While the goal of President Barack Obama’s health care law may have been to increase access to affordable health insurance coverage, a flaw in the way the law was written may have the exact opposite effect for some families.
Under the law, affordable health insurance is limited to a maximum of 9.5% of a family’s total income. Families with affordable coverage do not qualify for government-subsidized coverage available through newly-created health care exchanges. However, affordability is linked to the cost of single-person only coverage. Adding family members to an insurance plan typically drives the costs substantially higher, the Associated Press noted.
Insurance coverage for single employees costs an average of $5,600 a year, but a family plan can cost almost three times as much, typically about $15,700. A children’s advocacy group says the oversight in the way the law is written could result in 500,000 children failing to qualify insurance.
The White House blames Congress for structuring the law in a way that excludes some families. It insists that families who cannot afford coverage will not be hit with a tax penalty if they cannot obtain insurance.
Chances of the law being changed remain low. Many republicans in the GOP-dominated House of Representatives remain opposed to the law and would like to repeal it.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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