Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Good Old Days before Obamacare

Does anyone remember the ‘good old days’ before the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare)?

For years before Obamacare, healthcare insurance had steadily increased. In the years just prior to ACA, private insurance premiums rose 9.9% in 2008, 10.8% in 2009, and 11.7 % in 2010, according to the Commonwealth Fund. That is about 10.8% a year on average.

“Increased costs for employers and employees are up around 50% over the past eight years—but they could have risen far higher had the Affordable Care Act never passed.”

People, who support the repeal of ACA, cite higher costs of premiums and out-of-pocket costs as their major concern. However, increases in costs are not because of ACA. ACA does not govern what insurance companies charge for premiums or what they require in out-of-pocket costs. Insurance companies are responsible for increasing costs that are increasing at a greater rate than incomes. On the other hand, ACA sets limits on out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles.

Before Obamacare, the only way most of us could afford good comprehensive healthcare insurance was through employers. But, if you lost your job and could not afford COBRA, you were out of luck.

Before Obamacare, insurance providers could charge people more depending on how sick they were. Companies could drop coverage or deny coverage altogether. Insurance companies kept their cost down simply by denying sick people coverage.

Before Obamacare, women could be charged more for insurance or even denied coverage if they were pregnant, because insurers designated it as a pre-existing condition.

Before Obamacare, your insurance plan could be cancelled because you got sick.

Before Obamacare, children could remain on their parent’s health plan if they were a full-time student. Otherwise, at 18 years old you were on your own. However, typically the cut-off age was 22 years old.

Before Obamacare, about 2 out of 10 people had no healthcare insurance in 2006, according to the U.S. Census. In 2006, approximately 19.3 % of children in poverty were uninsured.

President-Elect Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, which he called "a disaster."

The problem is the Republicans don’t have a replacement plan. And, despite  rhetoric of needing to keep some aspects of Obamacare intact, 
Senate Republicans voted to completely repeal ACA. The Senate's repeal package is now in the hands of House Republicans.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an advocate of a single-payer system with universal healthcare coverage, writes: