The ACA Shell Game

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I guess this article was trying to brag about Obamacare but when you dig a little deeper you start to get the real story.  Did you know that about 84 percent of the current 9.9 million Obamacare exchange customers pay reduced premiums because of those subsidies.   Now I wonder who is subsidizing them?  Is there a magical tree that grows money at the end of the rainbow or the other 16%?  Or maybe the insurance companies are just taking less because they are reasonable in their greed?  Think again.  These subsidies were supposed to be “for people with incomes up to four times the federal poverty level who qualify help pay for their individual health plans only if they buy coverage through Obamacare exchanges that are run by the federal government or individual states”. So doesn’t this prove that 84% can’t afford health insurance? And if that is true then why don’t WE figure out a way to lower prices!  (Yes, I believe in one plan only.  Catastrophic.  Then let people shop around).  Also, you would think that fraud is being kept under control in this mega government overreach, wouldn’t you?   In other words, the IRS is checking that people are not lying about their income?  Well, I am here to tell that that isn’t happening either. Our government is too busy looking for doctors who bill for too many ear wax cleanings.

For the rest of us who are aren’t subsidized and have to buy expensive health insurance, it turns that there are a lot of factors that determine our bill:

  • …the report also underscored that the amount customers end up paying for their Obamacare plans depends on where they live. And the prices of even the least-expensive plans can vary widely. For example, an unsubsidized 30-year-old Arizona resident who bought the lower-priced “silver” plan on the federal exchange HealthCare.gov would have paid $147 per month for her coverage in either this year or in 2014. But if she moved to Maine and bought the lowest-cost silver option on HealthCare.gov available in that state this year, she would have to pay $237 per month in premiums, the GAO noted.
  • There was also wide variation in prices within individual states, the report noted. In Rhode Island, a 30-year-old customer shopping for silver plans would be presented with premiums ranging from $217 per month on the low end, to up to $285 per month on the high end—a 32 percent difference.
  • There was a 270 percent difference in the prices of silver plans available to a 30-year-old in Arizona, who would pay $147 per month on the low end for a silver plan, or $545 per month on the high end.

Can anyone figure our the method to this variability?  It’s not like Mainers are rich.  I know, I lived there for 18 years.  And the beauty of this all is that “insurers are proposing a broad range of price hikes next year, with some plans expected to rise only modestly in cost, while other plans are targeted for much bigger increases.” Is there no end to this madness?

To summarize, those who are paying for their own insurance will continue to pay and pay through the nose for their own as well as for others. The rest will get subsidized or lie to get subsidized until there is no one left to pay.  Margaret Thatcher said that “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”.  The Unaffordable Care Act is a great example of that.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  2 comments for “The ACA Shell Game

  1. Pat
    September 14, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    This makes me so angry – I spent years on this blog and elsewhere, reading from esteemed colleagues and respondents that “we’ve got to do something”, and “give the president a chance, at least he’s trying…” Some of us who knew better warned everyone that this would not work, that it was only about increasing gov’t control, that it would Jack prices – where are all you ObamaCare cheerleaders now?? (Probably out working overtime to pay for the premium hikes they invited).

  2. JRDO
    September 14, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    “Is there no end to this madness?” President Donald Trump will make it all better.

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