After Obamacare, families still struggle with medical bills

Thursday, February 06, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obamacare, medical bills, healthcare costs

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(NaturalNews) One of Obamacare's "selling points" - and yes, there were many - was that the cost of healthcare would come down. That is, the cost of actual care that Americans would have to pay out-of-pocket, as well as the prices that people pay for healthcare delivery.

As you are aware, especially if you're a regular Natural News reader, there isn't much about Obamacare that has reduced prices - prices for insurance premiums, level of deductibles and most certainly the cost of healthcare delivery. Still, the president, during his State of the Union Address, and his administration have said that Obamacare has caused healthcare costs to rise less than they otherwise would have. That claim is dubious, at best, but it still, at least, admits the obvious: Costs are continuing to rise, and Obamacare, once claimed by its supporters as the only way to get costs and prices under control, is failing miserably at this as well.

This was substantiated by a recent report from federal researchers, who found, as reported by NBC News, that more than one-quarter of U.S. families are still burdened by having to pay for medical care. Indeed, they found, one in six struggle to pay their healthcare bills (a phenomenon that will only increase as deductibles in Obamacare-approved healthcare plans go up):

The 2010 Affordable Care Act is designed to reduce the burden by getting health insurance to more Americans. But the report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that even families with health insurance can struggle to pay bills.

The figures don't lie - healthcare costs still burdening families

"In 2012, 26.8 percent of families in the United States experienced any financial burden of medical care," the NCHS team said in its report. "Almost 1 in 6 families (16.5 percent) had problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months."

Almost 9 percent of Americans said they had medical bills they could not even pay.

The government team examined results from a very large national survey of more than 43,000 families involving 108,000 people. They found, for one, that having children typically leads to more medical bills.

"One in three families with children (36 percent) experienced any financial burden of medical care," the NCHS team reported. That is in comparison with 25 percent of families with two adults and no children.

The research team discovered that families who have a mix of insured and non-insured members have the hardest time paying medical bills, as noted by NBC News:

The survey found trouble paying bills among 46 percent of families in which some members had insurance - for instance, a child covered by the Children's Health Insurance Program but whose parents had no insurance. And 40 percent of families with no health insurance at all reported financial burden.

And, even in families where all members were covered under private insurance, medical bills still caused some hardships; 21 percent said they had some financial burden from medical care.

Don't believe the hype from the law's supporters

One of the administration's biggest selling points for Obamacare was that too many American families face bankruptcy each year because of medical bills that they cannot pay. Other reports back this up; they say nearly half of all personal bankruptcies stem from costly illnesses.

But again, the Affordable Care Act - not-so-aptly named, because for tens of millions of Americans, it isn't so affordable - is not living up to its promises of cutting costs and abating medical care-induced financial hardship.

As noted by Charles Blahous, who is a senior research fellow for the Mercatus Center, a research fellow for the Hoover Institution and a public trustee for Social Security and Medicare, Obamacare is not reducing costs:

Public confidence in the ACA took a beating when it was revealed that millions would lose health coverage that they had been told they could keep. Now the public is being told that the ACA is responsible for government actuaries' improved health spending projections, when an examination of those projections clearly shows that not to be so.

Supporters of the ACA, the president and his policy team will continue to tout the law as helping to reduce healthcare costs. Don't be surprised if they even trot out a few "success stories" to bolster their claim.

But analysts and experts who are looking at the issue through a non-partisan lens, as they should, know better.

And so do the scores of millions of Americans who are still struggling with healthcare costs.






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