After the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill, was pulled on Friday, people who feared the bill would cut their own or their loved ones’ health-care access breathed a sigh of relief.
From a friend. One of many reasons why I'm so relieved pic.twitter.com/DbAN9ziz1t— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) March 24, 2017
Indeed, the elderly, poor, and those on Medicaid would have suffered disproportionately had the AHCA been passed. But it’s worth remembering that Obamacare still has problems, which is one reason why the Republicans’ calls to repeal it gained so much traction.
The scope of Obamacare’s problems is small, but significant. While health-care costs have been going up less than normal in recent years and premiums for people insured by their employers have also been fairly stable, people who buy their own insurance through the Obamacare marketplaces saw premiums spike by an average of about 25 percent this year. Also, several insurers pulled out of the Obamacare exchanges in the past year, leaving 21 percent of exchange enrollees with just one insurance option and people in Knoxville, Tennessee with potentially no insurers at all.
Most people aren’t affected much by these changes, since they are subsidized by the federal government and shielded from paying more than a small percentage of their income.
But the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Cynthia Cox estimates that about 2 to 3 million people on the Obamacare exchanges do find it unaffordable, because they suffered a large premium increase, live in a state where premiums were already higher than average, and didn’t get a subsidy from the federal government to cushion the blow. Another 3 million people don’t currently have insurance and aren’t eligible for subsidies—suggesting they might be having trouble affording Obamacare plans, too.