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NOLAN FINLEY

Editor’s Note: Obamacare has made America sicker

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Democrats know they have no chance of saving their failed Affordable Care Act. So the strategy now is to drop blame for the mess they made of the health insurance market into the laps of Republicans who are intent on repealing and replacing Obamacare.

The ACA has been rolling toward disaster since its passage. It was supposed to make health insurance cheaper and more accessible, hence its name. But it has been anything but affordable.

The GOP-controlled Congress and incoming President Donald Trump have little choice but to do a wholesale rewrite of the law before the entire private insurance structure collapses. That was their long game from the start; drive private insurers out of business and force America into a single-payer system.

Sunday, Michigan’s Democratic congressional delegation leveraged the left’s anti-Trump fervor to draw 8,000 Metro Detroiters to a rally in defense of Obamacare. Their claim is that Republicans will “Make America Sick Again.”

But Obamacare has not made Americans healthier. Under the ACA, life expectancy has dropped in the United States for the first time in 25 years.

The reason may be the soaring cost of buying and using health insurance.

For employer-provided policies, the average employee share of the roughly $18,000 a year cost is $5,200 for a high deductible family plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s $100 a week. Then comes the deductible when the insurance is actually used. The average for a family is roughly $1,500.

Most policies also come with co-pays that add to the out-of-pocket expense. A report released last week by Bankrate.com found two-thirds of Americans don’t have the spare $500 on hand to cover a visit to the emergency room.

Even for those with insurance, hard decisions have to be made about whether they can afford a recommended test or treatment, because of the co-pays and deductibles. That’s not a formula for a healthier society.

Obamacare is already making America sicker.