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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Challenges for the Affordable Care Act

Republicans have long blamed President Obama's signature health care initiative for increasing insurance costs, dubbing it the "Unaffordable Care Act."
Turns out, they might be right.
For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they're currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers' monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act.
Health law proponents have excused the rate hikes by saying the prices in the exchange won't apply to the millions receiving coverage from their employers. But that's only if employers continue to offer that coverage--something that's looking increasingly uncertain. Already, UPS, for example, cited Obamacare as its reason for nixing spousal coverage. And while a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 49 percent of the U.S. population now receives employer-sponsored coverage, more companies are debating whether they will continue to be in the business of providing such benefits at all.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports:
Roughly half the public (51 percent) continues to say they don’t have enough information about the ACA to understand how it will impact them and their family, a share that has been fairly steady since 2010. The share who feel they don’t have enough information is particularly high among Hispanics (64 percent), the uninsured (62 percent), young adults (62 percent of those ages 18-25), and those with lower incomes (60 percent of those with family incomes less than $40,000 a year).

Further, a large share remains confused about the law’s status, with 44 percent either thinking the law has been repealed (8 percent), overturned by the Supreme Court (5 percent), or unsure whether it remains the law or not (31 percent).
Public opinion on the ACA as a whole continues to tilt negative this month, with 37 percent saying they have a favorable view of the law and 42 percent expressing an unfavorable view, shares that have held relatively steady since February of this year.
Still, a majority of Americans (57 percent) say they disapprove of the idea of cutting off funding as a way to stop the law from being implemented, a finding that has been consistent in Kaiser Health Tracking Polls since January 2011. Republicans and those with an unfavorable view of the law overall are more likely to approve of attempts to defund the ACA, but even among these groups, about a third (34 percent and 33 percent, respectively) say they disapprove.