Perspectives On The Affordable Care Act: Time For Sticker Shock; How Much Does Trump Know About Health Law?
Opinion and editorial writers offer thoughts on the latest news regarding the Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare Sticker Shock Is Overdue
The 25 percent increase in Obamacare premiums for 2017 announced on October 24 is eye-popping. That is five times the increase that workers are likely to see in the cost of health benefits offered by employers. Politically, this is a disaster. However, the jump in premiums is overdue. Insurers in the exchange market have found that the cost of providing coverage is much higher than they initially projected. We expect insurers to offer coverage to everyone, regardless of their health condition. That’s good social policy, but it is expensive. (Joseph Antos, 10/31)
Do You Know More About Health Than Donald Trump?
On Monday, Donald Trump presented Americans with a puzzle of a sentence: “All of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare.” At first it seemed like Trump might be admitting to something illegal. Employers have to provide health insurance. The candidate seemed, to some, to be implying that his employees were buying their own insurance (“with Obamacare”) and having tremendous problems. But later that day, on Fox News, Trump said something equally confusing: “Well, I don’t use much Obamacare, I must be honest with you …” Together these sentences raised the possibility that the candidate believes Obamacare is a product or service. And so maybe, like so many Americans, Trump isn’t clear on what Obamacare is. (James Hamblin, 10/30)
Despite Premium Increases, The ACA Marketplaces Are Not In Crisis
We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric in the past few days about the recent announcement of premium increases for the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. Like clockwork, the ACA repeal machine has sprung back into action to argue, as it has for the past six years, that the law will collapse any day now. (Thomas Huelskoetter, 10/31)
The New York Times:
The Simple Fix For Obamacare
Figuring out how Obamacare is faring has always been hard. It’s been hard because many Republicans are rooting for the law to fail and try to make any flaw sound existential. And it’s been hard because we in the media haven’t always done a good job covering the law. We tend to sensationalize its problems, rather than distinguishing between routine ones and truly worrisome ones. (David Leonhardt, 10/28)
A ‘Tweak’ To Fix Obamacare? That’s A Red Flag
Here’s a little diversion to pass the time as you endure Washington’s policy debates. Listen for phrases like “All we have to do” or “We need just a small tweak” or “There’s a really simple fix.” Then watch to see what happens. Whatever that person is proposing will prove to be really, really costly -- politically or fiscally or both...All we have to do to fix American health care is to pay our providers and suppliers low European prices instead of high American ones. All we need to do to make Republican tax plans work is to get economic growth up to 4 percent. All that was needed to make Iraq a better place was for America to depose Saddam Hussein and for Iraqis create a liberal democracy. There is always a devil in the details behind those innocuous “all” statements, and he has his pitchfork ready. (Megan McArdle, 10/28)
Will Arizona's Sticker Shock On Obamacare Tip Us To Trump?
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, premiums for a mid-level plan under the Affordable Care Act will go up by an average of 25 percent in the 39 states served by HealthCare.gov. That's more than three times the 7.5 percent hike this year.In Arizona, meanwhile, a 27 year old buying the second lowest “silver plan” will see premiums soar by 116 percent. If that 27 year old makes $35,000 a year, he’ll pay nearly 10 percent of his gross income for insurance even with an Obamacare subsidy... No worries, though. The Obama administration says most of those 27 year olds will get generous taxpayer-supplied subsidies to cut the cost. (Laurie Roberts, 10/28)
The Wall Street Journal:
The Non-Affordable Care Act’s Restaurant Recession
In July analyst Paul Westra of the brokerage firm Stifel Nicolaus warned of a looming “restaurant recession,” noting that it might be the first sign of a more widespread U.S. recession in 2017. He said this in a bearish report that downgraded 11 restaurant stocks. ... A September survey by the research firm Civic Science found that more Americans are spending less on dining out. The No. 1 reason was, not surprisingly, a worsening of their personal finances. Yet the one factor that “jumped off the screen” was increased health-care costs. (Andy Puzder, 10/30)
Drugs And Insurance Affordability Will Top The Post-Election Agenda
Healthcare pricing concerns are making a late run for relevance as the presidential campaign heads down the homestretch. Unfortunately, too much attention is being paid to price hikes on the Obamacare exchanges, which affect only a thin sliver of the population. Too little attention is being paid to the main drivers of popular concern—high drug prices and employers' insistence on shifting more healthcare costs onto the backs of their employees. (Merrill Goozner, 10/29)