Not So Affordable ACA
Affordable health insurance for all Americans was one of the cornerstones and selling points of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the law has helped reduce the proportion of uninsured Americans from 20 to 15 percent, according to data, millions are still without coverage.
Consider the numbers:
Health insurance enrollment data shows that the number of Americans with private health insurance coverage increased by a bit less than 2.5 million in the first half of 2014. While enrollment in individual market coverage grew by almost 6.3 million, 61 percent of that gain was offset by a reduction of nearly 3.8 million individuals with employer-sponsored coverage. During the same period, Medicaid enrollment increased by almost 6.1 million—principally as a result of Obamacare expanding eligibility to able-bodied, working-age adults. Consequently, 71 percent of the combined increase in health insurance coverage during the first half of 2014 was attributable to 25 states and the District of Columbia adopting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.
In other words, a significant proportion of the expansion of insurance was through Medicaid. This is not exactly what was intended. One study reports that only 26 percent of the 2014 exchange enrollments were of those who were previously uninsured. The inescapable conclusion is that, at least when it comes to covering the uninsured, the ACA is at least in part a simple expansion of Medicaid.
Like Medicaid, the ACA exchange plan comes with enormous public costs. In fact, these two coverage-expanding provisions come with high price tags. The federal government expects to spend $792 billion on the Medicaid expansion and about $1 trillion on the health exchanges in the next 10 years.
Moreover, the ACA has many problems and limitations when it comes to helping those suffering with addiction. The equal medical access for mental health conditions has not been as successful as hoped due to denial of benefits. There are also significant bed shortages in some areas, so even those who seek and are granted coverage cannot find bed space in a facility when it is needed.
Cliffside Malibu welcomes the expansion of health care insurance so that all who need health care will receive it in a way that is both as cost effective as possible and yet respectful of the needs of patients. We call for those who are implementing the ACA to work out these issues, so that those who need care and request it will receive it.