Obamacare Won't Help Half of Americans Who Lose Their Coverage

Posted: Oct 28, 2013 1:00 PM

Guy Benson has a post up highlighting a Los Angeles Times story documenting the "rude awakening" many middle-class Americans are experiencing thanks to Obamacare's impact on health insurance prices. From LAT:

Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don't like what they see. These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years....

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year....

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don't qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

"It doesn't seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else," said Harris, who is three months pregnant. "This increase is simply not affordable."

But just how common will Harris's story be?

If you are an Obamacare supporter, like The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn or Salon's Brian Beutler, Harris is just an unfortunate exception. Beutler dismisses the Harrises as "a small minority of consumers," and Cohn writes:

There’s lots of disagreement about how many people will pay more versus how many people will pay less. (The experts I trust most continue to say that, most likely, the majority of people will end up paying less.) But even if those paying more are a relatively tiny percentage of the population overall, they will still be a large group in raw numbers. It’s a big country!

So how large a group of people will be facing Obamacare sticker shock?

Well, according to health care analyst Bob Laszewski, about 19 million people are currently in the individual health insurance market and 16 million of them are going to lose their current plan thanks to Obamacare.

Now many of those people will qualify for tax payer subsidies that will help them afford the higher premiums. But how many people that currently have individual health insurance will qualify for any help?

Well, according to a recent Kaiser Study, that number is less than half. Just 48 percent of people now buying their own insurance will be eligible for a tax credit that will help protect them from sticker shock.

That's 8 million Americans who, like Deborah Cavallaro will be "infuriated because I was lied to."

Actually we were all lied to, many, many times, and Obamacare's implementation will only expose that fact in very real human terms every day.

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