Obamacare: America's Personal, Political, and Economic Wrecking Ball

February 3, 2014

The Weekly Standard links to a revealing local TV story on the reactions of employees at a Pittsburgh-area auto body shop to the health care coverage they will be receiving under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If anyone thinks we have seen the worst of the personal, political, and economic effects of Obamacare, they are kidding themselves. For viewers who have been following the ACA’s implementation, the most salient issues were present cognitively, but to see these devastating forces at work in real lives in a brief video is powerful.

The employees at this small business agreed that they cannot afford the new coverage. Most harmful will be the substantial increases in deductibles and co-pays. Most people are aware of the substantial increases in deductibles, but the co-pays (including “co-insurance”) are another major problem. The substantial increases in the mere price of a visit to a doctor would be uncomfortable but tolerable. But as one website notes regarding the cheapest plan, “Bronze Plans are designed so that insurance companies will pay 60% of covered healthcare expenses with the remaining 40% to be paid by consumers.” There is an annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses set at $6,350, and it seems clear that many people will be paying that maximum amount annually. That will be something new to them.

That is not the way the old plans worked in terms of total exposure for employees. As this becomes clearer, it is hard for me to see how the ACA will survive unless the GOP saves it.