Mention the Affordable Care Act and the battlelines are drawn faster than a Middle Eastern conflict. Has Obamacare worked? Well, that depends on the metric you want to use.

Are more people insured? You cannot dispute that. Take California. The Kaiser Family Foundation released a report on previously uninsured Californians showing 68 percent had gained coverage since 2014.

68 percent. That sounds great. There’s always a catch. Among those newly insured, 49 percent said it the health insurance was difficult to afford. Yeah, I’m with you. Watching my premium go from $124 for great insurance to $230+ was not fun.

I may have kept my doctor, but the premium damn neared doubled.

A note: I buy my health insurance through the federal marketplace, and I’m insured via Blue Cross of Alabama.

In the Kaiser report, 28 percent of the newly insured said wait times for an appointment were unreasonable, and 16 percent were turned away due to being under Covered California.

“Coverage isn’t a panacea,” said Mollyann Brodie, executive director of public opinion and survey research at Kaiser. “We still see half of the people here are reporting challenges, but certainly those who have been covered report being better off than they were prior to having coverage.”

California residents that are still uninsured? 41 percent lack insurance due to their immigration status. The others are long-term uninsured residents who have gone through life without insurance.

obamacare premiums in california

Growing up in a Navy family, I was always under Tricare for military dependents. The second I graduated college, I grabbed the best policy I could. To me, health insurance is a necessity. Especially when you have my skills of clumsiness and coming down with bronchitis at every opportunity.

In California, worries persist. The long drives for a specialist and the wait times for referrals is a concern for patients. Makes me glad I can just pick and choose the specialists I want to see.

It boils down to more people on the insurance rolls and not enough doctors to go around. The phrase ‘if you like your doctor, you can keep him’ should have been making sure there’re enough doctors to go around.

In Alabama, it’s a bit easier. Adding 3.6 million to Covered California (1.3m) and Medi-Cal (2.3m) in 18 months is a recipe for wait time nightmares.

Does it mean Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act is doomed to fail? No. It works. Are there issues in the system. Definitely. After all, Washington did write it. If it worked seamlessly, I’d start wondering if we all got dumped into the Matrix somehow.

Improvements need to be made. Premiums are expected to jump again this year. If the prices keep going up, we may want to think about dropping the Affordable moniker.

Making the law more streamlined is paramount. No, it’s not getting repealed. I don’t care what the GOP candidates say. Look at the earnings of the major health insurance companies. Whatever bs line they want to feed you is just that. BS.

Two Supreme Court cases have upheld it as the law of the land. The meaningless repeal votes are just to assuage certain voting blocs. It’s up to the next president to work with Congress to fix and tinker with the foundation of the Affordable Care Act.


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