by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Obamacare is 2-for-2 at the U.S. Supreme Court. But that doesn’t mean the health care law is any better now than it was when Congress passed it. Alex Adrianson highlights a recent analysis of the Affordable Care Act’s flaws for the Heritage Foundation’s “Insider Online” blog.
… [O]ne of its main problems is that it will shift people from private health insurance to public health insurance, which is going to be bad for their health. Scott Atlas explains:
The 107 million people on Medicaid or Medicare in 2013 will increase to 135 million by 2018, a growth rate tripling that of private insurance, according to projections by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. At the same time, private health-care insurance premiums are expected to skyrocket in 2016, many by more than 30%.
This will not improve American health care. Private insurance is superior for both access and quality of care. Reforms should therefore be focused on how to maximize the availability and affordability of private insurance for everyone, regardless of income or employment, rather than put more people into government insurance while causing private insurance to become unaffordable to all but the affluent.
Why is private health insurance so important? Insurance without access to medical care is a sham. And that is where the country is heading. According to a 2014 Merritt Hawkins survey, 55% of doctors in major metropolitan areas refuse new Medicaid patients. The harsh reality awaiting low-income Americans is dwindling access to quality doctors, hospitals and health care.
Simultaneously, while the population ages into Medicare eligibility, a significant and growing proportion of doctors don’t accept Medicare patients. According to the nonpartisan Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, 29% of Medicare beneficiaries who were looking for a primary-care doctor in 2008 already had a problem finding one.
Numerous reports in the top medical journals like Cancer, American Journal of Cardiology, Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, and Annals of Surgery clearly show that patients with private insurance have better outcomes than similar patients on government insurance. It is highly likely that restrictions in access to important drugs, specialists and technology account for these differences.
Of the many negative effects of the Affordable Care Act, the increasing unaffordability of private insurance might be the most damaging.