There’s an interesting article at Hot Air in which Ed Morrissey interprets the results of a Gallup survey that, contra the intentions of Obamacare’s author’s, many people are still putting off medical care, including for serious conditions, because of cost. Bear in mind that one of the goals of the new system was to keep people from having to make choices about their care based on cost. Instead, in some demographics, the numbers of those putting off care has gone up:
However, the percentage of those who put off care due to cost issues actually rose among those with private insurance — by almost double digits, in fact:
“Among Americans with varying types of medical coverage (including no coverage), uninsured Americans are still the most likely to report having put off medical treatment because of cost. More than half of the uninsured (57%) have put off treatment, compared with 34% with private insurance and 22% with Medicare or Medicaid. However, the percentage of Americans with private health insurance who report putting off medical treatment because of cost has increased from 25% in 2013 to 34% in 2014.”
Now, why is this? Ed offers some speculations:
There are a few possible reasons, with the truth probably in combination of some:
- The so-called recovery isn’t actually boosting workers the way Democrats claim.
- Forced carriage of health insurance takes too big of a bite out of workers’ disposable income.
- The health insurance that consumers get has too large of a deductible for the affordable premiums, or …
- … it has inadequate coverage for the conditions, while the premiums make it impossible to get treatment on their own.
- Reimbursement rates and narrowed provider choices make it difficult to get treatment.
I’d say the third and fifth in the list are the big reasons for people who already have private insurance are putting off care. Search through the Obamacare archives here and you’ll find reports of sky-high deductibles that make the “affordable” premiums laughable, and newly-limited networks forcing people to pay through the nose if they want to get treatment that used to be covered, or to see the doctor they preferred (1), who now isn’t in their network. (If they’ll take your insurance at all.)
This is another example of why, assuming they can come up with a workable replacement, the Republicans will be able to repeal Obamacare in 2017, unlike other entitlements: it has become a giant pain in the tuchus for millions of people (most of whom never wanted it anyway), and they will demand that the Republican congress and new Republican (I hope) president make that pain go away.
(1) Per the President’s promise, repeated ad nauseam over the course of several years. People remember that, just as they remember the senators who helped sell them that bill of goods. Just ask the (former) Democrat senators who had to run for reelection in the last midterms.