Health & Wellness / Politics

There Is No Free Lunch — Even in Health Care

health careObamacare was supposed to fix all of this — so why are so many Americans still uninsured, even when they qualify for subsidized and even free insurance?

According to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “28 percent of uninsured individuals who could shop on the Marketplace, or 4.7 million people nationwide, are eligible to purchase a bronze plan with $0 premiums after subsidies in 2020. This figure is similar to 2019, when 27 percent of uninsured individuals, or 4.2 million people, could purchase a no-premium bronze plan.”

More than half of these uninsured who could get the “free” bronze plan live in four states (Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida).

Clearly these people are uninsured by choice rather than circumstance, and it is important to understand why. Obamacare sought to increase insurance coverage for some Americans — and this goal was accomplished in the short term. But at the same time, it contributed to increasing the overall costs of health care for the rest of the nation while simultaneously reducing access.

In the first four years of the ACA, premiums rose approximately 60 percent, according to a study conducted by eHealth. They also found that, “Premiums for the more common Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans increased 15 percent in the four years before the ACA, and 66.2 percent afterwards.”

But higher premiums wouldn’t deter Americans eligible for those “free” bronze plans (with $0 premiums). What might? Sky-high deductibles — which have also risen in the years since Obamacare became law. Those bronze plans have an average deductible of $6,506, at a time when the average American has less than $1,000 in his or her bank account.

According to Gallup, 25 percent of the respondents say they have gone without receiving care for a serious condition for fear of the financial impact: “Americans are more likely to name health care costs than any other issue when asked to say what is the most important financial problem facing their family.”

Higher and higher deductibles are causing individuals to ask their health care providers for cash rates. Transparency in prices for cash payers is creating more competition but the hospitals are less inclined to post these prices unless patients seek them out.

This increase in the real cost of health care has created an invisible barrier to access. “A third of U.S. adults say their family couldn’t afford care in the last year — and the problem doesn’t appear to be tied to being uninsured,” according to a Gallup report. Contrary to what lawmakers on both sides of the aisle claim, coverage does not equate to care. Regardless of whether you have an insurance card in your wallet, the costs of healthcare have created an obstacle for many Americans to get the care they may need.

Another kind of barrier to access comes in the form of insurance networks. These networks give the illusion of choice while keeping the patients from controlling their own care through making informed decisions. In reality, their choices are very limited.

For example, the most renowned cancer centers in the world are found in the U.S. — but not on the ACA exchanges. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Sloan Kettering and the Mayo Clinic are outside of the networks and are therefore not accessible to Americans on these plans — unless they pay out-of-pocket.

The illusion of choice also creates the reality of complexity; U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) recently lamented on Twitter that she was faced with too many choices. Her solution, of course, is Medicare-for-All, as if a complete government takeover of health care will somehow result in less bureaucracy, less red tape and less complexity.

Even in the current system, top-heavy networks are contributing to bottlenecks that increase wait times for doctor visits and certain surgical procedures. That, too, would only get worse.

The promise of free health care being pushed in today’s healthcare debate is a lie, and it’s also a distraction. Americans are concerned about two things: affordability and agency. They want to know that they can afford their health care, and they want to be able to make health care decisions for themselves and their families.

Millions of Americans remain uninsured — by choice — because the ACA doesn’t meet their needs or their budgets. We know that Obamacare on steroids, Medicare-for-All, will similarly fall short.

Reprinted with permission from - The Hill - by David Blatt

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T Taylor
10 months ago

It has been the American way for the past two hundred years to pull ones own weight; you know the old American work ethic that used to be taught. The Bible says “if a man does not work he does not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10 There should be no free rides for those who are able body individuals. This doesn’t just apply to Medicare but welfare, benefits to non citizens and paying for college tuition. Can I get an amen on this?

Ramblin Rogue
10 months ago

Medicare for all works so well in other countries, i.e. Canada, that they come here and Pay for American Healthcare. If they can afford it!!! Look at all of the recent stories from Great Britain where patients, especially children are being denied critical treatment because it will ONLY PROLONG THE INEVITABLE!! What if that were your grandchild or spouse or YOU!!! Govt. controlled healthcare is Not the answer! I am Disabled and on Medicare it is not that great of a system trust me. I can’t afford a Medigap or Script plan and Medicare only pays 80% of costs and… Read more »

10 months ago

Car Insurance doesn’t pay for oil changes, new tires, or brakes – only fixing your car if its been in an accident or vandalized! So why should health insurance take care of regular doctor visits? When I was young, everyone had an accounts receivable with the doctor and the dentist and paid each month on the bill. Insurance was for going to the hospital or paying for hospital supplies. Now too many think someone else should pay for their health care (medicare for all) as well as college education, living wage, etc! Where will this idea of freebies end? NOTHING… Read more »

Michael Ruppert
10 months ago

I’m not too impressed w/ medicrap (sic) anyway whether it’s for all or not. Who says the gov’t needs to be involved w/ medical things anyway?

Tim D.
10 months ago

We just received word from my wife’s employer that not enough people signed up for the “group” coverage this enrollment period, so the plan had to be eliminated. Advice: “Go to the ACA website and “shop” their healthcare options. What a disaster that was! For a single applicant the lowest priced plan, according to our eligibility was $750 a month with a $7,000 deductible! The best plan available was over $2800 a month with a $500 deductible! The ACA is the worst healthcare coverage I’ve ever seen since I’ve been buying insurance for over 40 years. We will be going… Read more »

10 months ago

Obama care was the worst thing ever. All it did was waste millions of dollars and is still causing problems. Get rid of it all. It is nothing more than a tax on the working people to give more to the illegals and free loaders. Declare all of it including the useless 1095-C’s illegal and be done with it!

10 months ago

Had to pay Cleveland Clinic out of pocket for a second opinion because they don’t accept Medicare and my husband has a rare disease, sarcoidosis. He would have died without their help in getting medical info rounded up . We were able to walk in with everything ready to go, in hand. Doctors were able to get a complete overview and make quick decisions for his care.

10 months ago

No such thing as a free lunch! You gonna pay for it, one way or another… What was the old saying…”Ass, Gas, or Grass… no one rides for free…”

10 months ago

Working in the service HVAC industry and changing jobs often I got to see how our give away systems work.We in the USA have more programs then anywhere else in the World and they are out of control.This brings people in from around the World that some take advantage of and live better then where they came from.Our Welfare to work programs work.The rest are just taken advantage of our system and will continue to do it until our end.The two parties we have both need a enema to clean out all the crap they are doing to get votes.

tony d willIiams
10 months ago

In california my medi-cal was taken away as I did not deserve it. Not sure why but the woman told me she would make sure I never got it. I had only been working since I was eleven. My deductibles seem to run into the thousands. I have COPD Emphysema. We need to make choices as to which medicines I will restrict my intake of, or not take as we also have two adult special needs children who require expensive “care”. The Kaiser doctors say I am a difficult patient, I guess I am. When a new medication is prescribed… Read more »

Ed J
10 months ago

“Medicare for All” will essentially result in limited medical care for some, with a huge price tag out of proportion to the services provided. When something is “free,” people will consume more of it than otherwise (= wasteful consumption). Does our medical system need reform? Of course it does, but the ACA was NOT the answer (and definitely NOT a move in the right direction). Remember that Piglosi said something at the time to the effect that “We have to pass it to find out what is in it!” Let’s buy her a Superman outfit, but where the “S” stands… Read more »

Brenda Blunt
10 months ago

Need to go back to plans that the American people want for themselves as they know what they need and how much they can spend!!

Robert Palmiter
10 months ago

The government would be able to run a HOT DOG stand a be able to show a profit , so how could they ever run a health plan. Just look at the results of the so called ACA

10 months ago

No one expects or should expect healthcare to be free, but there is a lot of room for improvement. I envision a day when my entire social security check not cover my Medicare, supplement and drug plan. I will need to return to the workforce to by food and keep the heat and lights on!

10 months ago

What do people expect with NObama care,it was designed and implemented by a regime that doesn’t really like AMERICANS,AMERICA,the Police,the Military and mostly conservatives.Barry said that if push came to shove he would support the muslims.What does that tell you about an entity that is supposed to be an AMERICAN president

Fred Loe
10 months ago

Here is A big problem most think half the answer.People with little or no costs out of pocket”overuse and abuse” insurance. Ie colds,annual checkups,vaccinations.let everybody pay when the ought not eat so much and exercise so little.
If you give money to any disinterested person or to A profit driven Insurance company do either take real interest Or no You?
I think medical savings accts mixed with policies for high dollar least likely events. All with annual individual owned oversight.

Lee Steele
10 months ago

I am in this situation myself. Retired on a small pension, not getting Social Security yet, small savings. Had to drop my employer-supplied HMO as it was far too expensive. I have a couple serious medical issues, which result in most health insurance not covering me due to them. Obamacare is a nonoption, for reasons stated in the article. So, I have a large medicalcare debt to pay off out-of-pocket a bit at a time. A needed procedure remains impossible due to cost. I am able to get an expensive drug for free on a manufacturer’s plan, so that really… Read more »

Greg Russell
10 months ago

I just shake my head when I see even, so called, conservatives who think the government has any authority to, or should provide healthcare. Look, there is ZERO constitutional authority for government to mandate, provide, own or direct healthcare. Period.

10 months ago

Because these ins. Won’t allow them to get the real medicine that really works push this generic garbage that is filled with garbage to kill off if possible as many as they can and those that can’t take generics have to pay outrageous amount of money, that was never a problem till obcare came around and destroyed our healthcare, I know Ian one one medication is 347. Dollars a mo. When I use to pay only 20. Dollars for even better medication, the government needs to get the hell out of healthcare, and all officials need no healthcare coverage from… Read more »

10 months ago

So why does Medicare not pay 100%, but instead leave 20% for you to pay. I think it is so that insurance companies can get their finger in the pie.

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