Joel Zinberg, M.D. reports:
A New York Times/CBS national poll indicates that the ACA has made care less affordable and less accessible. “Nearly half of respondents described the affordability of basic medical care as a hardship for them and their family, up 10 points from a year ago.” More than half said out of pocket expenses had gone up and a third said expenses had “gone up a lot.” A quarter reported care has become so expensive that they are less likely to see a doctor than in the past.
The cost and access issues may explode this spring when King v. Burwell, challenging the provision of ACA subsidies to buy insurance on both the federal and state exchanges, is decided. Only 14 states have established insurance exchanges; 5.4 million citizens of the remaining states obtain insurance through the federal exchange and most receive subsidies. If the Supreme Court finds that the law only allows subsidies on state exchanges, federal exchange enrollees will lose their subsidies and likely their insurance and healthcare access.
By prescribing a generous “essential health benefits” package that many patients neither want nor need, the ACA has increased families’ premiums and out of pocket costs and forced them into narrow provider networks.
But then we have this item from yesterday:
UnitedHealth (UNH) shares were higher in pre-market trading. The largest U.S. health insurer reported earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street views. Revenue rose more than 7% from a year earlier as it benefited from higher premiums and it saw strong sales across all its divisions.
Insurance companies put up a united front to fight HillaryCare 20 years ago, because it was going to put them out of business. ♡bamaCare!!! promised them a captive audience (via the individual mandate) of Cadillac plans (Gold, Silver, Bronze) with the above mentioned higher out-of-pocket costs. Even better, ♡bamaCare!!!’s insurance regulatory scheme permanently protects the established players from any future disruptive innovators.
Needless to say, they’re pretty happy with the new setup.
But do go back and read Zinberg’s whole piece, which also details the new problems faced by Medicaid enrollees.