June 20 2014
Patrice J. Lee
This week the Administration revealed that a whopping 87 percent of HealthCare.gov customers are getting taxpayer subsidies. However, community leaders worry that poor Americans with new coverage may not afford to keep it as premiums are still too expensive – even with taxpayer help.
The Administration lured many Americans into coverage under the un-Affordable Care Act by offering promises of help to pay for their plans. (That’s an implicit recognition within itself that the ObamaCare plans are far from affordable.) Millions of Americans took up the government’s offer for “free money” to help defray their new healthcare costs.
According to a report released by Health and Human Services, customers in federally-run ObamaCare exchanges who received any amount of subsidies paid on average 76 percent less than the real cost of their premium. The Daily Caller found that the average premium costs $346 per month for subsidized HealthCare.gov users, and nearly 7 out of 10 consumers chipped in an average of just $100 per month.
President Obama and supporters celebrate signing up 8 million Americans for Obamacare coverage, but bribing people to take coverage is no reason to celebrate. And that enrollment number is up in the air as we don’t know how many signups have actually paid their first month’s premium. If trends hold it may be as many as a million people.
What hasn’t been covered is whether those who secured and paid for their coverage can afford to keep it –even with these generous taxpayer subsides. Community leader leaders fear that they won’t and are seeing evidence of this now.
The Daily Caller reports:
Christine Wagner, the executive director of a Catholic health care community center in New York called the St. Joseph Neighborhood Center, warns that many low-income people that have signed up won’t be able to keep up paying for their health insurance.
“We’ve waited the 90 days, 120 days, and we’re seeing the reproductions of people who bought new policies, but haven’t been able to maintain them,” Wagner told WXXI News. “So, we’re seeing the unfolding of some of the consequences of some of these new policies that people actually weren’t able to maintain.”
Wagner told WXXI that around 200 clients of St. Joseph enrolled in the exchange, but some can’t afford to keep paying the premiums. Others, Wagner said, opted not to sign up because even with federal subsidies, health plans were too expensive.
The complaint is not exclusive to Wagner’s clinic: an April tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation determined that the top reason that people are remaining uninsured is the cost. Thirty-nine percent of uninsured respondents told Kaiser that they couldn’t afford health insurance.
The current set-up of the health care law means that St. Joseph’s and doctors across the country will have to take on the cost of caring for those who stop paying their premiums themselves.
Just how affordable is the Affordable Care Act if plans under the government-run marketplaces need government subsidies to make them attractive and viable for Americans?
And just how long should taxpayers be forced to subsidize coverage of other Americans? There has been no indication that the subsidies will be reduced over time, which strengthens the argument that ObamaCare has just created another perpetual entitlement program.
Perhaps the next big broken promise is that if you like your ObamaCare plan, you can afford to keep it!