Monday, January 9, 2017

The truth about Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, has been in the headlines a lot lately.  Republicans intend to repeal it once Trump takes office, and the only thing that remains to be seen is how quickly it'll happen.

This, of course, scares the hell out of me.  Obamacare is responsible for me being able to get health insurance at all.  I should address why this is sometime, and why I support the ACA with every fiber of my being, just in case some of you have forgotten what health insurance was like before the ACA was passed.  But not right now, as this particular post is about fact checking the claims about Obamacare.
The first and most important claim to debunk, in my opinion, is that the ACA has caused prices to rise.  Not true in the slightest.
Most Americans under age 65 still get health insurance through an employer, although the percentage has been slowly dropping. The cost of employer-provided coverage has gone up since passage of the ACA. But the annual price hikes were considerably larger in the decade before the law was passed. Some of the savings from slower premium growth have been offset by higher deductibles.
I cannot even emphasize how important it is to know the truth here.  Prices were going up faster before the ACA was passed.  This needs to be more common knowledge!  People are being hugely misled by Republicans.

But what about Democrats' claims that repealing the ACA will deprive millions of health care?  It may not always be true, but Democrats are telling you the truth here.
The Affordable Care Act has expanded health care coverage to some 20 million Americans through a combination of subsidized individual policies, expanded Medicaid, and allowing young adults to stay on their parents' plans. The uninsured rate has fallen to an all-time low of around 10 percent. Coverage would be higher still if 19 states had not refused to expand Medicaid.
And what'll happen to those 20 million Americans who weren't covered before the ACA, plus many more who have switched to the open market plans since the ACA went into effect?
Republicans have promised an orderly transition as they work toward a replacement for Obamacare, and it's possible the effective date for any repeal could be delayed for a number of years. Insurance companies, however, may be reluctant to participate once it's clear Obamacare's individual market is being phased out.
This is a huge concern for me.  The health insurance companies have already demonstrated that they are more than willing to turn tail at the first excuse they can muster.  I have absolutely no doubt that if Congress repeals the ACA without already having a replacement plan ready, insurance companies will drop out of the exchanges faster than you can say, "Fuck you, Congress."

I guess at least I won't have to worry about that uncertainty over the next couple years.  Even so, I'm worried about the future of my health care, and that of my fellow diabetics.

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