Is Obamacare a success? 

Read the press releases from HHS and the White House and there is no doubt Obamacare is responsible for all that is good in the world.

Twenty million people have gained health care coverage (if you include expanded Medicaid), although to date far lower than original projections. Women who take birth control have an extra $15 a month in their purse and your colonoscopy is “free.”

If that is how you measure success, then Obamacare is a success.

The Administration also tends to give credit for slowing the growth of health care costs to the ACA. However, that is a real stretch; ask yourself, what in the law actually contributes to lower health care costs? The answer is very little, especially beyond efforts associated with Medicare. The way these savings are calculated is questionable. Reports of savings generated by Accountable Care Organizations are optimistic. In the general population the much promoted non-profit, consumer run plans are failures … literally costing taxpayers billions in unpaid loans. 

The Center for American progress likes to point out that costs are significantly lower than estimated in 2009; noting that the ACA did indeed save more than anticipated … while they ignore the probability that in 2009 estimates were more like guesstimates with limited information, including of changes made after the law was passed. 

Has Obamacare made health care affordable? Can it legitimately be given credit for bending the cost growth curve downward? In my opinion there is nothing that has happened to answer yes to either question.

Costs have been shifted from here to there in several ways, including to average Americans. A giant bureaucracy has been created both federally and at the state level. Thousands of pages of new regulations have been promulgated. The health care system, insurers and employers are burdened with various forms of reporting and compliance (and fees and taxes). 

Have you received your 1095-C form (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage)? This is just one example of many new record keeping and reporting requirements imposed by the ACA. 

Put it all together and then conclude the ACA has saved money (unless you are paying $89 a month for subsidized health insurance). 

Give Congress time and it will cement the growing  liability created by Obamacare by failing to pay for it just as it has done with Social Security and Medicare. 


  1. As far my costs for insurance has gone up and my deductibles have gone up. Since I have not used anymore healthcare than in the past, I have no idea if healthcare cost have truly come down. What exactly do I do with the 1095-C? Why couldn’t have been just a box checked on my W-2 in the first place? Until the 1095-C proves to me the added waste the government has added to the healthcare system.


  2. Remember that the “reduction” we are talking about is 100 – 300 basis points below what was projected.

    Those “savings” were achieved by jawboning/mandating lower rate increases – which in turn have triggered significant losses to the insurers/intermediaries – see:

    Note also that by definition, pushing people into Medicaid means suppressing costs by denying access – by limiting access to those providers who take medicaid. see:

    When people sign up for individual coverage in the public exchange, do they really understand the impact of a deductible in excess of $1,000 – or are they only looking at the monthly premium: See:

    I know each of those articles linked above are not “proof” – but, this took me 10 minutes. In the next 10 minutes, go find me four articles arguing the opposite has occurred for CO-OPS, INSURERS, MEDICAID, and PUBLIC EXCHANGES.

    So if you ignore the walls collapsing all around you, sure, the costs are lower … today. Let’s see what happens in 2017, when the last vestige of PPACA subsidies for insurers departs (the end of the transitional reinsurance) and taxpayers start to demand repayment of CO-OP losses. Let’s see what happens in 2017 when scheduled cuts to Medicaid, and certain Medicare funding occur. Amazing how they are timed to occur at the end of the Obama presidency … timed just to coincide with his successor, Republican or Democrat.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s