White House: Obamacare is working

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 16, 2014

WASHINGTON DC – The White House announced Monday the Affordable Care Act is working, after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office or CBO released its latest Obamacare report card.

The revised estimates now project that in over 10 years the Affordable Care Act will cover 25 million people — one million more than previously estimated — and will cost $104 billion less than originally thought.

“This report demonstrates the Affordable Care Act is working,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “It shows that marketplace health care costs have gone down because premium estimates have gone down. Additionally, the effort to constrain health care costs more broadly is showing continued momentum, as evidenced by the further deduction in projected Medicare spending.”

Outgoing US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also tells Americans that the Obamacare website is no longer experiencing technical glitches.

“It was fixed in eight weeks, and we announced last week that 7.5 million people, most of them coming through the site, had enrolled,” Sebelius said. “Could we have used more time and testing? You bet. The great thing is there’s a market behind the site that works even better. People have competitive choices and real information for the first time ever in this insurance market.”

Meantime, in Tampa, Fla, Filipino doctors here have mixed reactions on whether Obamacare works or not, even before the CBO announcement came.

Urologist Leon Espiritu said, “I think overall you know, in our practice that it is positive. It provides healthcare to most Americans and which is what they really need.”

But small business owner Tisha De Jesus said, “I think the whole point of Obamacare is to spread inequality. So those that have money will have to pay more premium to cover those that don’t have money, so that everybody has coverage. So you have to compensate by paying more.”

De Jesus, a pathogist who owns a medical lab with eight employees in Florida, claims that the Affordable Care Act is not as affordable if her employees were to get their insurance from the Obamacare marketplace.

De Jesus said, “We pay maybe an average of $800 to $1000 a month, but if they applied through Obamacare, it would be $1200 to $1400 a month.”

Healthcare.gov explains that while employees may still opt to change to marketplace coverage, even with an existing employer-sponsored insurance coverage, it will not necessarily qualify them for lower costs on premium based on their income. By picking the marketplace, the employer does not contribute to one’s premiums – thereby increasing their own out-of-pocket premium payment.

It also says that you won’t be able to get lower costs if your job-based coverage is considered affordable and meets minimum value.

Healthcare.gov also says that any job-based health plan already qualifies as minimum essential coverage so that there’s no need to change to market place to avoid the penalty that uninsured people have to pay.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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