Obamacare still not looking like a bargain to many Americans

posted at 3:01 pm on November 28, 2016 by John Sexton

Many Americans are choosing, once again, to opt out of mandatory Obamacare plans this year, even though that means paying a steep fine. The reasoning is pretty simple. Obamacare plans are relatively cheap for people with low incomes but once you factor in the annual cost plus the cost of meeting a high deductible the chance of seeing any financial benefit is pretty slim. Last year, Steven Lopez chose a $1,000 annual fine over $400 a month in premiums and he plans to do the same again this year. From CNN Money:

“I’m paying $6,000 to have the privilege of then paying another $5,000 [in deductibles],” said Lopez, who lives in Downey, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. “It’s baloney — not worth it.”…

Lopez said repealing Obamacare is fine with him. Being penalized for not being insured is absurd, he said.

“The government should not be in the business of forcing us to buy anything,” he said.

Lopez actually did need to see a doctor last year. He wound up traveling to Tijuana where he had a colonoscopy and surgery for about $2,000. Of course, having surgery in Tijuana won’t appeal to many Americans but in some cases the cost of surgery here in he U.S. is still going to be much less than a year’s worth of premiums, meeting a high deductible and paying whatever percentage of the cost is not covered by Obamacare (30% for a silver level plan). More from CNN Money:

Shannon Drees, 26, a student from Orlando, Florida, hopes possible reversal of the ACA could lower premiums for young, healthy people. She has not had health insurance since she was 21, when she was dropped from her parents’ plan before the ACA provision allowing young adults to stay on those plans until age 26 took effect.

“I don’t have outstanding health issues, it’s much cheaper to pay a penalty,” she said.

The lesson here for progressive ideologues like President Obama is that mandating people purchase something does not mean they are going to comply if it seems very costly for what they are getting. The only way to change the equation is to either make subsidies higher (making the monthly cost lower) or make the penalties higher. Doing the former would make the program far more expensive to the taxpayers while doing the latter would lead to millions complaining about the cost of President Obama’s signature law. Either way there will be more people with more reason to dislike Obamacare than there are now.


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