The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is notoriously hard to understand—so hard, in fact, a recent poll found that one-third of Americans don’t know the two monikers refer to the same thing.
Looks like the government should have enlisted some high school teachers like Jessi Bohon to help explain the core of the law. During a town hall Thursday night with Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee, Bohon broke down the ACA in less time than it will take you to finish this article.
“The ACA mandate requires everyone to have insurance because the healthy people pull up the sick people, right?” Bohon, who was later identified by CNN, said. She asked how the government could kick 20 million off of their insurance with no viable replacement plan in place.
Bohon also questioned the efficacy of high-risk pools, which are included in many Republican plans as alternatives to Obamacare rules prohibiting insurers from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions. “If we take those people and we put them in high risk insurance pools, they’re costlier and there’s less coverage for them,” she said. “That’s the way it’s been in the past, and that’s the way it will be again.”
Bohon’s points are precisely why high-risk pools have been less than successful in the past, according to the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation. Insurance works when the premiums paid by healthy people, the majority of the population, offset the costs of the sickest. In the U.S., 10% of people account for two-thirds of all health care spending. High-risk pools, which isolated those with the heftiest bills, led to higher costs and deductibles, and insurers could still limit coverage based on pre-existing conditions “as serious as HIV or as mild as seasonal hay fever,” according to Kaiser.
Bohon also noted that Aetna lied to consumers about why it pulled out from Obamacare markets this year. While the insurer cited high costs at the time it pulled out of the market, a judge later said the company decieved the public, and actually pulled out because the government blocked its merger with Humana.
As CNN reports, this was one of two town halls yesterday in Republican-led districts that grew contentious as attendees demanded answers to their health care concerns. In Utah, constituents jeered at Rep. Jason Chaffetz, at one point chanting “Do your job.”