As the GOP debates the American Health Care Act, it is hampered by something that did not trouble the Dems when they enacted the Affordable Care Act: the Dems did not care if Americans lost their insurance and/or their doctors, nor about people who would be paying higher premiums, higher deductibles and higher co-pays
.During the seven years since President Obama signed the ACA on March 23, 2010, I have heard many stories about the impact on my friends, clients, relatives. I am STILL waiting for the FIRST good story.
Example #1-Oregon: A couple had been taking care of the wife's mother in their home for 18 years. The mother was disabled and received Medicaid. During all those years Medicaid had paid this couple $1,000 per month. One day a Medicaid payment arrived for more than $6,000. They assumed there had been an error, so they phoned their Medicaid caseworker. They were told that, under ACA, this was the new amount they would be receiving EACH month. The supervisor told them that Medicaid was "flush with cash due to the ACA and Oregon HAD TO spend it." If they did not accept the higher payments, their mother would be removed from their home and put in a facility. Such a waste of tax dollars!
Example #2-Oregon: Eye doctors have a relatively high number of Medicare patients. My eye doctor was forced to close his practice because the ACA severely cut payments to Medicare doctors. And I was not even a Medicare patient!
Example #3-Nevada: A low-income, working couple dropped their group insurance because they were told the ACA was cheaper for them due to the subsidy. They noticed that their out-of-pocket costs for doctor visits and tests were now higher. But the real shock came when they filed their income tax returns the following April. The IRS kept their $3,000-plus tax refund to reimburse ACA for the subsidy. Thus, the cost of their health care had doubled!
Example #4-Texas: In 2013 a self-employed, healthy Physician's Assistant received notice that the ACA had outlawed the Individual Plan she had had for years. That Plan had cost $468 per month with a $3,500 deductible. To replace it "outside" the ACA-created "marketplace" would now cost $1,600 per month, so she purchased an ACA-approved Plan with a $12,000 deductible. It was cancelled in 2014.
With few choices left she was forced to settle for a third plan which cost $750 per month and prevented her from seeing her longtime doctors. THAT plan was cancelled in 2015. She then signed up for a plan at $550 per month with NO choice of doctors. This January she received notice that this plan had been retroactively ancelled on Jan. 1, 2017, leaving her with no insurance for the entire month. She is now on a plan at $800 per month with a $10,000 deductible and no prescription coverage, her FIFTH plan in five years!
There was significant harm done to many Americans when the ACA was implemented, but the Dems were not concerned. The GOP is now struggling to fix this nightmare WITHOUT negatively impacting anyone. A difficult task to be sure.
Diane L. Gruber is an attorney in private practice and a longtime resident of West Linn.