Albemarle County’s Unfortunate Distinction

Image credit: Wall Street Journal

So much to blog about. I don’t know if I can get to it all this morning. Let’s start with this…

Albemarle County will have the distinction of having the highest cost in the nation in 2018 for people on the Affordable Care Act exchange. The Wall Street Journal cites the plight of Ian Dixon, as 38-year-old app developer, whose premiums for a family of four will jump from $988 a month to $3,158 a month. The article did not mention the size of the policy’s deductible, but in my observation of other health plans, it could be significant.

Insane. Just insane.

As the WSJ notes, other health plans have fled the ACA market in Charlottesville and Albemarle. The sole remaining provider, Optima Health, wanted out as well, but decided to stay in the market rather than leave citizens with zero alternatives.

Bacon’s bottom line: The company says the uncertainty created by the GOP push to repeal Obamacare and a Trump administration decision to end subsidies to insurers contributed to the rise in premiums. That uncertainty undoubtedly has accelerated the ACA market meltdown, but the health exchanges were in a downward spiral before Trump took office. The system is collapsing next year instead of two or three years from now.

This is what happens when a country is locked in 50-50 gridlock, neither has the political power to fully implement its healthcare vision. We get total dysfunction, and people like Ian Dixon are paying the price. Adding insult to injury, unless Congress repeals the mandate requiring people to purchase health insurance, Dixon will be dunned a tax (really a penalty, but the Supreme Court called it a tax) if he refuses to sign up for a plan that could soak up 100% of an average person’s income.

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4 responses to “Albemarle County’s Unfortunate Distinction”

  1. The ACA was bound to fail from what I saw. I’m wondering where the political gut is to dump the tax write offs these massive monopoly businesses known as health care corporations with billion dollar bank accounts, million dollar execs, and way too many admin. We also saw trying to expand Medicare and guess what? It is dumped back to the states, which is a great thing we didn’t expand. DUH!

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    The ACA will no more “fail” than will employer-provided insurance.

    Unlike Medicare and Medicaid, the ACA is not funded from the general fund but from earmarked taxes that will continue to generate funding for as long as those taxes continue to exist.

    Here’s the reality about employer-provided. It’s heavily subsidized by taxpayers because the money used to buy it is not taxed.. not only not taxed Federal or State but not FICA either. EP would cost almost twice as much as it does now if it were not for that subsidy.

    Next, Employer-provided has govt rules to protect those that buy it. First, it’s community rated – which means all workers who buy it – pay the same premium rather than premiums tied to aged or health or pre-existing conditions.. there is no discrimination like the folks who want the rest of the health care market to operate absent the ACA (which actually does set rates according to age but not pre-existing conditions).

    The basic problem is ignorance. People think the subsidies in employer-provided are provided by the company and not the Federal govt and therefor believe that the govt is giving subsidies and protections to ACA folks alone whereas the reality is that employer-provided also has the same subsides and protections.

    Finally – the subsidies for the ACA are means-tested which means people who make 200-300 times the poverty level – will pay more as the person noted in the article does. But’s here’s the obvious question – why doesn’t tht person just go market insurance instead of Obamacare? That’s basically what the folks who want to kill Obamacare want… that people without EP jst go to the “market” to give their insurance – which if you think about it is the way it worked before Obamacare.

    What were things like before Obamacare? Is that where we want to go back to ..where people with EP had govt subsidies and protections and people who had to go to the market did not?

    I used the word “ignorance” earlier. It was not a pejorative to opponents of Obamacare. It was an accurate and apt description of most of us when it comes to truly understand the health care landscape. Most folks, for instance, have no idea that EP is subsidized or has special govt protections and rules.. they just assume the employers do that and it’s somehow the fault of people who don’t have EP to not have insurance… and the govt should not be helping them.

    If we REALLY wanted to actually reform Health care -then we’d treat everyone the same in terms of the govt involvement and not have the two-tier system we now have. A very large part of EP insurance, by the way is the govt – Federal govt jobs, state govt jobs, and local govt job s.. most all of them do provide Govt-subsidized EP insurance – on the taxpayers dime while many others who work in the rapidly expanding Gig economy do not.

    A fair and equitable system would have the same rules for health care for all of us…

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