The Affordable Care Act was always an incomplete effort to reform the US healthcare system. One long time failing of the landmark healthcare bill is that it focused too much on health insurance and did little to actually control medical costs.
Unfortunately, hopes that Obamacare would finally eliminate “preexisting condition” clauses and improved coverage were premature as innovative providers have discovered new ways of limiting cover when people need it the most.
As a capitalist nation, America is always looking to competition to economic problems, but competition alone does not lead to better services and lower prices through increased efficiency. After all, it would appear offering consumers choice of plans through the federal and State health insurance exchanges is not enough.
Individuals and small businesses have always faced higher costs due to their smaller size and lack of leverage at the negotiating table. The theory behind the Obamacare “marketplace” is that individuals as a whole can access the benefits larger empowers have long enjoy through the forces of competition.
Because choice drives competition, the faults in this thinking can only be overcome by giving consumers far more choices. Opening local markets to additional healthcare insurance providers where few, if any, choices actually exist can help.
If consumers are given the option to purchase insurance on healthcare.gov as well as private platforms like eTeleQuote, however, the need for these private entities to compete means they will have an incentive to pressure insurance providers to offer better options, similar to what a company like Travelocity does for airlines.
Looking at services like Medigap, consumers looking to purchase supplementary plans do so through private “marketplaces,” because private companies need to cater to their customers, thus they must make the experience of buying health insurance far more user friends.
More importantly, they must find ways of providing more options and better prices. Although the government needs to tighten loopholes that allow providers to circumvent the high standards of coverage created by Obamacare, those standards ensure private marketplaces can compete by pressuring insurance providers to find more constructive ways to cut costs instead of cutting coverage.
Moreover, the government needs to do more to spur competition among health insurance providers and the use of private services can help put pressure on insurance providers.