March 23, 2010: Obamacare was signed into law by President Obama. How have we fared since then? Sally Pipes over at NYDailyNews gives a good overview of how Obamacare has failed to live up to its expectations.
“Obamacare turns five years old today. But there’s little to celebrate.
When he signed his signature piece of legislation into law, President Obama guaranteed lower health-care costs, universal coverage and higher-quality care. Americans wouldn’t have to change their doctors if they didn’t want to. Five years later, the health law has failed to fulfill those grandiose promises.
“In the Obama administration,” candidate Obama boasted in 2008, “we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family in a year.”
Not quite. A recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research examined the non-group marketplace, where families and individuals who don’t get coverage through work shop for insurance. The report concluded that 2014 premiums were 24.4% higher than they would have been without Obamacare.
On Obamacare’s third birthday, the White House reassured Americans the law would protect vulnerable patient populations from increases in drug prices.
“Preventing them from being charged more because of a pre-existing condition or getting fewer benefits like mental health services or prescription drugs,” was a key purpose of the law, explained the White House.
Instead, drug costs for these patients have skyrocketed. The majority of health plans on the exchanges have shifted costs for expensive medications onto patients.
In 2015, more than 40% of all “silver” exchange plans — the most commonly purchased — are charging patients 30% or more of the total cost of their specialty drugs. Only 27% of silver plans did so last year.
Part of the problem is that Obamacare has quashed competition.
The president promised in 2013 that “this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.” But that hasn’t turned out to be true. According to the Heritage Foundation, the number of insurers selling to individual consumers in the exchanges this year is 21.5% less than the number on the market in 2013 — the year before the law took effect.
The Government Accountability Office reports that insurers have left the market in droves. In 2013, 1,232 carriers offered insurance coverage in the individual market. By 2015, that number had shrunk to 310.
A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration.
As competition in the exchanges declines, so does quality — just like Obama inadvertently predicted in 2013, when he said: “without competition, the price of insurance goes up and the quality goes down.”
Consumers who purchase insurance on the law’s exchanges have fewer options than they had pre-Obamacare. McKinsey & Co. noted that roughly two-thirds of the hospital networks available on the exchanges were either “narrow” or “ultra-narrow.” That means that these insurance plans refuse to partner with at least 30% of the area’s hospitals. Other plans exclude more than 70%.
Patients may also have fewer doctors to pick from. More than 60% of doctors plan to retire earlier than anticipated — by 2016 or sooner, according to Deloitte. The Physicians Foundation reported in the fall that nearly half of the 20,000 doctors who responded to their survey — especially those with more experience — considered Obamacare’s reforms a failure.
The Obama administration claims the health-care law has been a success because millions have gained insurance coverage. But that coverage is worthless if they can’t find a doctor or hospital who will see them.
Further, as many as 89% of the Americans who signed up for Obamacare when the exchanges opened in 2013 already had insurance. In other words, many exchange enrollees simply switched from one plan to another.
And the law is set to cover far fewer people than initially promised. In March 2011, the Congressional Budget Office forecast that 34 million uninsured would gain insurance thanks to Obamacare by 2021. But this month, the agency revised that estimate to 25 million obtaining coverage by 2025.
Covering those people isn’t cheap. This month, the CBO estimated the law’s 10-year cost will reach $1.2 trillion — a far cry from the President’s initial promise of $940 billion.
So much for President Obama’s five-year-old declaration that he would not sign a plan that “adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.”
Time and again, Obama has been proven wrong about what his health law would accomplish. Quality hasn’t improved, and costs continue to grow out of control. So far at least, that’s Obamacare’s legacy.”