Remember Obamacare? It was this stellar law, passed about seven years ago, that was supposed to make health care affordable for everyone by making sure we all had health insurance (whether we wanted it or not). Under this fantastic government-run arrangement, we could all now run to the doctor whenever we stubbed our toes because it was all forcibly covered – birth control, wellness checkups, pediatric care for old people, all of the above. Our days of worrying about doctor visits were over, all thanks to Washington.
Except that it’s now 2017, and Americans’ stress levels over the cost of health care is still near an all-time high, and climbing. According to a new poll out from Gallup, more Americans still say the cost of health care is their No. 1 financial worry, beating out concerns about retirement, debt, college loans or even the stress of unemployment.
A whopping 17 percent of Americans said paying for health care was their top financial stresser, a number that’s nearly doubled from just nine percent in 2009 – the year before Obamacare was signed into law. Gallup notes that the number of Americans worried about health care bills is just two points lower than the all-time high of 19 percent recorded back in 2008, and it’s been on the rise for years.
In fact, according to Gallup’s poll, health care costs beat out other financial stressers by a long shot. Overall, 11 percent of Americans cited having too much debt and not being able to pay it down as their top money concern – a full six percent fewer than those who listed health care costs as their biggest bank-breaker.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Americans are still weighed down by the burden of health care costs, even a full seven years after the passage of a law that was supposed to provide relief.
While paying those medical bills has always been a concern for some, Obamacare has actually added to that burden for millions of Americans who’ve lost their insurance plans thanks to the law’s mandates, either because their insurance companies dropped their old plans, or because their Obamacare plan has since been eliminated due to unsustainable costs.
Millions more individuals and families have been left with crappy insurance plans and little choice about it, as insurance companies have pulled out of government-run marketplaces in droves and left many consumers with few choices, high deductibles and excessive premium costs.
On top of all that, the number of doctors taking Obamacare plans has plummeted, leaving many Americans with fewer physician options – unless they want to pay out-of-pocket to keep seeing their old doctor.
One thing's remained consistently true about Obama’s promised “hope and change” – he sure offered a lot of hope, but it clearly hasn’t changed much. At least, not for the better.