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Many families who have enrolled in Obamacare are finding ittoo expensive. In fact, some are choosing not to seek care because of theexpense. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, itssupporters celebrated the legislation, calling it a landmark bill that wouldmake Americans healthier and lower health care costs for families. Eight yearslater, it’s clearer than ever the ACA’s “Obamacare” exchanges have done quitethe opposite. Not only are health care costs skyrocketing, the health insuranceprovided by Obamacare is so expensive for people to use that millions moreAmericans are now choosing not to go to the doctor — even when they’re sick orinjured.


According to a survey by the West Health Institute and NORCat the University of Chicago, 47 percent of respondents said within the past 12months they chose not to see a doctor or dentist because of the high cost ofhealth care. Four-in-10 said they elected not to pursue a recommended medicaltreatment or test.


Even more disturbingly, 44 percent claimed they avoidedseeing a doctor on at least one occasion while sick or injured because ofcosts. Twenty-nine percent said they chose not to see a doctor while sick orinjured “more than once.” Forty percent said they are “extremely/very afraid”of getting “seriously ill” because of high health care costs.


The survey included only those who self-identified asinsured. About two-thirds of respondents reported having private healthinsurance. Twenty-seven percent said they received their insurance fromMedicare. Only 7 percent said they were enrolled in Medicaid.


These results are a dramatic departure from several similarsurveys conducted over the past two decades. For instance, in 2014, theAssociated Press and NORC conducted a survey that found only 19 percent ofprivately insured individuals choose not to go to the doctor because of costs.Only 18 percent said they avoided “preventive and recommended care.”


Similarly, a Gallup survey found in 2001 that 19 percent ofAmericans said they or a family member had over the previous 12 months “put offany sort of medical treatment because of cost.” In 2014, Gallup determined theanswer to that question had risen to 33 percent, which is a remarkable increasebut still 10 percentage points lower than the recent West Health-NORC survey.


Further, from the mid-2000s to the passage of the AffordableCare Act, there was virtually no movement in Gallup’s survey results on thisquestion. Only after Obamacare was instituted did significantly more Americansbegin to claim they had to stay away from their doctors, even while sick,because health care had become too expensive.


The sharp increase in the number of people avoiding theirdoctors is almost certainly the result of the increasing health insurance coststhat have occurred in the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s passage. In 2018alone, health care premiums for Silver Plans — the benchmark ACA insurance plan— sold on an Obamacare exchange increased by a shocking 31 percent, accordingto an analysis by Health Pocket. Health Pocket also reports the averageObamacare Silver Plan premium is now $477 for a 30-year-old and greater than$1,100 for 60-year-olds.


Premiums are just the tip of the Obamacare iceberg, however,especially because many people who purchase their insurance plans on Obamacareexchanges receive government subsidies. Deductibles — the total amount thatmust be paid out of pocket for many services before a health insurer picks upthe full cost of a service — are a much better indicator of just how bad theObamacare crisis has become.


The average deductible for a family purchasing a Bronze Planon an Obamacare exchange is now $12,186. The average family Silver Plandeductible is $8,292, although the average maximum annual out-of-pocket costfor Silver Plan families is greater than $13,700.


With deductibles this high, health insurance for most lower-and middle-income individuals and families becomes useless, even if they areeligible to receive subsidies that help offset higher health insurancepremiums.


The problem isn’t limited to Obamacare, either. The ACAimposed significant regulations, fines, and mandates that distorted the entirehealth insurance marketplace, causing health care costs to rise for everyone,regardless of whether they receive health insurance from an employer or from anObamacare exchange.


It’s true that people enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid arepartially immune to some of these health insurance cost increases, but theyface plenty of unique health care challenges of their own. For instance, about30 percent of doctors don’t accept new Medicaid patients, in large part becausereimbursement rates are so low. In some states, such as New Jersey, researchhas shown a majority of doctors refuse to see new Medicaid patients. In manycases, finding a good specialist is particularly difficult for Medicaidrecipients.


America’s health care system has had numerous problems for manydecades, but Obamacare did nothing to fix them. Instead, it created an evenmore dysfunctional, bloated, bureaucratic model and forced everyone to join itor be greatly affected by it. Obamacare has been a complete and utter disaster,and without significant reforms, it will only get worse in the coming years.