The Obamacare program will forever remain on the president’s list of failures. The expensive healthcare.gov continues to underperform. This year’s enrollment through the site was decreased by millions, specifically by 1.6 million.
12.7 million people enrolled by the January deadline, but only 11.1 million enrolled by the end of March. McClatchy News reports that the drop off in numbers is partly due to enrollers not paying their premiums.
“This increased level of enrollment demonstrates the strength of the marketplace over time, as millions of Americans continue to have access to quality and affordable coverage when they need it,” said Kevin Counihan, the CEO of the Obamacare marketplaces, following the spike in enrollment in January. He also recently mentioned that a million more individuals have signed up for healthcare.gov plans than this time last year.
Nonetheless, 1.6 million users have lost coverage since January. In the first few months, 17,000 people lost coverage due to citizenship or immigration paperwork. 10 million are expected to remain enrolled in the plans by the end of the year, but this is much less than the 2016 enrollment number of 21 million previously predicted by the Congressional Budget Office.
Americans have complained that the pricing is high and there are not many options on the marketplace. Families have been forced into health insurance plans that don’t work for them.
“So much for ‘If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what,’ eh, Mr. President?” wrote Michelle Malkin in her 2010 book Culture of Corruption: Obama and his team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies. “Obama lied and our health plan has now died — twice.”
But the marketplace.gov plans aren’t only expensive and inconvenient to consumers, health insurance companies are being forced to pull out of the program due to significant financial losses.
UnitedHealth, one of the largest health providers in the country, dropped out of most Obamacare markets citing that they could no longer afford to offer plans. Another major health provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield asked earlier this month to raise its rates by 60% to cover the company’s losses.
So with the continued disappointment of Obamacare, what does the future hold for healthcare? Luckily, Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are recommending a solution, the Health Savings Account Expansion Act of 2016 (HR 5324.)
This bill has four key reforms to put Americans back in charge of their own healthcare– including lifting ACA restrictions on normal, over-the-counter purchases, raising contribution limits to $9,000 (single) and $18,000 (joint,) allowing patients to use their HAS tax-advantage account to cover premiums and primary care expenses and lastly, eliminating the high deductible health plan mandate and other unnecessary regulatory requirements.
Ultimately, patients would save more and have more control over their personal medical decisions.
This bill is a step in the right direction. With other potential solutions available, doing away with Obamacare seems plausible.
About a year ago Trump said that the $5 billion healthcare.gov website for Obamacare never worked and still doesn’t. Although this number is a bit exaggerated, the rest of his statement is still very much the case.