The debate about the fate of American healthcare will likely heat up this year.
With a Republican victory in their tax bill (and the partial repeal of Obamacare hidden inside) and Democratic victories in the Senate, 2018 is building up a Senate midterm election cycle that focuses on big ticket issues for both parties.
As we know so far, Obamacare is collapsing. The average Obamacare family plan is $19,000 a year, and costs are rising with double-digit premium increases expected in a majority of America’s large cities in the near future.
But aside from the overt economic costs to Obamacare, a new Gallup poll suggests dire patterns amongst the American public and their attitude towards healthcare.
According to the poll, 29% of Americans have put off medical treatment due to cost in the past year, or know someone in their household who has done so. As we can see, this has been stable for about a decade now, ranging from 29% to 33% since 2006.
What does this tell us? Effectively, it tells us that Obamacare did nothing to stop people avoiding seeing their doctors for cost reasons. This is unsurprising, since Obamacare is predicted to be outright unaffordable for middle class families later this year and has not measurably decreased medical care for the public on the whole anyways.
In fact, 1 in 3 millennials alone suffer from this same problem.
Additionally, many of the people skipping out on a visit to the doctor have somewhat serious illnesses. According to Gallup, 63% of those who answered yes to the first question said that the untreated condition was either somewhat or very serious.
This means that most of the people who delayed healthcare for cost reasons have a serious condition that is likely expensive to treat. This creates even more problems, because instead of nipping problems in the bud (so to speak), the conditions are likely to get worse and then cost even more to treat. This costs the average American more in the long run.
One of the problems with socializing healthcare, as with Obamacare, is that the bad decisions of certain Americans to put off getting treatment is ultimately paid for or subsidized by other Americans who are more conscientious.
This is distressing. To think that after 7 years of Obamacare American’s still can’t afford to go to the doctor, even for serious illnesses, suggests that the Affordable Care Act is failing to live up to its name. Republicans would be right to focus on Obamacare’s failings in the midterms, as there are many.