Obamacare: Doctor Avoids Own ER Visit Due to Huge Deductible, Plus Bernie's Admission

Posted: Feb 09, 2017 4:01 PM

Earlier in the week, we wrote about Obamacare's poor enrollment numbers -- which are largely attributable to the law's lack of affordability, and the resulting unsustainable market. In related news, the Washington Post reports on a medical doctor who decided to ignore his own medical advice because of his family plan's towering deductible. Some of these quotes are especially striking coming from someone in the medical profession who should literally know better:

All the doctor’s tricks were failing him. He’d tried neck massage, pressure to the eyes, ice on the face. But an hour in, Ashish Jha still couldn’t slow his racing heart. His wife asked what he’d recommend if a patient called with the same problem. “I said, ‘Oh, that’s easy.’ Go to the emergency department.” As a physician, Jha knew that this tachycardia could lead to a heart attack. Yet he felt caught by a decision he’d made in enrolling his family in a high-deductible insurance plan. Such plans, which offer lower premiums in exchange for higher out-of-pocket expenses, are an increasingly common type of coverage for millions of Americans. The Harvard University health-policy researcher had chosen his — with its $6,000 deductible — as a kind of personal experiment in better understanding how that trade-off influences health. And now, when faced with the prospect of paying thousands of dollars for an emergency-room visit, Jha stayed home. “I should have gone to the hospital,” he said recently. But “I knew there was a big bill waiting for me if I did, and I rolled the dice.”

The government cannot mandate that people make good decisions for themselves in these situations, but the problem with Obamacare is that under its bronze and silver plans, millions of consumers are forced to confront the high-deductible dilemma on top of spiking monthly premiums. It's a double whammy: You're paying hundreds upon hundreds of dollars every month for "coverage" that doesn't even kick in until you've paid thousands of dollars out of pocket. And the problem is getting worse as fewer young, healthy people are choosing to pay into what they've concluded is an unaffordable racket.  Meanwhile, here's Ted Cruz getting Bernie Sanders to admit that the Obama Democrats' promise of substantial cost decreases under the so-called "Affordable" Care Act  "turns out not to be true:"

Score a major point for Cruz in this exchange.  And notice Sanders' demagoguery at the very start of the clip accusing Republicans of trying to kill Medicare, to which replies with a laugh and quip.  Republicans' mathematically-necessary proposed Medicare reforms are designed to save the program from inevitable insolvency along the current trajectory.  Saying that they want to end Medicare was flagged as left-leaning Politifact's  lie of the year in 2011.  I'll leave you with a brief polling note.  Many liberals are excitedly pointing to some surveys showing increased opposition to the repeal of Obamacare.  Some of that sentiment is real and caused by status quo bias, wherein people are inherently anxious about significant policy changes.  But other polls show plurality support for anti-Obamacare executive actions taken by President Trump, and when the concept of repeal and replace (as opposed to repeal in isolation) is tested, it has lopsided support.  Republicans cannot waiver from this pledge. The law is failing and hurting people, and voters sided with the GOP in three of the last four elections as they campaigned unequivocally on the promise of repeal and replace.  Unsurprisingly, Charles Krauthammer is correct on both points here.  The key to avoiding the latter political debacle is crafting and passing a strong replacement plan: