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During the heyday of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Emily Bazar of the Center for Health Reporting kept track of how Covered California, the ACA’s wholly owned subsidiary, actually performed. As she noted, Covered California wasted millions on promotion, handed out lucrative deals to cronies, and its $454 million computer system was dysfunctional. Last year Bazar showed how, despite skyrocketing premiums, Covered California dropped 2,000 pregnant women from coverage, causing them to lose their doctors and miss key prenatal appointments.
Earlier this year, Bazar reported that the state’s vaunted health exchange sent incorrect tax information to the health plans, which led to “higher premiums than consumers initially anticipated,” and people also “owed more out of pocket than they originally thought.” Bazar had already charted how Obamacare hiked premiums 13.2 percent, and canceled policies when people reported changes in income. As a result, many Californians did not get the tax credits they they sought. Covered California may have helped “multitudes” apply for health insurance, Bazar wrote, but “it also is responsible for countless glitches and widespread consumer misery.” So how is it performing now?
Emily Bazar, now with Kaiser Health News, warns that Anthem Blue Cross is pulling out of a large swath of California’s individual market, “forcing hundreds of thousands of consumers to find new plans.” Rate hikes average 12.3 percent and “silver-level” plans “will bear an additional 12.4 percent average surcharge.” Doctor’s networks are smaller and smaller all the time, and “if you are in the middle of treatment for a complex medical condition and lose your insurer, you may have options.” But then, you might not have options. So for all its lofty promises, Covered California still works best as a misery index.
The ACA was essentially a statist coup camouflaged in a white coat. In this plan, you get only the health care the government wants you to have. The same is true for the so-called “single player” scheme, better known as government monopoly health care.