How Trump’s Twitter Threats are Upping the Cost of Healthcare
Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, has attracted both die-hard supporters who preach how it saved their lives and money along with opponents who passionately denounce the hefty premiums and mandatory coverage requirements. Whether you love it or hate it, here is the Layman’s explanation to what’s happening in Healthcare today.
Why do people love Obamacare?
Before Obamacare went into action in 2010, there were 47 million Americans who were uninsured, according to Center for Disease Control. Since then, approximately 20 million Americans became covered.
According to 41 year old San Francisco resident and HR professional Amiee Kushner, “ before the ACA (Affordable Care Act) was in place, I was literally unable to get individual coverage outside an employer group plan. I have had asthma and allergies for most of my life which require prescription drugs and are considered pre-existing conditions, so I flat out got rejected from receiving individual insurance…My cousin once got rejected for a pre-existing condition of acne because she took Accutane as a teenager.”
Considering 1 in 2 Americans has a health condition that qualifies as a pre-existing condition, the ACA doing away with pre-existing conditions and making all coverage Guaranteed Issue was a historic change. What put the “affordable” in the Affordable Care Act were the government subsidies! According to the Department of Health & Human Services, nearly 6 million, or 57% who are enrolled in ACA, qualify for the cost-sharing subsidies this year. The subsidies are projected to cost the federal government about $7 billion in 2017 and go directly to the Insurers ( which may sound like a lot, but in 2016 our fiscal budget spending was 3.5 Trillion ). The ACA also enabled individuals to sign up for Medicaid in the 31 states that agreed to expand and allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.
Why do people hate Obamacare?
In 2017, 27 million people still are not insured. Kaiser did a study and found out the largest group 26-34 years didn’t get coverage because it was still too expensive. Premiums for the benchmark plan on which subsidies are based will rise 22% (12.5% for Covered California), on average, a far steeper hike than in previous years. This means, a plan can cost an average of $296 a month next year for a 27-year-old enrollee. Many sarcastically call it “the unaffordable care act.”
According to 33 year-old Republican Gregory Ryan, “I was most upset by the high premiums and deductibles that get worse every year. I also resent having my tax dollars go for sex-change operations and abortions on demand.”
What is the Republican bill that was rejected propose?
The GOP bill, that was rejected, proposed to end enhanced federal support for Medicaid starting in 2020 and would curtail federal funding for the entire program. It would replace the subsidies, which are based on income and cost of coverage, adding refundable tax credits based mainly on age.
You may have seen Trump’s Twitter threats or heard of utterances from Trump himself saying “let Obamacare implode” after the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act were unsuccessful. In tweets this weekend, Trump threatened to stop paying insurance companies subsidies. He referred to them as “bailouts.”
What do you need to know about how the change in Health Care system will affect Californians like us?
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, with the looming threat of subsidies being cut, Insurers would have to raise premiums by nearly 19% to compensate for lost payments from the government estimates.
Now Congress has to come up with a solution to the cascading effects of Trump’s threats before September 27th, when the insurers sign contracts with the federal government over what insurance plans to sell on the exchange for 2018.
Just a few days ago Anthem, the parent company of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of California stated they would be pulling out of the ACA individual market in most of California, due to uncertainty of the subsidies for 2018. This will require about 150,000 people in California to choose a new carrier come January.
According to Amiee Kushner, the ACA is what prompted her to become an independent contractor two years ago, much like the 53 million freelancers in America. “I have been so stressed out about losing my coverage that I have given up working for myself and have gotten a job with a company that offers group insurance. I made this decision to stop working for myself because of the very real fear of losing my insurance.”
According to an Intuit study it is projected that 40 percent of Americans will participate in the gig economy. Kushner, says “It’s all about perspective. A 12.5 percent increase is actually reasonable in the context of historical increases. Over the past decade I have witnessed insurance premiums for small business group coverage raise at a rate of 10-25 percent per year. In the past, most people have just been insulated from that increase because their employer paid for coverage or they didn’t have coverage at all. As an HR professional I would have breathed a sigh of relief at a 12.5 percent annual increase for any company I was working for. I’m convinced the only thing that will slow these cost increases is universal coverage.”
Kushner concludes “Although the ACA may feel expensive, it really is a small price to pay for the peace of mind of reasonable healthcare coverage and the ability to continue doing what we love without living in fear of getting sick holding us back. We all have to do our part to take care of our fellow Broke-Asses.”