Because most humans, as opposed to MIT economists, would think, when it comes to your health, that, let’s say, one out of five adults not being afford health care isn’t all that, erm affordable….
That’s right, households that are in the second fifth take it in the chops (MA has a high median household income). Even if you’re around the median (~$89,000), there’s still a good chance that your healthcare really isn’t affordable.
If this is the standard that is being used for the current healthcare reform legislation, this is both a policy and political disaster in the making. Atrios always points out, people have to like this shit. As I noted two years ago, forcing people to purchase healthcare plans which do not provide them the healthcare they need (which is what the above figures indicate) is not popular–nor should it be (does that even need to be written?).
Sadly, it looks like the Senate bill (and that’s what will pass) is very similar to the MA bill. This is a program that will rightly be perceived as helping the poor at the expense of the lower-middle and middle class (the upper-middle and upper class can take care of themselves). It plays directly into the hands of Republicans, and it does so because Democrats were too concerned with the shibboleth of cost reduction* to pass a plan that would be broadly popular.
Guess what? They still can’t (boldface mine):
Many Americans may believe that private insurance can keep major medical bills at bay. But a new survey finds that one-fifth of people with private plans still spend at least 5 percent of their income on out-of-pocket health care costs.
The findings, from the research group The Commonwealth Fund, found that 21 percent of adults with health coverage spent 5 percent or more of their income on out-of-pocket costs — not including premiums — over the past year, and 13 percent spent 10 percent or more.
“This survey makes it clear that steadily rising health insurance deductibles and out-of-pocket costs are a serious problem for working people, regardless of how they get their coverage,” study lead author Sara Collins, vice president for Health Care Coverage and Access at The Commonwealth Fund, said in a news release from the group…
Many low- and moderate-income adults with high out-of-pocket costs skipped needed care or medications, the survey found. Among those with yearly incomes of less than $22,980, 46 percent skipped needed care at least once due to their health plan’s copayments or coinsurance, 28 percent did not fill a prescription, 28 percent skipped a medical test or follow-up treatment, 30 percent did not see a doctor when they had a health problem, and 24 percent did not see a specialist when their doctor recommended seeing one.
Among people with private insurance who spent at least 5 percent of their income on out-of-pocket health costs, 40 percent said they skipped needed care at least once due to their plan deductibles, 29 percent skipped a medical test or follow-up treatment, 27 percent did not see a doctor for a health problem, 23 percent skipped a preventive care test, and 22 percent did not see a specialist despite their doctor’s advice to do so.
Overall, 13 percent of adults with private health insurance have plans that include a deductible equal to 5 percent or more of their income, including 25 percent of those with low incomes and 20 percent of those with moderate incomes, the study said.
Forty-three percent of adults said their deductibles are somewhat, very difficult, or impossible to afford, including 58 percent of those making less than $11,490 a year, 64 percent of those making $11,490 to $22,980 a year, 49 percent of those making $22,980 to $45,960 a year, and 27 percent of those making more than $45,960 a year.
I hate being right. Worse, I hate seeing so many smart people get it so wrong, especially when it affects the rest of us.