While Obama/Romneycare is better than nothing at all, the reality is that, for too many, it still means that healthcare is unaffordable. An article at the Boston Federal Reserve makes a point I’ve made before–people in Massachusetts get hammered on the co-payments and deductibles (boldface mine):
Among Massachusetts bankruptcy filers in 2009, 53 percent cited illness or medical bills as a cause of their bankruptcy, a percentage that was statistically indistinguishable from the 59 percent figure we found before reform. Indeed, because the total number of bankruptcies had risen, the actual number of medical bankruptcies in the state increased from 7,504 in 2007 to 10,093 in 2009. Surveys by others indicate that the reform had little impact on access to care.
Why are so many Massachusetts residents still suffering medical bankruptcies despite health reform? Although health-care reform cut the number of uninsured in the state by more than half (to about 219,000), much of the new coverage is so limited that serious illness still leaves families with medical bills they cannot pay.
Consider that the cheapest coverage available through the state’s health insurance exchange to a single 56-year-old Bostonian who is not eligible for subsidies (in other words, one who has an income above 300 percent of poverty) costs $4,744 and comes with numerous restrictions on which doctors’ and hospitals’ bills it will pay. If the policyholder is sick, the policy doesn’t start paying bills until after the policyholder has taken care of the $2,000 deductible. The patient also is responsible for about 20 percent of the next $15,000 in medical expenses.
Not to mention co-payments on prescriptions and doctors visits. Anyone who makes around $65,000 per year before taxes can’t really afford to shell out around $10,000 for healthcare (if he could, he wouldn’t be on the cheapest plan in the exchange). People have to like this crap, and this, while better than what previously existed, is not exactly likeable.
Should have gone with single payer or at least, Medicare as an option.