Obamacare Enrollees Found to be ‘Sicker’ Because: No Shit?

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The Washington Post reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield found in general, people who used Obamacare were sicker and more expensive to care for than non-Obamacare patients:

Medical costs for individuals who obtained coverage through the ACA’s insurance exchanges were, on average, 22 percent higher than those with employer-based coverage in 2015, according to the association. Average monthly medical spending per member was $559 for individual enrollees in 2015, for example, versus $457 for group members.

The report cited higher rates for Depression, Heart Disease, and Diabetes.Of course conservatives are having a field day with this revelation, using it as an example that Obamacare is going to cause health rates to “soar” and proof that Obamacare lets the terrorists win. What they’re forgetting is that with Obamacare, nobody can be turned away due to a pre-existing condition. So individuals who otherwise would be unable to obtain medical care are now able to obtain medical care… And they’re sicker than the typical patient. Well, no shit.

This is an excellent example of poor interpretation of data by Obamacare opponents. We have a group of people who otherwise would be unable to obtain medical care that they need. It’s no wonder that they’re going to be “sicker” and require more care than the average patient. It’s like moving from a small house to a bigger house- you’re probably going to have to buy some furniture (and other #FirstWorldProblems).

The larger issue here is insurance companies and healthcare reform in general. If we’re going to concern ourselves with the financial side of things, then let’s be fair about it. Not only does the global trend show healthcare costs are increasing worldwide, but the US ranks 3rd in the world on healthcare expenditure per capita, spending almost two and a half times as much per person than the United Kingdom.

Sure, Obamacare isn’t perfect. People want a simple answer to an extremely complex problem, but unfortunately that’s not how life works. It’s what we have now, so instead of fighting so zealously to repeal it, instead we should be looking for ways to improve it. Paul Ryan said that his goal is to remove and replace Obamacare, yet republicans have failed to provide any semblance of a plan for its replacement.

Even if Obamacare did increase healthcare costs, what alternative would you prefer? Would you rather people needlessly suffer and be unable to receive the treatment they need?

Because if that’s the case, that just makes you an asshole. 

Follow Dan on Facebook at his main project, A Science Enthusiast and on Twitter at @aSciEnthusiast!



  1. […] Horgan is not even wrong about our healthcare system, either. Globally, $6.5 trillion was spent on healthcare in 2010 (the most recent WHO data), and in 2014 the United States spent $3 trillion on healthcare. The US spends more than any other country does on healthcare per capita – about 135% as much as the next country does – yet we’re 34th in life expectancy. Healthcare reform is absolutely needed in the US. It’s a complex issue with an overwhelming amount of variables. Obamacare is a step in the right direction, but certainly more needs to be done. It’s actually something I’ve written about before. […]


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