A lot of people are frustrated with the Affordable Care Act’s health care marketplaces, with the government offering subsidies and coverage at a cost that has far exceeded many Americans’ expectations.
But that hasn’t stopped those who have used the law to help make ends meet from using the government to buy more insurance coverage than they otherwise would.
The latest study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about one in five Americans used their health care coverage to pay for health care expenses of less than $10,000, a figure that includes premiums and deductibles.
But for those who had used the program, the share rose to a record 7.3 percent.
And nearly two-thirds of those who used the government program to purchase health insurance also used it to buy coverage at lower premiums.
Those who had never used the Affordable Exchange found that the percentage was 4.9 percent.
The report comes as lawmakers are debating whether to pass a repeal bill that would repeal the law and replace it with a government-run system.
That would give Congress the ability to roll back the ACA, but only if it agrees to a new replacement plan.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a former president of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), said Thursday that he would not support a repeal-only bill because it would not do enough to stabilize the health care system.
Graham is a former chief architect of the ACA and has pushed for a replacement.
“We need to find a way to stabilize our health care,” Graham said at a conference call with reporters.
“The only way to do that is to make sure that we get a better system that can take care of the millions of Americans who are uninsured.”
Graham’s position is consistent with other Republicans.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that a replacement plan must address “premiums and deductible costs for individuals and families,” a goal that Democrats have said is a prerequisite for a bill to be passed.
“The AHCA has made some good progress,” Ryan said.
“There are still many more steps to take, but I think the public will see it when the bill is released.”
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, told reporters Thursday that it would be irresponsible for Congress to delay any action to stabilize health care.
“I don’t think it’s fair to people who are in the market right now to keep getting ripped off.
We have to get them into the market,” Brady said.
The study from Kaiser found that some 5.3 million Americans used the federal government program in 2017, compared to 4.7 million in 2016.
The analysis also found that Americans who had bought insurance through the government plan had higher premiums than those who did not.
The average monthly premium for those with government coverage was $9,842, while the average monthly premiums for those without it was $7,890.