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Why Obamacare Is Unaffordable

Monday March 10th, 2014   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:17am PDT   •  

Understanding_200So much reporting on Obamacare ignores the failures of the so-called Affordable Care Act. One pleasant exception is Emily Bazar of the CHCF Center for Health Reporting. In a recent column she outlines what has been called Obamacare’s “kid,” “family,” or “affordability” glitch.

As she notes, the federal government offers sliding-scale tax credits to individuals and families who earn between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. But those with job-based insurance have to pass a second test to qualify for tax credits. The plan offered by their employer also must be “unaffordable,” but the employee and the boss don’t make that call. The government determines “unaffordable,” and deems it so when the employee’s individual premium is more than 9.5 percent of annual household income. As Bazar notes, “if premium costs for the employee alone are less than 9.5 percent of household income, then that employee and his or her family are ineligible for tax credits. Not even if the cost of family coverage exceeds 9.5 percent of household income.”

As Bazar explains, families denied tax credits are paying high premiums that would be higher still if they added family members. Andrew Yates, 31, pays $88 for his employer-based coverage, which the government considers “affordable.” To add his wife Amy would increase the cost to $530 a month, some 15 percent of their annual household income. Amy says “that’s ridiculous. That’s not affordable.” But that’s the way the “Affordable” Care Act works. And despite pressure from family groups, Bazar says, “there isn’t much hope for a fix.” Any fix would be expensive, and “the question becomes whether fixing the glitch would be affordable for the government.”

That’s the key right there: “for the government.” Obamacare takes away the care you want and gives you only the health care the government wants you to have. So it makes sense that the government alone determines what is “affordable.” So this isn’t really a “glitch” at all. It’s the essence of the seventeenth-rate sub-travesty the federal government is now imposing on Andrew and Amy Yates and millions of others nationwide. Once again, the folks up there in Washington are looking out for number one. And number one ain’t you. You ain’t even number two.

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March 2014