Two More Signs Obamacare Is Imploding
Two new reports highlight the financial burden and physical strain Obamacare is placing on the healthcare system.
Almost half of the insurance exchanges set up by states are struggling financially, forcing officials to consider turning the exchanges over to the federal government. And most doctors are reporting an unsustainable surge in ER visits, contrary to the law’s intent.
Low enrollment numbers, expensive call centers and cumbersome technology are driving up costs for many of the 17 exchanges set up by the states and the District of Columbia, which is a big problem since federal funding of the costs expired at the beginning of the year, reported The Washington Post. (RELATED: Obamacare Will NOT Be Affordable)
States that received a combined $5 billion in federal grants must now cover their operating costs, and many may be forced to drop their marketplace in exchange for the federally operated HealthCare.gov. That transition would cost about $10 million per exchange, Jim Wadleigh, executive director of Connecticut’s exchange, told The Washington Post.
Alternatively, officials are considering raising fees on insurers, asking the state for more money and working with other states to improve their exchange. Connecticut plans to sell advice and strategy to struggling states.
While enrollment in the federal exchange increased 61 percent, to 8.8 million people, in the latest completed period, enrollment in state exchanges increased just 12 percent, to 2.8 million people. The low numbers hurt exchanges that are essentially paid per enrollee. (RELATED: California Fails To Hit Obamacare Enrollment Goal)
The law is also imposing a physical burden on the health care system, which doesn’t have enough primary care physicians to deal with the increased demand for primary care services as a result of the law. Three quarters of doctors polled by the American College of Emergency Physicians reported a spike in ER visits, contrary to one of the goals of the law, reported USA Today.
Many of the newly insured either can’t find a primary care doctor willing and able to take them on, or opt for the more convenient route of visiting the ER for care they could get from a primary care doctor. Low-income enrollees especially struggle with the process of finding a doctor and getting there during office hours, experts told USA Today.
Without an economic incentive to avoid the ER and a shortage of primary care doctors who accept Medicaid, the increase in ER visits is bound to continue, Avik Roy, health care policy expert at the Manhattan Institute, told USA Today.
“It goes to the false promise of the ACA,” Roy said. “[Medicaid recipients are] given a card that says they have health insurance, but they can’t have access to physicians.”
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