The first thing Donny Trump did as president was to sign an “executive order” to make repealing “Obamacare”. For those in the Trump wing of the dufus demographic, there is actually no such thing as “Obamacare.” It’s a nickname for the Affordable Care Act, which actually improved everyone’s insurance.
The official title of the “Executive Order” was “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal.” In short, this Order requires that the Executive Branch will be required to take actions that “minimize the unwarranted and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.” It also calls for all federal agencies to prevent any actions against the ACA that create a “regulatory or fiscal burden.”
As will all “orders” coming out of this clownish White House, there are no details offered as to what would be done to carry out this order, nor did they indicate any specific regulations that create a “fiscal or regulatory burden.”
I am a helper, so I’d like to point out what the Affordable Care Act does. Just as importantly, it’s probably helpful to know how the ACA has “burdened” anyone. Let’s start with that last one first.
No insurance company who has claimed a loss in the individual market ever made money before the ACA took effect. None. Even with the mandate that they spend 80-85% of premiums on healthcare, no one has lost money due to the ACA.
It’s time to cease your whining about the Affordable Care Act and actually learn what it does. If you look at social media, it seems as if someone who is signing up for insurance at their job claims they are facing higher rates and they’re blaming “Obamacare.” I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t reflect reality. In other words, as usual, they’re lying to you. And even if they’re not lying to you, they’re mistaken about the cause.
If you get insurance from your employer, as most people do, and rates have increased from last year to this, the Affordable Care Act has nothing to do with the increase, no matter what anyone claims. Rates for group plans are still set by the insurance company, in negotiation with your employer. In fact, if the insurance carrier charges too much and they use less than 80-85% of premiums for health care, they will owe your employer and you a rebate at the end of next year. I predict a record number of rebates next year, if any of these people are telling the truth.
Some folks are complaining that their employer has decided to choose a plan with higher deductibles, claiming that it saves them money. That’s just short-sighted and stupid and you need to call your employer on that. Once again, however, that is your employer’s choice. You should also realize that, if your employer decides to go with a cheaper plan, thanks to the ACA, there are alternatives. You do have the option of going to Healthcare.com and choosing a plan. Most people are eligible for a subsidy, given that anyone making up to 4 times the poverty rate is eligible. In other words, if you feel like your employer is screwing you, don’t blame “the government” and suck it up; go see if there is a less expensive option available, or one with a smaller deductible. All plans have out-of-pocket maximums, so look into that, too. If the deductibles are too high, you might find a plan with a lower maximum, if you’re concerned that you might need more healthcare.
See, here’s the thing…
If all you focus on is this year’s posted rates, you miss the point of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” if you will. For 20 years before the law was passed, the average healthcare inflation was 12 percent per year. In other words, costs and premiums pretty much doubled three times in that 20-year period. Since the ACA became law, the inflation has averaged four percent. Until this year. You know, an election year, where one party wants to get rid of all of these regulations? Gee, wonder why that happened? But these increases you are seeing are exclusively in the individual market, which only covers about 10 percent of those with health insurance.
Of course, there is more to “Obamacare” than price. The ACA has kept costs down in many ways, mostly because more people have coverage and can pay their bills, it also makes everyone’s health insurance better. Anyone who doesn’t realize that has a short memory, to be sure. Consider the fact that about 25 million more people have insurance now who didn’t have it before. That is not because they didn’t want it before, but because many people were locked out of the system by the rules. The worst rules had to do with pre-existing conditions; if you ever got sick before the ACA, insurance companies had several options. They could not sell you a policy, or price it so high that you couldn’t afford it or, quite commonly, they would write in exclusions to your policy that would mean anything they determined to be related to your pre-existing condition could be denied. That last one damn near killed my mother about 10 years early. They denied her one procedure that would have cost $5,000 and they ended up having to perform a $50,000 procedure to save her life a week later.
One of the problems with talking about health insurance is that, although nearly everyone pays a lot for it, most rarely use it, so people don’t realize how much better their insurance is now than it was before the ACA. For example, your doctor gets to make most medical decisions now, not a clerk from an insurance company who never spent five minutes in medical school. All bills get paid, as long as the treatment by the doctor isn’t too incredibly out there. That means all bills; it is rare that an insurance company rejects a treatment for anything. Also, your children get to stay on your policy until they turn 26, which means you can cover them through college and you no longer have to take out a special policy just for them when they go off to college and you don’t have to worry about them going without coverage until they get a really good job.
Not only that, but there are no coverage limits, which has been a godsend to the families of children or others who have extremely expensive chronic conditions. And they get full coverage, which means, if your disabled child or other loved one needs specialized care, they get it. No longer can an insurance company stop you after a time because they feel they’ve paid enough.
The Affordable Care Act is not the reason your premiums went up. If your employer or your insurance company claims that is the case, they are lying to you. The ACA means better health care and more control for you. If your bosses are trying to screw you, you should know you have choices. Go to healthcare.gov and discover what they are.
If you have a Republican Senator, flood them with letters, emails and phone calls and make sure they know that most of the improvements brought by the ACA and that they will lose if they repeal it and don’t replace it with something that is almost as good, immediately. Don’t let Donny and the GOP take away access to health care from millions of people. WE will pay for it, not them. Health insurance has improved; force them to make it better.