WSJ Says Obamacare Plans Raise Prices and Limit Medical Choices

A number of sources, mostly conservative ones have been saying that Obamacare is a failure.  They point out the many problems with the official website and share many of the nightmare stories of those who have tried to sign up.  Others keep pointing to the millions of Americans who are losing their private insurance after Obama promised they could keep them.  Millions more Americans will lose their employer provided healthcare benefits because of Obamacare.  More reports point to the number of doctors closing their medical practices and hospitals declining to accept many Obamacare exchange plans.  Then there are the plethora of reports of how much more Obamacare exchange plans are costing people.

In reality, I’ve reported on all of these things and make no apology for doing so.  However, I’m very conservative which causes moderates and liberals to disregard the truths I share with them.

But the Wall Street Journal is not known for being an exclusively conservative news source.  They range from the fiscally conservative to politically liberal stories that have graced their pagers over the years.  That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see this well respected media post, ‘ObamaCare’s Plans Are Worse: How the Affordable Care Act raises prices and limits medical choices.’

In their article, they point out that it doesn’t matter if the Obamacare website is completely fixed or not: Obamacare in general is a disaster.  They point out that the majority of the people that are having their policies cancelled are:

“…self-employed or small-business owners. They’re middle class, rarely affluent. They took responsibility for their care without government aid, and unlike people in the job-based system, they paid with after-tax dollars.”

“Now they’re being punished for the crime of not subsidizing ObamaCare, even though the individual market was never as dysfunctional or high cost as liberals claim. In 2012, average U.S. individual premiums were $190, ranging from a low of $123 in North Dakota to a high of $385 in Massachusetts. Average premiums for family plans fell that year by 0.5% to $412.”

“…This year eHealth reported that its data show individual premiums must be 47% higher than the old average to fund the new categories in the individual market…”

“ObamaCare’s plans are limited to essentially four. Yes, four. The law converts insurance products on the ObamaCare exchanges into interchangeable commodities that finance the same standard benefit at the same average expense over four tiers known as bronze, silver, gold and platinum.”

“…In any case all four tiers are scrap-metal grade, because the rules ObamaCare imposes to create a supposedly superior insurance product are resulting in an objectively inferior medical product. The new mandates and rules raise costs, so insurers must compensate by offering narrow and less costly networks of doctors, hospitals and other providers in their ObamaCare products. Insurers thus restrict care and patient choice of physicians in exchange for discounted reimbursement rates, much as Medicaid does.”

“Nearly half of the ObamaCare plans are tightly managed HMOs, according to a McKinsey & Co. analysis. In states like California, Missouri and New Hampshire, many networks are 40% or 45% the size of those offered for normal commercial coverage. Patients face the prospect of waiting months and driving miles to clinics and county hospitals.”

They concluded by saying:

“If the old individual market was as bad as Mr. Obama said it was, then he shouldn’t pretend it’s a place worth going back to, even for a year’s delay. His “fix” is necessary politically because ObamaCare’s willful destruction of this alternative is the worst act of government mayhem since FDR’s National Recovery Act. The Affordable Care Act’s main achievement is turning out to be diminishing affordable care.”

Yes, everyone, even liberals and Democrats (often the same thing) are beginning to see that Obamacare is not the healthcare panacea they thought it was.  Nancy Pelosi told her fellow Democrats and the rest of America that they needed to pass Obamacare to see what was in it.  Now they are finding out what was in it and it’s not too many of their liking.  Democrats are starting to leave Obamacare’s sinking ship and distancing themselves from the President, especially with many of them coming up for re-election in 2014.  But have they abandoned it enough to overturn it?  Their political lives could well depend on their answer to that question.