6 Reasons Not to Celebrate Obamacare’s 6th Anniversary

6 Reasons Not to Celebrate
Obamacare’s 6th Anniversary

Problems Persist as Health Care System Flounders

March 21, 2016, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Lower costs? Improved access? Promises made—and broken—in the six years since Obamacare became law on March 23, 2010.

“The past six years have not brought the health care fixes promised to Pennsylvanians,” commented Elizabeth Stelle, director of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation. “In fact, we’ve seen just the opposite—higher costs, less access, and lower quality care.”

Stelle provided six reasons Pennsylvanians won’t be blowing kazoos for this anniversary.

  1. Higher Costs – Pennsylvania insurers asked for approval to hike premiums by up to 58 percent for 2015 plans. One-third of insurers were granted double-digit rate increases. In southeast Pennsylvania alone, more than 171,000 adults had trouble finding an affordable exchange plan. For Pennsylvanians who can afford insurance, average deductibles for gold, silver, and bronze plans rose by $254, or 17 percent, for 2016.
  2. Less Competition – In 2013, 14 carriers offered individual health plans to Pennsylvanians on the Obamacare exchange. Today, that number is just seven. Most counties have four or fewer providers.
  3. Lower Reimbursements = Lower Quality – After announcing $500 million in losses in 2015, Highmark cut provider reimbursement rates. Philadelphia will soon lose an ambulance provider serving major area health systems, thanks to unsustainably low Medicaid reimbursements. This means less individual patient attention and/or reduced access to care.
  4. About those Tax Credits – For the second consecutive year, most tax filers who received Obamacare credits received too much and now owe the government hundreds of dollars. The average bill? Almost $580 per person for 2015.
  5. More expensive ER Visits – Despite promises of less emergency room use, ER visits are up: 47 percent of ER physicians noted a slight increase, while 28 percent reported significant increases.
  6. Your Health or Your Job – As everyone now knows, you can’t always “keep your plan if you like it.” Seth Maurer, a 29-year-old landscaper, lost his plan when Obamacare deemed it substandard. In Adams County, 63-year-old George Krichten, cut his work hours to avoid massive premiums. And business owners Jeffrey and Holly Wilbur ended group insurance for their employees after the costs became unaffordable.

“Government-run health care has already inflicted far too much pain on Pennsylvanians,” Stelle continued. “Each year reveals major Obamacare problems, underscoring the need for patient-focused alternatives to the misnamed ‘Affordable Care Act’. If we want quality, affordable health care, patients and consumers—not bureaucrats—need more control.”

Elizabeth Stelle and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 to schedule an interview.

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