WASHINGTON, DC – “Sky-high premiums and exorbitant deductibles may seal the fate of Obamacare. It was force-fed to the American public and now we’re gagging on it,” says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
“With the last days of the 2016 Presidential Election campaigns upon us, the candidates are finally addressing the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump have notions on where we go from here. But the reality is that the Affordable Care Act is damaged beyond repair.”
It’s not just the over-the-top premiums, he says. Those unfortunate enough to live in Arizona, will see premium increases approaching 116%.
“Yes, more people have health insurance than before, but can they afford it? When you have deductibles exceeding $12,000 a year that must be paid out of pocket before you see any benefit it seems hardly affordable for most Americans, especially for those who are in greatest need. Remember, that’s on top of monthly premiums that are rising in 2017 by an average of 25% to as high as 116%, as it is in Arizona.”
HealthPocket, a healthcare research provider, says that for families enrolled in the Affordable Care Act’s Bronze Plans, which are supposedly the lowest cost health insurance plans in the Obamacare network, the average deductible is over $12,000 in 2017.
Weber, acknowledges that in Indiana where insurance plans are competing for business, some residents will see a three percent reduction in premiums. He argues that the same king of competition on a national level will help “tame” prices and that allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, something not provided for in the Affordable Care Act, can make a big difference going forward. It’s a good reason for scrapping Obamacare and starting all over again.
In addition, Weber says that any new healthcare plans created to replace the ACA should include, as a key component, Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s).
Under current law, HSA owners are barred from using HSA funds to cover insurance premiums, direct primary care costs, over-the-counter drugs, and several other commonsense expenditures related to their health.
“Americans, and particularly, senior citizens, should have complete and total control over the purchasing and saving powers inherent in an HSA. We need to expand the provisions of Health Savings Accounts as a means of putting the decision-making power back in the hands of account holders It’s a rational, practical, and forward-thinking approach to help HSAs reach their full and uninhibited potential,” says Weber.
AMAC is supporting legislation that would double the contribution limit of HSAs and allow individuals to determine how much money they need to save for their healthcare, including free-market health insurance.
He calls “an open border” approach to the selection of insurance plans and an expansion of HSA provisions powerful core components of a realistic health care insurance solution.
The Associated Press and the consulting firm Avalere Health did the research and found that 33% of U.S. counties – more than 1,000 counties in 26 states – will have only one health insurance provider available to them in 2017.
The study shows that “five states – Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming – have one participating insurer across their entire jurisdictions. Only Wyoming had faced that predicament this year [in 2016]. In addition, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, and Tennessee have only one participating insurer in a majority of their counties.”
Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president with Avalere, said that “rising premiums get all of the political attention, but lack of choice between insurers could be a bigger problem for consumers.”
Meanwhile, the Gallup polling organization has found that “the American public is, in a general sense, not predisposed tothe idea of the federal government running healthcare. The public’s approval of the healthcare law has consistently been below the majority level in recent years, ranging from a high of 48% shortly after Obama won re-election in 2012 to a low of 37% approval in late 2014,” says Gallup.
Even former president Bill Clinton has expressed his disappointment at the failure of Obamacare. Although he has tried to walk his comments back since then, he told a campaign rally in Flint, MI last month: “so you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.”
Weber says that Obamacare has been a critical issue for the Association of Mature American Citizens since its establishment. “No one is laughing at the irony of Obamacare’s official name, the Affordable Care Act, the fact is the ACA is having a significant and dramatic negative impact on the pocket books of anyone who purchases health insurance. This comes at a time when the country is in the hole financially and middle class households are carrying the heaviest burden. How bad do things have to get before we realize that Obamacare has to go. It shouldn’t have been enacted in the first place and needs to be repealed and replaced.”