From Coast to Coast, Health Care Law Continues to Fail the American People
Implementation of President Obama’s signature health care law has been underway for months, and for some provisions even years, yet for many Americans, the news isn’t getting better with time. In selling the law, the president made promises he knew he could not keep, pledging to lower health care premiums and that Americans could keep their health care plans and trusted doctors. Now ten months since the launch of the law’s insurance exchanges, many Americans are still learning the harsh and expensive realities of the president’s broken promises.
Nebraska Radio Network reports on some of the rate shock families in Nebraska will experience in the coming months, because of the administration’s many delays throughout implementation. "Paul Utemark, CEO of the Fillmore County Hospital, says premiums in Nebraska could increase an average of about 30%. … ‘I’d like to hope that it would be a smooth transition but there’s definitely a possibility people are going to be shocked.’ Utemark says some states may see even higher percentage increases in premiums."
In North Carolina, the law has created headaches for schools struggling to deal with the new mandates and substitute teacher schedules. The Fayetteville Observer reports, "The Cumberland County school system has told about 1,800 substitute teachers they can work no more than 115 hours each month. The rule is an effort to avoid costs and penalties that could result because of requirement in the Affordable Care Act. It also applies to coaches who receive stipends from the school system."
The Tampa Bay Times notes that customers in Florida are struggling to find access to doctors. Charlene Lake was left with "no choice but to use the community health centers left in her plan’s network, rather than the traditional physician practice she had planned on." Politico adds that this issue is not confined to Florida. "Anger over limited choice of doctors and hospitals in Obamacare plans is prompting some states to require broader networks… Another complication: Even if a patient goes to an in-network hospital, not all the doctors are necessarily part of the plan. For instance patients can get stuck with thousands of dollars in bills for the anesthesia, even if surgery is covered."
The Washington Post adds, "Nine months after Americans began signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, a challenging new phase is emerging as confused enrollees clamor for help in understanding their coverage. … Beyond that, continuing technical problems with the federal health insurance exchange and state exchanges mean some enrollees still have not gotten insurance cards or are not getting billed properly."
Of course these issues are not confined to the federal exchange and its still-incomplete back end. KSTP 5 News, a local ABC affiliate in Minnesota reports, "The Minnesota Department of Human Services sent 3,000 letters to homes of MinnesotaCare recipients who may have received incorrect monthly billing statements after they applied for health coverage through MNsure, the state’s new health care exchange. The letter tells those recipients the bills may have been wrong for several months, but they encouraged those clients to keep paying the bills anyway."
Washington Free Beacon adds, "The Obamacare woes continue as an Oklahoma man spent three agonizing months trying to cancel his health insurance plan. … He phoned HealthCare.gov, but no one answered. Emanuel showed KJRH-OK the call logs displaying how long he waited to speak to a representative from the health care exchange. The call logs show that Emanuel waited 131 minutes one time and 126 minutes another time."
The Wall Street Journal reports, "Months after the sign-up deadline, thousands of Americans who purchased health insurance through the Affordable Care Act still don’t have coverage due to problems in enrollment systems. In states including California, Nevada and Massachusetts, which are running their own online insurance exchanges, some consumers picked a private health plan and paid their premiums only to learn recently that they aren’t insured."
Instead of acknowledging Americans’ very real struggles with the law, the White House may simply offer more delays and unilateral changes. The Hill reports, "The White House needs to make a decision soon on whether Obamacare’s controversial employer mandate will take effect in 2015. … Federal officials are late in delivering the final forms and technical guidance necessary for firms to comply, raising suspicions the mandate could once again be delayed. The mandate has been pushed back twice before, the first time in late summer."