Obamacare: All Tricks, No Treats | 5 Things to Know
When President Barack Obama, his Administration, and Democrats on Capitol Hill argued for health care reform, they told all Americans they’d be treated to better care at more affordable prices. They also promised that those who already had insurance would get to keep it, and their doctor. This October, Americans have learned the problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go much further than a glitchy website. In today’s “5 Things To Know,” we look at the top five broken Obamacare promises.
- All Americans Will Be Covered By Health Insurance. Politico has reported President Obama’s 2007 promise to make health care “universal” was an “offhand” and “check the box” statement. But it’s a statement in which many Americans believed. Unfortunately, as reported by The Washington Post in June, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, more than 31 million people in the U.S. will remain uninsured under the ACA. About 20 percent of those individuals will be undocumented immigrants, but 80 percent will be U.S. citizens.
- Americans Could Keep Their Insurance If They Wanted. The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post (which gave this claim four Pinocchios) recount this promise, which was made repeatedly in the run-up to the law’s passage. Despite those pledges, about 15 million Americans will lose their current health care coverage under the ACA. (Today, CNN reports that three states have told insurance companies to completely get rid of some existing plans.) Democratic leaders have admitted their messaging in support of the ACA was off. Politico reports, “House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that Obama and Democrats could have been more ‘precise’ in their messaging that the Affordable Care Act would not push Americans out of their existing health care plans.” The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have more on this issue while we remind readers that, earlier this week, NBC News reported the Obama Administration knew some Americans would lose their insurance.
- Americans Will Get To Keep Their Current Doctor. If a consumer loses his or her current insurance, he or she may also lose their current doctor if the present physician doesn’t take the patient’s new insurance. Californian Lisa Buchanan is facing this issue. Bloomberg reports, “Beyond the financial blow, Buchanan said she was concerned she could no longer see her present doctors. ‘It’s more than likely that we’ll change plans because of the premiums,’ Buchanan said in a telephone interview. ‘I’m probably going to lose those relationships because I’m not going to want to pay the premiums to keep them.’”
- Average Premiums Would Fall $2,500; Costs In Rural Areas Will Decline Because Consumers Would Have More Choices. In his 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama promised this health care plan would reduce premiums by about $2,500 for the average family. According to a March 2013 Manhattan Institute report, “[S]ince the passage of Obamacare, household premiums have increased by a full 11.3 percent.” Additionally, in March 2012, then-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack promised, “The law is providing new coverage options to rural communities while fostering competition between insurers to bring down the cost of coverage. … The new health law is providing rural communities with better access to doctors and nurses. It is holding insurers accountable. And it is giving rural Americans better and more affordable health coverage choices.” As Bankrupting America noted last week, The New York Times found the price reductions are very unlikely to come true. Why? In many counties there will be very few options for coverage, including 530 U.S. counties where there will only be one health insurance option.
- Navigating The Federal Website Would Be As Easy As Navigating Expedia. In June, The Washington Examiner reported the Administration promised the website would be ready in October. But while CNN notes, “On Capitol Hill on Monday, Medicaid Chief Marilyn Tavenner, … said she did not foresee its problems.” Politico reports the Administration was warned the website wasn’t ready. The newspaper says, “The latest headache for the administration is the release late Tuesday of a report showing that a major contractor had warned of website problems weeks before its launch.” At least one employee at Tavenner’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services received the report.
To learn more about the problems with the Affordable Care Act exchange website, see our new Halloween-themed video here.