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The Real Life Effect of Dumping Obamacare

The Real Life Effect of Dumping Obamacare

By    |   Friday, 09 December 2016 09:12 AM


The incoming administration is determined to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Always devoid of detail on what replacement would look like, the proposal remains murky. Picks by the incoming president for those who would provide him with advice and therefore exercise control over any imagined replacement have shown their hands before now. Here's what you may expect and here's who will be most affected.

Those likely to direct the "replacement" effort have expressed unmitigated opposition to the employer mandate, now in effect, to offer health insurance to workers in companies with more than 50 employees. Repealing the employer mandate would mean that employers who do not care to undertake the expense of insurance coverage for their groups of employees would simply stop covering them. Millions of workers would lose coverage, and be expected to pay for it themselves with so called "health savings accounts" or tax credits.

Reality check: the lowest income workers do not have any money to save. They spend every penny on food, clothing and shelter and there is nothing left to pay for insurance without the existing subsidies. They would return to being uninsured. When they get sick or injured, they will not receive treatment, or they will go bankrupt with medical bills they cannot pay.

Essential preventive care will not be available as it is now and minor problems become major health issues, some resulting in death. Why would anyone think this is good? The myth of health savings accounts is that there is, in fact, money available to save so you can pay for insurance all by yourself. Of course those who nurture that fantasy are also vehemently opposed to raising the minimum wage.

As for tax credits, the same ill-conceived ideas also apply. The lowest income people are in the lowest tax bracket. The small tax credit they may be offered, supposedly used to pay for health insurance would not ever be realized because the lowest income workers in our country do not have extra money to pay for something they can't afford in the first place for the imagined benefit of paying lower taxes at year end. Where would the money come from to buy the insurance for which the tax credit might be given? Ask any minimum wage worker. Do you have extra money left after you pay for your rent, transportation, kids' needs and groceries each month? They will say no. Anything left buys a child a pair of shoes, not health insurance.

Removing the individual mandate is almost sure to be a part of the trashing of the existing ACA. Millions of low and middle income people who cannot afford insurance on their salaries will return to having no health insurance. They will take a chance on never getting sick, never being in an accident and never having a family member who has a chronic or life threatening health condition. How realistic is that?

It seems clear that the incoming cabinet picks, advisers and others who claim to have a replacement for the Affordable Care Act do not really have a replacement plan.

They have a "return to no insurance" plan for millions of Americans, disguised in language that comes from those who have never spent enough time with a minimum wage worker.

Anyone who is working full time and is not quite poor enough to qualify for Medicaid is not in the world of the cabinet picks and advisers who created the fantasy of how it is supposed to be with tax credits and health savings accounts.

Walk a mile in their shoes and then show us your replacement plan.

Carolyn Rosenblatt is co-author of The Family Guide to Aging Parents: Answers to Your Legal, Financial, and Healthcare Questions (www.agingparents.com). Rosenblatt is a registered nurse and elder law attorney and has more than 45 years combined experience in her professions. She has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Money magazine and many other publications.
 

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The incoming administration is determined to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
obamacare, health insurance, trump, coverage
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2016-12-09
Friday, 09 December 2016 09:12 AM
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