuranceCo benefactors to return to their predatory ways of using declarations of “pre-existing conditions” to deny coverage, treating women themselves as a “pre-existing condition worthy of higher premiums than men, imposing annual and lifetime maximums … and that’s just to name a few.
That’s why Republicans are pursuing solutions that will increase competition, lower costs, and put the patient back in control. Using ideas introduced last summer, we are working to repeal Obamacare the Affordable Care Act and replace it step-by-step with provisions that allow our InsuranceCo partners to pad their pockets at your expense, both monetarily and healthwise. We believe in a system that encourages choice and prioritizes the patient (unless, of course, you’re a women and then we reserve all rights to intervene between you and your doctor, and impose our will), not Washington’s mandates. It’s time to restore the competition that gives Americans the control and flexibility over
their whatever health care that they deserve can manage to afford.