More than 1 in 4 Americans say they or a family member went without needed health care in the past two years because they felt they could not afford it, according to a new poll.
The survey from Monmouth University released Monday finds that 27 percent of adults say they or a member of their household have avoided necessary medical care in the past two years because of cost. That figure is down slightly from 2017, when 31 percent said they had skipped care.
Nine years after Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act and more than a year after Republicans failed in their effort to repeal it, health care promises once again to be a major issue in the 2020 elections.
Drug costs are rising, as are insurance premiums. Rural hospitals are closing. Even as an estimated 20 million people have gained coverage under the ACA, widely known as Obamacare, nearly 30 million people remain uninsured. Surveys consistently find that Americans see the health-care system as broken.
Americans cited health care as the top issue for the federal government to address, ahead of the economy, immigration, national security and other issues, Wall Street Journal/NBC News polling found this month.
The financial burden of health care was of particular concern for American families, according to a new Gallup poll released last week, trumping worries linked to wages, college expenses, housing and taxes.
|For generations, the prices that hospitals charge patients with private insurance have been shrouded in secrecy. An explosive new study has unlocked some of those secrets. It finds that employers and their insurers are failing to control hospital costs, increasing calls for transparency into insurer-hospital agreements. The analysis, by Chapin White and Christopher Whaley of the RAND Corporation, finds that hospitals are charging the privately insured 2.4 times what they charge Medicare patients, on average. The authors were able to access the actual contracted prices used by employers representing four million workers.|
The number of uninsured climbed by 1.4 million from 2016 to 2018, according to a report out last week from the Congressional Budget Office. Naturally, this led those on the left to blame the Trump administration for its Obamacare “sabotage.” But the data in that report—which was released on the same day the Mueller report came out and largely ignored—tell an entirely different story. All of the increase in the uninsured over the past two years—all of it—is the result of the massive rate increases that Obamacare’s mandates and regulations caused. According to the Health and Human Services Dept., premiums in the individual insurance market doubled from 2013 to 2017. They shot up again in 2018.
Expanding Medicaid in the remaining non-expansion states would crowd millions of able-bodied adults out of private insurance coverage and shift them into taxpayer-funded Medicaid. In fact, nearly two-thirds of these adults either have private coverage already or have access to very low-cost coverage through the ObamaCare exchange. Even worse, this expansion could also shift more than one million kids who currently have private insurance into Medicaid.
Ultimately, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion means taking resources away from those who truly need Medicaid in order to fund a welfare expansion for those who already have private coverage.
Dominant hospital systems use an array of secret contract terms to protect their turf and block efforts to curb health-care costs. As part of these deals, hospitals can demand insurers include them in every plan and discourage use of less-expensive rivals. Other terms allow hospitals to mask prices from consumers, limit audits of claims, add extra fees and block efforts to exclude health-care providers based on quality or cost.
The Trump administration has decided to challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare in court. Some Republicans in Congress and even some in the administration resisted this decision. Critics assume that if there is no Obamacare, we would revert to the pre-Obamacare health system. If so, how bad would that be? Let’s take a look.
There may be several companies selling health insurance in a given market, but we’ve previously found that most people generally enroll with one of a few companies. When that happens, it can mean less competition and higher premiums for that area.
We updated our work with more recent private insurance data. The overall story is similar: The 3 largest companies held 80% or more of the market in at least 37 states.
Available data on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges had similar trends. Three or fewer companies held 80% or more of the market in at least:
- 46 of 49 exchanges for individuals
- 42 of 46 exchanges for small employers
The American people – and just about all our elected officials – frequently and justifiably complain about the high cost of health care. But unless Congress acts, a tax increase on medical devices will take effect Jan. 1 and needlessly raise those costs even higher.
The 2.3 percent tax on medical devices was signed into law by President Obama and took effect in 2013. Fortunately, Congress passed legislation in 2015 and again in 2017 to temporarily suspend the tax. However, without further congressional action the tax will kick back in at the beginning of 2020.
Obamacare health plans have been criticized for severely restricting the doctors and hospitals that patients can see. But sometimes even those limited provider lists are riddled with errors, causing additional headaches for patients who had purchased a plan hoping to keep their physician only to later discover that doctor isn’t fully covered by insurance.
Marketplace insurers are fighting lawsuits from consumers in four different states who say they were misled about which health providers were covered under their plan. It wasn’t until after purchasing the plan, these patients allege, that they learned their doctor or hospital was outside its network and therefore covered only partially or not at all.