The Affordable Care Act was sold as giving regular people an easy way to get affordable insurance. That is not exactly how it has worked out for people using the program, according to a new report for the Commonwealth Fund.
It found that that 62 percent of people who tried to get insurance through the new exchange ranked the experience as poor or fair. Only 38 percent ranked it as good or excellent. Ratings were slightly better on state-run exchanges than on federally-run ones.
More importantly, they found 54 percent said it was difficult to find a plan they could actually afford. It was easier for people with lower incomes, those who are entitled to large tax credits, to afford insurance but even among this groups many found it difficult.
One upside is that among people who actually ended up getting a plan via the exchanges 61 percent say they have found it at least somewhat easy to afford the premiums, while 37 percent have found it somewhat difficult. In addition 68 percent rate their plans as at least good, which is a decent number, but significantly less than the 86 percent of Americans who rate their employer coverage positively. Because of the better subsidies, people with lower incomes rank their exchange plans as more affordable and better than middle class Americans.
The bizarre decision by Democrats to make keeping the official CBO price tag under $1 trillion their top priority, which led them to reduce subsidies and allow higher deductibles, will stop the law from ever living up to its name. It also created a system that seems to have shortchanged many middle class Americans, which is a bad idea if you want to build lasting popular support for a program.