As Obamacare Crumbles, Health Care Is in Trouble Again

We all knew pretty quickly that the Affordable Care Act wasn’t going to be the panacea we needed as a country when it comes to health care reform.

To begin with, whilethe policykept insurers profit margins down to a more reasonable percentage, there was still a large financial incentive in healthcare — and keeping people healthy should never be a for profit business. Follow that with Republican sabotage– everything from preventing insurancefrom covering abortion procedures to refusing to expand Medicaid in red states, and we ended up with a fine mess.

But it was a mess that was still better than the alternative: hundreds of thousands of people with no coverage at all, individuals with long-lasting or fatal diseaseswho were unable toaccess care because no provider would cover them, andfamilies going bankrupt due to an inability to pay their hospital bills.

The situationwasbeginning to improve, as more red states embraced Medicaid expansion, dramatically raising the income level for those who qualified for rebated insurance premiums.

But now, thanks to two years of GOP control at the federal level, the Republicans have closed in on their goal of making Obamacare a completely useless mess — and, unsurprisingly, healthcare in the U.S. is once more in trouble.

The country is now concluding its second cycle of open enrollment under President Donald Trump — and yet again the administration limited the funding to advertise that insurance exchanges existed, and that Americans can opt into these government sponsored insurance plans.

New York Timesreports:

More than halfway through the sign-up period for Obamacare health plans, fewer people have enrolled in coverage than during the same stretch last year. Enrollment through the federal website Healthcare.gov, which manages insurance marketplaces in 39 states, is down 11 percent compared to 2017, according to government figures released Thursday.

Of course, the lack of publicity is just part of the problem. With new changes to the law, people are no longer required to be insured — a change that has encouraged a number of previous policy holders to let theirs lapse. Others are also picking up so called “skinny” plans — paying small monthly fees to insurers with coverage that offers extremely limited benefits.

In both cases, these gamblers are betting that the odds will be in their favor that no major illness or accident will hit them or their families.

That’s a dangerous way to live, andit’scourting catastrophe — both for those who are taking the risk and those who are still covered by regular plans. Premiumswilllikelygo up, and that’s going to be a major hardship for those who aren’t subsidized because they earn too much.

Then there’s the problem of those who think they won’t need a hospital and let their insurance lapse — only to find out they were wrong. Out-of-pocket emergency care continues to be the biggest bankrupter of the uninsured. Once an illness or injury happens, they may find themselves uninsurable permanently, since insurance companies can once more deny coverage or charge far more for those with pre-existing conditions.

Hospitals, doctors and insurance companies aren’t the only ones getting ready to cash back in, thanks to President Trump’s work in torpedoing what remained of the ACA. Drug companiesare also taking the opportunity to raise prices and increase profits now that health care reform is toast.

Merck and Pfizer, the two biggest drug companies in the U.S., mollified the president by putting price hikes on hold in response to his promise not to enact huge reforms on the industry. Now that we’ve reached the end of the calendar year and the election is over and done with, they’re planning to go ahead with their proposed price increases.

And no one in the GOP has any desire to stop them.

With Congress back out of thegridlock of total Republican dominance, we no longer have to worry about the near monthlyattempts from the right to repeal and replace Obamacare.

But the bad news is that those attacks probablyaren’t even necessary for them anymore.The GOP already destroyed the ACA themselves, just by picking it apart one policy at a time.

Photo credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

74 comments

Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson28 days ago

the GOP is SHAMELESS in their DENIAL of HEALTHCARE to IMPOVERISHED PEOPLE!!!!! :/ :/ :( :( :(

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Janis K
Janis K28 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson28 days ago

Thank you.

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Ann B
Ann Babout a month ago

OBAMACARE MADE people that could NOT afford insurance buy it- or be fined and now it is made to sound like it was a wonderful idea..WRONG..and some of us are glad he is OUT--but the news keeps him right there on the TV screens and in the news
enough already...we got worse BUT THERE WERE BETTER PRESIDENTS--many many----------------not sure all the damage can even be fixed at where we are now???

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Brian F
Brian Fabout a month ago

Rhoberta E We desperately need Medicare for all in this country. Over 70% of the people support it. Instead of disparaging others, why don't you support Medicare for all?

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta Eabout a month ago

brian f
I forgot !! YOU know it all don't you !! How COULD I forget after you chastised C2 for their continuous coverage of anything 2016. JUST like you.

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Brian F
Brian Fabout a month ago

Rhoberta E Mitt Romney's healthcare plan was not successful in Massachusetts. It did provide more people with coverage but like Obamacare, it requires people to buy insurance or pay a fine, and did little to control cost. Both Obamacare and Romneycare involve the private health insurance industry. Neither creates a single-payer system or a government-run public option. We need Medicare for all, which allows the government to control healthcare, instead of our criminal private insurance industry which only cares about profit.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta Eabout a month ago

brian f
Mitt Romney created a health care plan for his state, ( Mass.) when he was that state's Governor. It WAS mostly successful. The ACA was based loosely on it.
Calling the ACA "Obamacare" seems to have been started as a derogatory name because the republicans were so against it Remember good old Mitch the Turtle?.

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Brian F
Brian Fabout a month ago

Dan B The ACA is the same plan Republican Mitt Romney created. It is a horrible healthcare plan that gives way too much power to our criminal healthcare industry. We need M

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeldabout a month ago

Brian F.,
The ACA was a Republican plan? Then why is it called Obamacare?

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