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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/29/16

Spiking health care costs under ACA is a myth

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Florida's great former congressman and senator, Claude Pepper, fought for national health insurance his whole life. He would be incensed at the opponents of Obamacare for trying to block the coverage for millions who now have it. Pepper, whose library and museum are at Florida State University in Tallahassee, said back in 1987, "What I'm talking about is a principle of insurance applied to health care. We insure our homes. We insure our businesses. Why can't we insure something that's even more important to us, our lives and our health?"

In 2013, Gov. Rick Scott, who knows health costs as a former hospital group administrator, was for Obamacare Medicaid expansion before he was against it. He said, "While the federal government is committed to pay 100 percent of the cost, I cannot, in good conscience, deny Floridians the needed access to health care." Then he lost that "good conscience" to politics. He reversed after his Republican legislature refused to allow it for fear of giving Obama credit for anything.

According to HHS.gov, if Florida were to expand Medicaid, "an additional 848,000 uninsured people would gain coverage." Even without, under Obamacare's marketplace, a Gallup poll confirmed that the "uninsured rate in Florida in 2014 was 18.3%, down from 22.1% in 2013."

"Some people in some plans through some carriers in some states are, indeed, looking at rate hikes of '35 to 50 percent' if they stick with those plans," said Charles Gaba, who runs the popular blog ACAsignups.net , which tracks Obamacare enrollment. But that is largely from lack of initiative. The average is much lower.

Through healthcare.gov, customers can search for an array of plans based on their financial and health priorities. Customers are able to switch plans, which enables them to save a lot of money. According to the HHS, "those who switched plans within the same metal tier (platinum, gold, silver, bronze) saved an average of nearly $400 on their 2015 annualized premiums after tax credits as compared to those who stayed in their same plans."

According to HHS, "about 8 out of 10 returning consumers will be able to buy a plan with premiums less than $100 dollars a month after tax credits; and about 7 out of 10 will have a plan available for less than $75 a month."

A smart consumer can both achieve health care coverage and save money, without succumbing to the naysayers who either have not done their homework comparing plans or, for political purposes, do not want to credit the President for a major achievement.

Robert Weiner is a former spokesman for the Clinton White House and was Chief of Staff of Cong. Claude Pepper's (D-FL) House Aging Committee and Subcommittee on Health. Daniel Khan is senior policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change.

Links to head shots:

Robert Weiner: http://www.weinerpublic.com/bobweiner2.jpg

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