This gets tiresome. Three years ago, I predicted, based on the Massachusetts experience with Romneycare, that mandatory healthcare without extensive subsidies would make healthcare unaffordable for too many people. And so it goes:
The problem seems to be the way the law defined affordable.
Congress said affordable coverage can’t cost more than 9.5 percent of family income. People with coverage the law considers affordable cannot get subsidies to go into the new insurance markets. The purpose of that restriction was to prevent a stampede away from employer coverage.
Congress went on to say that what counts as affordable is keyed to the cost of self-only coverage offered to an individual worker, not his or her family. A typical workplace plan costs about $5,600 for an individual worker. But the cost of family coverage is nearly three times higher, about $15,700, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
So if the employer isn’t willing to chip in for family premiums — as most big companies already do — some families will be out of luck. They may not be able to afford the full premium on their own, and they’d be locked out of the subsidies in the health care overhaul law.
This was not only predictable, it was predicted. And, no, I’m not happy about being right.