Obamacare’s continuing collapse is one of 2016’s biggest stories

In a normal year, this presidential election would be turning in large part on the steady collapse of Obamacare. It’s the signature achievement of a fellow Democrat, and yet Hillary Clinton would be caught between trying not to alienate Barack Obama’s loyalists and acknowledging the only “fix” for the law at this point is pretty much to start over. If, that is, she had an opponent putting any kind of consistent, considered pressure on her about the law.

"If you like your doctor, you can -- hey, look: squirrel!" (Getty Images / Olivier Douliery)

“If you like your doctor, you can — hey, look: squirrel!” (Getty Images / Olivier Douliery)

The problem will still exist after the election, though, so let’s look at it on its own merits. Here are some of the lowlights:

  • The average premium for a benchmark “silver” plan on the Obamacare exchanges will rise by 22 percent next year — 25 percent on the federal exchange. That’s three times faster than the rate increase this year.
  • Many consumers will bear the brunt of these price increases themselves. For others, the increases will be masked by subsidies. That doesn’t mean the increases are fiction; it means the people for whom the “Affordable” Care Act is actually unaffordable shifts from consumers to taxpayers.
  • We can expect things to get worse from here, not better, because competition is shrinking. The number of carriers participating in the exchanges will fall by about one-quarter, to 228 from 298. About 1 in 5 consumers will be offered a plan by only one carrier, including everyone in five states. It’s little better in Georgia, where 1 in 6 will have just one carrier and 1 in 3 will have only one or two.
  • As premiums rise and competition shrinks, choices of health providers are narrowing, too. One of the main ways insurers have kept price increases to “just” 22 percent has been reducing the number of providers they’ll work with. So not only was “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” a lie, so was “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”
  • The other big part of Obamacare, the expansion of Medicaid, is also costing more money because people aren’t behaving as expected. While Medicaid is often pitched as a way to keep people from visiting the ER for non-emergency care, it hasn’t worked that way. Instead, ER visits have gone up, a big reason the Medicaid expansion is costing 49 percent more than projected just a year ago.

One reason Obamacare isn’t working as promised is that, as we’ve discussed previously, millions of younger and relatively healthier Americans are still choosing not to purchase insurance. What’s the response from liberals? The following seems to be representative:

The mandate tax (er, penalty) isn’t working, because either premiums are higher than expected or government planners are poor judges of how rational individuals will act (or both). But let’s indulge the tax-slash-penalty-must-be-larger line of thought. The point of the mandate tax/penalty is to encourage people to buy insurance, right? If so, blaming the tax/penalty for being too small necessarily implies it is perfectly fine to expect people making less than $24,000 a year (roughly 200 percent of the federal poverty level for a single person) to spend more than 6 percent of their income on a health insurance plan. And not even a good health insurance plan: That amount is for a plan that likely comes with such a large deductible it gives them no benefit unless they’re badly injured in a car wreck.

Likewise, this logic implies something about the tax/penalty people should pay if they won’t buy such a plan. Namely, that it would be just fine to raise these people’s taxes — which they would owe if they don’t buy insurance — by a larger percentage (6.4 percent) than Hillary Clinton proposes for “the rich” (a 4 percent surcharge on those making at least $5 million per year).

Once you start down this path, it never ends. The only conclusion we can take from Obamacare is that a private market regulated extremely heavily won’t act like a real market. The left will tell us that’s a reason to make health insurance a public good. That’s like saying the antidote to poison is more poison.

Reader Comments 0

280 comments
Signalred
Signalred

So, GOPers, what's your plan?  Eight years and you got nuthin".  You guys couldn't agree on how to by a band-aid.

Turd Burglestein
Turd Burglestein

I guess we could just capitulate to what the libs want and stop the arguing: open borders, healthcare and education for anyone who shows up, and wtf, why not big nice houses with government subsidies for all who can't afford the nice house.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Obozocare is failing in exactly the way that Real Americans said it would.

To Democrats, who hilariously fancy themselves the "party of math", that has to be the most embarrassing aspect.

In their rage, leftists will respond with higher penalties, more mandates, more regulation, and more price controls. Hardworking Americans must be brought to heel.

The answer to Obozocare's massive failure is freedom--anathema to liberal fascists.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

I guess if you can't find fault in my post, you do what MarkVV does.

Lose.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

I'm having the most enjoyable time of my life right now, watching all the liberals freaking out, the megyn kelly's and the Kyle Wingfields, totally losing it, they did every thing they could to steal this election, to rig it against the Republican nominee, but they are going to lose, big time.


Sure, they have their fake polls, and, no doubt, hillary is the king of the fake polls. In the real world, among real, living people, she is getting slaughtered.


Your time is short, fascii.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@IReportYouWhine

$50 - payable to a charity of your or my choosing - says you're wrong.  Will you put your $$ where your mouth is?

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

 Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in 20 of the 25 U.S. counties with the largest illegal immigrant populations are able to sign up for health care benefit programs paid for by taxpayers that act as health insurance, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of those 25 counties. And at least 750,000 illegal immigrants are receiving care in those counties, costing taxpayers more than $1 billion.



“If federal programs exclude people who live here and get sick here, then someone has to care for them,” a Montgomery County, Md., Democratic council member told TheWSJ. “We all pay anyway.”


http://dailycaller.com/2016/03/25/states-are-ignoring-federal-ban-against-giving-illegals-obamacare-benefits/#ixzz4OE5zV7Lw



Not if there was a great big beautiful wall between us and them and they were on the other side of it.



President Trump, the common sense choice.

Starik
Starik

@IReportYouWhine Given our stupid immigration laws, what's wrong with people wanting to work in the USA coming in any way they can?  So many citizens are utterly worthless. and somebody has to do the work.

Bad_Dawg
Bad_Dawg

All of you Obamacare supporters are full of poo poo.  We are an average income family in Georgia that used to have reasonable health insurance.  I now have a "Gold Plan".  What does that mean?  It means that I have to pay $13,000 a year out of pocket before I start getting any real reimbursements for my medical care.  You want free birth control?  Don't have sex on my nickel.  Obama was right.  He has fundamentally changed America into a Socialist Country.  No matter how you cut it, someone pays for the free stuff.




MarkVV
MarkVV

@Bad_Dawg " It means that I have to pay $13,000 a year out of pocket before I start getting any real reimbursements for my medical care."

And what exactly is wrong with that? Do you understand the meaning of "insurance?"  If you have insurance for your house, or your car, what do you "get?"

Bad_Dawg
Bad_Dawg

@MarkVV @Bad_Dawg-  Earth to Mark.  Earth to Mark.  Come in Mark.  That money is in addition to my monthly premiums which has gone up several hundred dollars a month.  At least with car insurance if the Company is trying to stick it to me with the coverage I can shop around for a better deal.  It's called the free market.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Bad_Dawg @MarkVV The conservatives always remind the liberals that "there is no free lunch," but when it comes to practice, they want it too. Did you or would you pay those $13,000 for nothing?

Turd Burglestein
Turd Burglestein

@MarkVV @Bad_Dawg  He probably used to get a catastrophic plan with a high deductible and low monthly payments now he gets high monthly payments and a catastrophic deductible moron.

Caius
Caius

There are millions of women who are getting contraception medication/devices for free per Obamacare mandates on insurance carriers. (Remember all the lawsuits filed by religious organizations to get exempted from this provision?)


Well a lot of those women believe Obamacare is working just fine.

Aquagirl
Aquagirl

@jarvis1975 Oh and god forbid we should cover those hussies---there's much more need to spend on some fat dude who has lived on cheeseburgers and now needs a triple bypass. 

Bad_Dawg
Bad_Dawg

@Aquagirl @jarvis1975  Those cheeseburgers for a buck are great.  He probably had to live on cheeseburgers to pay his taxes.  Healthy food is expensive.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Kyle: "The only conclusion we can take from Obamacare is that a private market regulated extremely heavily won’t act like a real market."   To be quite honest, Medical coverage is not realistically a private market in the first place, especially for emergency coverage. Trying to force "capitalistic market forces" on medical coverage has caused the highest rate of medical care in the world in the US.   How about we try something that the rest of the world already recognizes? Universal HealthCare.  You know, because if we can spend trillions bombing folks around the world "to keep America safe", maybe we can spend a similar amount fighting disease, illness, and injury "to keep America safe".

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@LogicalDude


"To be quite honest, Medical coverage is not realistically a private market in the first place, especially for emergency coverage."


Sure it is. Medical care has always been a private market- until the gubment got involved. And it still is. If you want to see a Doc for a routine visit that's certainly not a public market. You pay him cash and he checks you out. What better example of a private market is there than that? 


"Trying to force "capitalistic market forces" on medical coverage"


And then the hyperbolic rhetoric starts. 


" has caused the highest rate of medical care in the world in the US"


Um. No. Before the advent of 3rd party payors like gubment and insurance the U.S. annually spent 3-5% of national income on health care. 


You really should learn some basic facts before spouting off. 


"  How about we try something that the rest of the world already recognizes?"


How about we go back to a true private market where prices are cheaper?   


"You know, because if we can spend trillions bombing folks around the world "to keep America safe",


Meh. The usual baseless emotional rhetoric. 

TicTacs
TicTacs

@Doom Classical liberal @LogicalDude Private markets don't control costs.


We are all in it together  -- why not eliminate, the obese, the smokers, the drinkers, the genetically apt to disease, the poor and the folks like Trump who pay no federal taxes.

DerekGator
DerekGator

@Doom Classical liberal @LogicalDude :  You are living in fantasy land.  Medical advances have allowed people to live from illnesses that would have killed them years ago.  Open heart surgery and recovery can cost over $200k, most Americans do not have that kind of money, are you going to stop performing those surgeries?  No, that is why we have 3rd party insurance, in case we need it. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Doom Classical liberal @LogicalDude There is no place for "private market" in medical care (meaning he treatment itself; supplies like medicine and devices are a different thing). We do not seek medical care for enjoyment; it is a necessity.

DerekGator
DerekGator

Copied from Healthcare.gov

Husband, Wife, 2 minor kids:  these are the rates that people not on welfare (subsidy) have to pay, plus deductibles.  Don't try to tell me that Obamacare is working:


Choosing a plan category

Marketplace plans are sorted into categories based on how you and the plan share your health care costs. All plans cover at least the same set of essential health benefits. Categories have nothing to do with quality of care.

  • Bronze

    14 Plans

    $$$$

    Average Monthly Premium

    $1,120

    per month

    Estimated total yearly costs

    Not Available

    ( Average for all plans in this category)

    Usually lower monthly premiums than Silver, but higher deductibles and higher costs when you get care -- especially since you qualify for Extra Savings on Silver plans.

  • Silver

    25 Plans

    $$$$

    Average Monthly Premium

    $1,189

    per month

    Estimated total yearly costs

    Not Available

    ( Average for all plans in this category)

    Higher monthly premium than Bronze, but your plan starts to pay its share sooner and you'll pay less each time you get care.

  • Gold

    5 Plans

    $$$$

    Average Monthly Premium

    $1,581

    per month

    Estimated total yearly costs

    Not Available

    ( Average for all plans in this category)

    Higher monthly premium than Silver, but your plan starts to pay its share sooner and you'll pay less each time you get care.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude


Maybe, Just MAYBE congress can get off their collective bums and get a compromise to improve the ACA, and the lives of their American constituents.

Sorry, no, nevermind. Asking congress to do absolutely anything right now is a step too far.

ByteMe
ByteMe

 The point of the mandate tax/penalty is to encourage people to buy insurance, right?

No, the point is to cover the costs involved with them going to the emergency room and not paying for it because they can't afford it.

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@ByteMe


No. The purpose is also to encourage them to purchase insurance. But of course the penalty is not substantial enough to do so. As Kyle pointed out next door if a young person has to pay a $695 penalty instead of paying $200 a month for a $6,000 deductible plan then the rational decision is to simply pay the penalty. 


The problem with gubment policy makers is that they don't take into account the law of unintended consequences or the fact that consumers make rational decisions. 

lvg
lvg

@ByteMe But socialists like Saint Ronald promised they would not have to pay for ER care - let  the insureds cover the expense.

DerekGator
DerekGator

@Doom Classical liberal @ByteMe  :  Too many don't pay any federal income taxes and poor people get an earned income credit refund even though they have not paid anything.  The penalty is not applicable if you are not paying in the first place. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Doom Classical liberal @ByteMe And how "rational" will that decision look, if that "rational young person" suffers a decease or injury costing tens or hundreds thousands dollars he/she will not be able to pay?

Truth05
Truth05

"The left will tell us that’s a reason to make health insurance a public good. That’s like saying the antidote to poison is more poison."


Seriously, what is wrong with your brain?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Truth05 You can't ask someone with an undiagnosed brain tumor what's wrong with their brain, because their brain is convinced nothing is wrong.

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Truth05


Um. You're missing the point. And the point is that we brought in a huge gubment program to fix a problem and instead of fixing the problem the gubment made it even worse. So naturally, leftists then think the solution is even more gubment to fix the problem that gubment made worse. What is the definition of insanity?- Doing the same thing (more gubment) over and over and expecting a different result. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Headly said " Veterans love the VA"

@Headley: Are you a veteran? Have you received care at a VA facility? I've done both, so tell me about your experience and we'll compare notes.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@SGTGrit Haha, you really think your personal experience trumps Hedley's anecdotal evidence?  My grandfather in law had two legs amputated in the VA and he thought they were great too.  Of course, he was never once in a civilian hospital in 91 years, so he had nothing to compare it to.  His loved ones and care givers had a different opinion however.

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@SGTGrit


Not sure what planet Hedley lives on. I deal with plenty of vets. The outpatient clinics around here they seem to be okay with. But the main hospital down on Clairmont they'll give you plenty of horror stories. 


As usual Hedley simply has no clue as to what he's talking about. 


And my veteran dad lives in Montgomery. Nobody in their right mind in that town that's a vet will go to the local VA hospital. Too many horror stories. We refuse to let our Dad go there. He gets treated by private Docs. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@RafeHollister @SGTGrit 

Evidently, Headley has no first hand experience of his own, so he avoids my question. I've heard liberals proclaim the VA as being the gold standard for healthcare and saying the VA is an example of superior healthcare through a single payer system. Of course they were saying these things before all of the VA scandals were reported. I take a few prescription meds and got them through the VA until I found that my private insurance actually was less expensive. During my time seeing VA doctors I found that most are foreign born and schooled. American doctors schooled here in America rarely accept full time VA positions as doctors but those who're specialists will volunteer their services. I've spoken to some who say that their view of VA hospital care is beneath that of private sector hospitals. Fellow veterans that I know say the same thing. As for my personal experience I had a false blood test report on a couple of occasions and one doctor who wanted to over prescribe a medication that my private care physician completely disagreed with telling me it could be damaging. The scandals reported over the last few years effecting veterans are extremely disconcerting. It's hard to see even the most ardent left leaning liberal defending the VA.

DerekGator
DerekGator

Yes, one is a fraud huckster and the other is a dishonest career criminal. 

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

@ByteMe @SupremeGrandPoobah He said, "anyone voting for Trump is deplorable and the real problem."  I was seconding that summary for our dear Hillary.  Anyone voting for her is deplorable and the real problem too.  Statement is not retracted.