Blog PostSeptember 23, 2013

The Affordable Care Act: Less Bang for our Health Care Buck

Families will pay more than promised, with less or unwanted coverage in return

About five years ago, there was much hoopla in the declaration that the Affordable Care Act would lower health care premiums for American families by as much as $2,500.

Among the many experts and economists who have calculated this is simply not true are the actuaries at Medicare. Forbes points out how, “in three separate reports between April 2010 and June 2012, the Medicare actuaries had demonstrated that the ACA would increase health spending.”

In fact, according to Forbes, the national health spending hike (that the actuaries directly attribute to the ACA) for a family of four is actually $7,450:

On top of that, it is still unclear who will continue to keep health coverage through their employer, who will have to shop on private or government-run health insurance exchanges and which medical providers will be allowed on which exchanges.

Forbes has published a helpful interactive map of the United States called “Obamacare: Know Your Rates” put together by the folks at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. This map illustrates “how the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) affects health insurance premiums for people who buy coverage on their own.


 For instance, in the District of Columbia, we learn that the ACA rate for men has jumped 81 percent for those aged 64.

It’s also important to note what types of plans will end up being available to us and our families. As pointed out in the latest “Kitchen Table Economics: Bare Bones Health Plans”, that extra $7,450 paid by a family of four over the next several years for health insurance may not get us the kind of health care we want.

This is because the ACA makes “catastrophic” health plants harder to get, even though these plans protect people against big, bankrupting events like cancers, major injuries and illnesses.

But the ACA does make it to get “bare bones” plans that cover only routine costs, but don’t protect against the big, potentially bankrupting, emergencies.

The Affordable Care Act will make us pay much more in health care dollars, and get much less – or unwanted – in return.