The Irony of 6.4 Million People Learning That They Cannot Afford Health Insurance From The Federal Exchange

The greatest failure of the Affordable Care Act is that it did not make health care more affordable. It is ironic that the 6.4 million people the Affordable Care Act tried to help the most may now be personally affected by this failure. If the Supreme Court decides that it is the responsibility of Congress to fix the bill and not the IRS, these 6.4 million people will wake up to learn that their health insurance is much greater than 9.56% of their income. However uncomfortable it may seem for these 6.4 million people health insurance is neither affordable or a wise use of their limited funds. Although misery likes company I doubt they will derive any enjoyment from being in the same unenviable position as the rest of the people who did not get a subsidy from buying health insurance from the exchanges.

Affordability was the one issue that had the potential of making the Affordable Care Act a great legislative achievement. So the health insurance rates in the exchanges is proof that the supporters either ignored the issue or are so incompetent that they should not be managing health care policy. Recently I completed some affordability calculations using the lowest bronze 2015 health insurance quote for a two person family. Using the $979 per month premium from last November health insurance from the exchange health insurance would be 18.4% of the income for a couple earning 400% of the federal poverty level. This couple would have to earn $122,887 before their health insurance premiums would be 9.56% of their income. It is highly likely that health insurance rates will be much higher for me this Fall so the decision for me is simple. Just like signing up for health insurance as recently as 2008 was a no-brainer, it is a no-brainer in 2015 for me to not purchase 2016 health insurance from the exchange. The Affordable Care Act has made our dysfunctional health care system more dysfunctional.