Let’s face it: the Affordable Care Act is unaffordable. There’s plenty of blame to go around. Certainly Congress didn’t help things by taking away the mandate, but it was doomed well before that. In Maryland, if you are unable to get group insurance, there are only two companies to choose from, Kaiser or CareFirst. All other companies have pulled out from the exchange. With limited choices, the insurance companies’ rates have continued to rise. In 2015, my premium was about $500 for a family of five. The next year with only 3 of us on the plan, it costs $953 per month, and then this year for just two of us it costs $1,387 per month! I refused to pay that much for a health plan with an $8,500 deductible. We finally opted out for a co-op and we are paying $300 per month.
Now the General Assembly is considering a bill to institute a fine of $700 for those who don’t get insurance in the hopes that more people will purchase insurance and the premiums will stabilize or even go down. Unfortunately, that won’t solve the problem. As long as there are only 2 choices, the rates won’t go down. There are also those who believe in a one payer system. That’s fine in theory, but who’s going to pay for it – the taxpayers.
There are people who can’t afford insurance. We should continue to help them through Medical Assistant that was already in place before the ACA. But we can’t continue to force people to buy insurance, especially at the exceedingly high rates. We need to come to terms with the fact that the current system is not working. It would be good start to allow individuals to have more choices for healthcare.