November 15, 2015

#Obamacare doesn't work if you can't afford to use it

As  Doug Henwood notes on Twitter:

What concerns, you may say?

Concerns as reported by this New York Times piece. It's simple, as the story explains:
But for many consumers, the sticker shock is coming not on the front end, when they purchase the plans, but on the back end when they get sick: sky-high deductibles that are leaving some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage. 
“The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,” said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. “We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”

This has been a concern that has been in the weeds for a few years.

How many people does this effect? More than 50 percent in many states.

Dear Leader himself has no problem in talking about how cheap Obamacare plans are. He remains studiously silent about the cost of deductibles. 

And, again, this isn't isolated:
In Miami, the median deductible, according to, is $5,000. (Half of the plans are above the median, and half below it.) In Jackson, Miss., the comparable figure is $5,500. In Chicago, the median deductible is $3,400. In Phoenix, it is $4,000; in Houston and Des Moines, $3,000.
And, it's not going to get any better.

Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University who supports the health law, said the rising deductibles were part of a trend that she described as the “degradation of health insurance.”
Exactly. You're giving private insurers a new playpen without serious costs controls on the medical side (Dear Leader's lies about electronic patient records as being such aside) or serious additional regulations on the insurance side. And, they're mucking up the sandbox. They've been doing this pretty much since Obamacare started.

Vermont's eventual "pass" on state-level single payer was due to cost control concerns.

Meanwhile, if you have a $3K deductible, even if it covers, say, mammograms without a copay, maybe it is cheaper to pay the $695 penalty for not having insurance.

I've said it before, and I'll link you to where I first said it: We need a British-type NHS. Yep, beyond a single-payer health care system on payments, we need to nationalize whatever needs to be nationalized to control costs.

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