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Posted by on Nov 15, 2014 in Health | 9 comments

Obamacare A Huge Success Despite Easily Debunked Conservative Claims

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The exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act have opened. While there were initially problems when the exchanges opened last year, these were quickly fixed, allowing millions to obtain health care coverage, including those who previously could not obtain coverage due to preexisting conditions or cost. A Gallup poll found that most people who obtained coverage through the exchanges last year were satisfied:

Over seven in 10 Americans who bought new health insurance policies through the government exchanges earlier this year rate the quality of their healthcare and their healthcare coverage as “excellent” or “good.” These positive evaluations are generally similar to the reviews that all insured Americans give to their health insurance.

These findings are consistent with previous polls showing how people benefited from Obamacare.

Insurance coverage has been made more affordable by the exchanges, with eighty-three percent of enrollees qualifying for subsidies last year. Those who qualified payed an average of $82 per month in premiums. Those obtaining Silver plans paid an average of $69 per month.

Three was some sticker shock on the part of many who did not realize that they qualify for subsidies along with those of us who do not qualify for subsidies. While we pay the full premiums, the coverage is far better than was available on the individual market in the past, including guarantees that we cannot lose our coverage if we get sick and caps on maximum annual out of pocket expenses. Some people, especially those who were not familiar with the individual insurance market were expecting lower premiums. Despite conservative claims that Obamacare is a right wing take over of health care, the insurance is sold through private companies and their rates have always been high, and frequently increased by double digit amounts annually.

Conservatives also complain about the deductibles, especially on the plans with lower premiums. These plans have higher deductibles and a lower premium, with Medical Savings Accounts available to help with these out of pocket expenses. Plans on the individual market have typically had higher deductibles than employer plans. The attacks from conservatives regarding this are also rather hypocritical as conservatives have long been advocating high deductible plans paired with MSA’s as a way to reduce costs. Now that they have what they advocated, they are suddenly complaining. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised as many other components of Obamacare have long been advocated by conservatives, including the individual mandate and selling insurance through exchanges.

While there may be higher deductibles, there are also total caps on out of pocket costs which we did not have before. The Affordable Care Act has eliminated the old maximums on coverage. Republicans never mention this, but these factors could result in lower out of pocket costs for many, along with eliminating the risk of bankruptcy for those with expensive diseases who outspend their coverage. All plans cover preventative services with no deductible. Some plans now being sold will provide some other forms of coverage before the deductible is met, including office calls and prescriptions.

While premiums in 2014 were consistent with previous premiums, instead of seeing double digit increases in 2015 most people are seeing comparable rates due to the increased number of insurance companies offering coverage and the larger risk pool as more people have coverage. Many people will even see lower insurance rates:

In preliminary but encouraging news for consumers and taxpayers, insurance filings show that average premiums will decline slightly next year in 16 major cities for a benchmark Obamacare plan.

Prices for a benchmark “silver” or mid-priced plan sold through the health law’s online marketplaces aren’t all moving in the same direction, however, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shows. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) In Nashville, the premium will rise 8.7 percent, the largest increase in the study, while in Denver it will fall 15.6 percent, the largest decrease.

But overall the results, based on available filings, don’t show the double-digit percentage increases that some have anticipated for the second year of marketplace operation. On average, rates will drop 0.8 percent in the areas studied.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have spread a wide variety of lies about the plan. Although these lies have repeatedly been debunked, Republicans continue to repeat them.

The latest attack from dishonest opponents of the plan has been to repeat irrelevant quotes from Jonathan Gruber, an economist who worked on Mitt Romney’s plan and also made economic projections on the impact of the Affordable Care Act. He is not a part of the Obama administration, and is not the “architect” of the plan as conservatives claim. Nor did he have a role in the writing or the promotion of the legislation. His comments that the American people were stupid do not reflect the views of anyone other than himself. His claims of a lack of transparency are incorrect, with the law having been written in open hearings and with the various versions having been posted on line.  The two items he brought up, the penalties for not obtaining coverage, and the transfer of wealth from the healthy to the sick, were both openly discussed prior to the passage of the law. Besides, all insurance has always represented a transfer of wealth from those who purchase insurance and do not require the benefits to those who do require insurance benefits. Apparently many conservatives fail to understand how insurance works.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

Update: The Big Losers From Grubergate

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  • Paragraph added soon after posting which some might missed if they read it just after this was posted:

    While there may be higher deductibles, there are also total caps on out
    of pocket costs which we did not have before. The Affordable Care Act
    has eliminated the old maximums on coverage. Republicans never mention
    this, but these factors could result in lower out of pocket costs for
    many, along with eliminating the risk of bankruptcy for those with
    expensive diseases who outspend their coverage. All plans cover
    preventative services with no deductible. Some plans now being sold will
    provide some other forms of coverage before the deductible is met,
    including office calls and prescriptions.

  • DdW

    Good piece, Ron: Factual, authoritative, well-referenced, sourced and did I say true? Thank you, “we needed that” around here.

    • SteveK

      … “Factual, authoritative, well-referenced, sourced and did I say true? Thank you, “we needed that” around here.”

      You’re absolutely right Dorian, the respectful calling out of right wing talking points with facts is appreciated.

      It would also be nice if we could get a little honest debate from ‘the other side’… Unfortunately input from the right never gets past distraction and a rehash of this weeks Fox News talking points.

      Edit to add: If there is anyone… ANYONE from the right side of the room that really wants to talk about this please join in… Your POV would be appreciated.

  • DdW

    News from The Hill

    HealthCare.gov opens with minor glitches

    HealthCare.gov ? the ObamaCare federal insurance marketplace that failed to
    properly launch last year ? opened for its second enrollment period Saturday
    with only minor glitches.

    In the first eight hours after it opened, roughly 23,000 people nationwide
    successfully submitted applications to enroll or re-enroll in health insurance
    plans, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said while visiting a
    center in Virginia where workers were helping people sign up for insurance.

    Read more on this article here: http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/224297-healthcaregov-opens-with-minor-glitches

  • hartwilliams

    Sadly, facts are not welcome in this “debate” — but the latest lies are welcomed with the red carpet treatment. As long as the Right can drive the discussion with disinformation and outright lies, this will continue. My question is this: when will the “lame stream” media stop automatically including the disinformation in every story they publish? When will we demand that the Mendacifiers “SHOW ME” before accepting their endless prevarications?

  • dduck12

    FYI: A must read/hear from FRONTLINE interview with Gruber. He makes some very nice remarks about BO and even some about Romney, both of whom he had meetings with. He is a Dem by the way and I agreed with most of what he said. (I hope he doesn’t get too mauled by the Dems.)

    • Rambie

      Careful DD, you’ll get outed as a “Progressive” again. 😉

      • dduck12

        I prefer moderate, but I don’t like subterfuge, pandering, obfuscation, lying,”lack of transparecy”, money running the energizer bunny politicians who have to start campaigning for reelection the day after they get elected. And a lot more, rant over.

        • Rambie

          Too much of that on both sides lately.

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