It’s a miracle of politics that Obamacare still has a pulse.
It’s been a bumpy road for the law’s attempt at curing American healthcare. We were told by President Obama that not only would it put us on track towards universal coverage, it would save us money to boot! Roughly $2,500 per household, according to his calculations. Not only that, the law would magically reduce the deficit!
And what has actually happened?
From day one, even the website you’d need to register for health insurance through Obamacare proved unworkable, and that foreshadowed problems to come. To little surprise, those who couldn’t produce a functional website after spending nearly a billion dollars also aren’t capable of fixing our nation’s healthcare woes.
Costs? There are no savings to be seen, and it was just announced that plans provided through Obamacare will see an average increase of 22 percent in their premiums next year. Not only have premiums skyrocketed, so have deductibles, which will average $6,000 for a bronze plan in 2017 – or $12,393 for a family bronze plan.
And will the law reduce the deficit? Of course not. Such projections claiming that would be the case were neglecting the fact that taxes would begin being collected for Obamacare when it was signed into law in 2010, but the law didn’t have any outlays until it fully went into effect in 2014. When there are four years where the law is collecting taxes and not spending any money, it’s easy to claim that over a 10-year period, Obamacare will reduce the deficit. Without any trickery, repealing ObamaCare would reduce the deficit by half a trillion dollars over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
And that brings us to even more structural problems with Obamacare, such as the fact that insurers are fleeing the law, and that over half of the nation’s co-ops created under the law have failed.
So who’s left to put the final nail in ObamaCare’s coffin? Those most affected by the law: doctors.
As HotAir’s Jazz Shaw reported: We’re getting into open enrollment season for Obamacare yet again and much of the focus has been on the declining patient participation rates, limited options for carriers and rising costs. But there’s one other aspect of the overall healthcare puzzle which has been somewhat ignored. If you like you doctor you can keep your doctor, unless of course your doctor doesn’t want to participate in the system anymore.
According to the Media Research Center (MRC): The number of physicians who say they’re accepting health insurance plans offered on Obamacare’s federal and state marketplaces has plummeted nearly 20 percentage points, creating yet another crack in the president’s rapidly buckling health care law. According to a recent survey by SERMO, a social network for physicians, about 57 percent of doctors said they won’t be taking new patients insured by the plans next year. That’s down about four percentage points from last year, when 61 percent of physicians said the same, Forbes reported Monday.
But a similar survey conducted by the Medical Group Management Association back in 2014 showed that at the time, 76.5 percent of physicians said their practice were accepting insurance plans offered on the state and federal marketplaces.
MRC does the math for us and finds that 19.5 percent of participating doctors have begun saying no thanks to patients using Obamacare since the program’s inception. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a doctor, but there’s a one in five chance that it won’t be “the doctor you liked” four years ago when this all kicked off. This lack of choice is one more layer on a very sour tasting cake which will be leading many potential customers – particularly the young and healthy ones – to just give the entire thing a pass and pay the penalty at tax time.
Hillary Clinton bragged back in January that “it was called Hillarycare before it was called Obamacare,” continuing “I don’t want to start over” (while Republicans have adopted a ‘repeal and replace’ policy). Just something to remember as you visit the polls next Tuesday.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]