President Obama delivered the final speech of his presidency Tuesday night, a self-laudatory recollection of his own presidential legacy that included expanding access to health covered to millions of previously uninsured Americans.
Three years after Obamacare first opened its government-run health coverage marketplaces, 11.5 million Americans have signed up for coverage on the exchanges, which also lumped millions of people into newly expanded Medicaid programs. However, according to a recent report, larger numbers of enrollees are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their Obamacare plans (namely, with the cost associated with them), and many of those Americans who Obama takes credit for insuring actually support Obamacare’s repeal.
CBS News, for example, just published the story of a retired teacher in Pennsylvania whose husband and son rely on Obamacare for their coverage. The woman said she’s concerned about losing her home thanks to the rising cost of the very health insurance plan that they’re mandated to pay for.
Brenda Martin, a retired teacher in western Pennsylvania, said her family has been socked by both higher Obamacare costs and fewer plan options. Their exchange offered only a single insurer, and rising health-care expenses have left her and her husband with premiums that are now approaching their monthly mortgage costs. She said she viewed Mr. Trump’s victory in November partially as a “mandate on Obamacare.”
“I’d like people be able to buy what they can afford and not be forced into it by the government,” Martin said. “It’s a monopoly when they tell you what you are going to buy, and how much you are going to pay for it.”
Martin said she and her husband, who have a 15-year-old son, are concerned about losing their home because they’re struggling to handle both their monthly insurance and mortgage costs. As a retired teacher, she buys her insurance through the school district, but her husband and son rely on their ACA exchange for coverage. For the average 27-year-old, Pennsylvania’s 2017 premiums rose an average of 53 percent to $327 for the program’s second-cheapest silver plan.
CBS noted that Martin’s story isn’t unique, adding a report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation stating the share of Obamacare enrollees who are dissatisfied with their plans rose from 14 percent in 2014 to 29 percent in 2016, largely citing the increasing cost of the plans.
The disastrous initial rollout of President Obama’s signature health care law in 2013 has been followed by a series of bungles, lawsuits and failures over the past three years. Numerous health insurance companies have bailed out of the exchanges, citing massive financial losses under the program and leaving millions of Americans with only one health plan option under many state-run marketplaces. For those who have bought plans under Obamacare (many of them under the threat of the law’s heavy penalty for not being insured), millions of Americans like Martin have seen their premium costs increase by double or even triple digits over the past three years.
Obamacare enrollees also face the increasing struggle of finding doctors who will accept insurance plans offered on the exchange. MRCTV recently reported that the number of physicians who accept Obamacare plans has plummeted 20 percent over the last two years, leaving many Americans with federally-mandated health insurance plans, but few choice in doctors.
While Obama continually points to the number of newly-insured Americans as a testament to the success of his health care law, he fails to point out that many of these plans were purchased at the point of a gun, and have so far failed to prove satisfactory – or even beneficial – to millions of Americans who’ve found themselves entangled in yet another cog of the federal government machine.
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