Americans Are Confused About Obamacare

April 4, 2018

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A majority of Americans are confused about Obamacare. Findings from a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey of 2,534 people in the non-group (individual) market include:
 
1)Fifty-three percent (53%) think Obamacare exchanges are collapsing. It’s not yet true, however 64% of Republicans and 49% of Democrats believe it.
 
2)Fifty-four percent (54%) of the uninsured think they won’t be fined for 2017. That depends. The penalty zeroes out in 2019. If they don’t or can’t claim an exemption for 2017 and 2018, the tax remains.
 
3)Americans and KFF are confused about the individual mandate. KFF asked whether the mandate had been repealed and wrote, “Been repealed but is still in effect for 2018” is the “CORRECT ANSWER.” Not true. The mandate and the penalty have not been repealed. The penalty has only been zeroed out. Only 11% were deemed to have given the “correct answer” but the 43% who said it “has not been repealed” are actually correct. Others either don’t know or refused to answer (27%).
 
4)Ninety percent (90%) of people in the non-group market plan to buy insurance. Even with the penalty zeroed out, only 7% would go uninsured. Well, maybe. See the 34% in #5.
 
5)The highest ranked major reason for having insurance was protection against medical bills (75%). The next four responses were peace of mind (66%), a health condition that requires ongoing medical care for themselves or family member (41%), because government financial help made it affordable (35%) and because the law requires it (34%). Without ACA subsidies and the mandate, would the last two be uninsured?
 
6)The most common reason for being uninsured is cost. Thirty-six percent (36%) said so, but 20% say it’s due to unemployment or no insurance offered by the employer. Another 8% say they don’t want or need it, 6% cite citizenship/residency issues, 5% say they’re ineligible and 2% say they missed the deadline, haven’t gotten around to it, or are “too busy.”
 
7)Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Obamacare exchange enrollees say premiums are the same or lower. And 67% say their deductibles are the same or lower. However, according to yesterday’s Obamacare enrollment report, the average premium increased more than 30%, from $476 last year to $621 this year, while average Obamacare payments decreased from $106 last year to $89 this year. But 83% of Obamacare enrollees’ premiums were subsidized by direct federal payments to health plans (covering about 86% of the cost). Thus, the higher premiums are invisible, covered by higher costs to taxpayers. This is one way Obamacare redistributes American wages to others.
 
Real repeal is not confusing, but Congress refuses. Americans are left to believe whatever they hear. Meanwhile premiums rise as Congress walks the line between appeasing the give-us-more-money health plans (donors?) and appeasing their constituents (voters) who believed the “I’ll repeal Obamacare” promise.
 
Ready for real repeal,
 
Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder