Obamacare and October 1st: Healthcare Triage #1


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Healthcare Triage is a new series from Dr. Aaron Carroll and the team behind Crash Course and Mental Floss Videos. In this episode, Aaron gets a visit from noted hypochondriac John Green, and allays some of his fears about Obamacare. He provides an overview of what is going to happen on October 1st, when the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, goes into effect. Aaron will talk stuff like individual mandates, subsidies, and the three-legged stool of Obamacare, which is not a real stool. You’ll learn who exactly is affected by the changes on October 1st, get a brief tour of healthcare.gov, and learn a little about alien alternative medicine, which also isn’t even real. The rest of the video is totally real. All this, plus the aforementioned metaphorical furniture should make this pretty hard to resist.

Read more on Aaron’s blog:

Written by Aaron Carroll
Produced by Stan Muller
Graphics by Mark Olsen

48 Replies to “Obamacare and October 1st: Healthcare Triage #1”

  1. So, +Healthcare Triage, it has been 11 months since this video. Any chance of a revised video with reflections and updates? I'm not trying to be political here, just using (many many examples of) anecdotal (NOT DATA!) evidence of issues with this program that looked great on paper. To quote your antibacterial soap video: …but here in the real world…"

  2. Please do updated video on Obamacare! I just got done with school and I have health insurance thru my employer. It's a High Deductible plan, benefit HSA card, but I still feel like I'm bleeding money for my meds AND my health insurance. Since the open enrollment period is coming up, I would love an updated video :)

  3. Excuse me, I liked the video but I got hung up at 4.00: Did you really mean earning 400% LESS than the Federal Poverty Line?  I'm not that good at math but that seems like an EXTREMELY low amount to qualify for the subsidy? 

  4. Heath Insurance does not make sense for me and i'm sure many many other people. I just went to the healthcare.gov after learning I will be penalized on my tax return this year for not paying for Health Insurance.  The "affordable rates" promoted on the website are anything but… For my area the average was 111 dollars a month with either a 5 or 6 THOUSAND dollar deductable.  I make on average 1200/month.  My budget is 550 for rent, 100 for car insurance, 80 for phone, 50 for internet, 80 for gas, 200 for food.  And all of these are low estimates that total to 1060/month.  If I were to get this health insurance that would leave me with 29 dollars a month.  It would take me 207 months to pay off a 6000 dollar deductable.  Is health care reserved for those who make thousands of dollars a month?

    Rant over, can you explain why health care is so expensive?

  5. Go and watch psyco (documental about universal healt) its awesome to watch and see wtf its happeing in usa… and for those that says i dont want to pay for a service i wont use… trust me nobody its planing to get sick…. its not on their plan get cancer….

  6. as an Indian citizen I was a little surprised that you put India on the list of countries which provides universal coverage. While this is theoretically true, as we have government funded hospitals and various states have programs covering the costs of poor citizens in private hospitals and clinics, the general quality of the government funded healthcare is poor and our public health policies rarely yield desirable results. Public hospitals are filthy, understaffed and unequipped to provide proper care and most people use private health insurance. This isn't to say that universal healthcare is bad as i do support universal healthcare programs. But you should definitely not put India on that list as most people given the choice would go to a private insurer…

  7. I just had a look, since I'll need new insurance myself next year and. . .basically, there are a buttload of plans available for me in Texas, and a pretty hefty subsidy for my low wages (about 19k a year) — I see no incentive to taking anything other than the cheapest option with its 6k deductible, 6k out of pocket cap, and free coverage after the deductible has been met — because everything with a low deductable gets the same out of pocket thru co-pay, nothing seems to affordably cover the services I can actually anticipate needing, and the premiums are more than 10x over the cheapest option (more specifically, over 200 USD vs 20). 

    I'll get the 20 USD one because I'm required to have something, and 1% of 19k is 190, and this is simpler to pay than that fee. plus not a lump sum (or, I assume, deducted from any tax return). . . .

    The fact is, however, these plans do not empower me to visit the doctor for anything other than a life or death situation, which I've done without any insurance, and they are legally compelled to save your life. Hell, with much better insurance just last year a particular hospital visit ran 16k base cost, with 4k of that going to me, and only stopping at that because I met the deductable. The reality? I just didn't pay, dunno if my insurance bothered since I didn't to be honest, seems good business that they wouldn't but that may not be legal, dunno. Also, at the time I made even less than I do currently.

    Until the actual COST of healthcare reaches something I can pay, what insurance I have is a moot point. So, single-payer coming straight from my taxes (or, really, probably people who earn more than I do) or a drastic decrease in cost of treatment are the only ways I will afford such crap.

    I feel bad for anyone with an anxiety disorder — irony abounds in even considering treatment.

  8. Is there a video where Obamacare gets revisited?  I imagine some of the things noted have changed, and there is more detail to go into regarding what has gone on.

  9. This seems like a REALLY complicated way to make healthcare work. I mean, in the UK you're not penalised for not having healthcare, you just automatically pay for it through taxes if you are over the untaxed income. It's that simple! And then, if you ever need to see a doctor, you just turn up and make an appointment or go to the A&E (or ER) and you don't have to worry about having to sell a kidney to save your heart.

  10. Not sure how you, in good conscience, can produce something that is so incomplete. I mean, I appreciate what's here, but to lampoon people who disagree or have concerns by insinuating that they believe that aliens cured lupus is just sad. Far more compelling would be to acknowledge the drawbacks and challenges of universal healthcare being run by the government and then talk about how those challenges could be addressed. Too bad. I've been looking for an impartial source of info, and it looks like my search will have to continue elsewhere…

  11. First point, it saddens me to know that people with pre-existing conditions have had a harder time getting insurance for healthcare and have even been denied in the past. With Obamacare no one can be denied insurance and they are charged the same amount as those that do not have a pre-existing condition. A point was brought up that with this new healthcare system, healthy people would be less likely to buy insurance because they can just wait until they're sick. With Obamacare those people that do not buy insurance are charged a fee. I think this is a good idea because ultimately it costs more to not have insurance and it costs more to be sick. I would rather buy insurance and be covered than get in some sort of illness and have to pay the fees myself.

  12. As a young 20-year-old college student I have not seen any difference since this Obama care has been put into effect. After watching this video I believe this system is a very well thought out system. All the poor people will be able to afford this care, even if it is from the help of the government. All the sick people will not be screwed out of a deal just because they are sick, like really?? You are going to punish someone because they are sick? Something that they can’t even help? Also for all the “rich” people who are saying, “I don’t want to buy health care if I don’t need it” well there are also options for you. Either pay the fine, which in all honesty is not all that much, or just realize healthcare is a good option and just buy it. Healthcare is beneficial for everyone because say you get in a car accident, you don’t have health care and the payment will be horrible for you. The price of that bill will be way worse then just making payments. So even is you do not want to have health care just get it as a back up plan because you never know what is going to happen to you. That is why I believe this is a good system.

  13. Finally made it to the end of the playlist! After watching all the episodes I can only think how it might be better if it played from oldest to newest. Or maybe Youtube could work on a way to allow people to watch playlists in reverse order. Also, if anyone running the show comes back to look at old comments, keep up the good work, I love what you all do.

  14. What people fail to realize is, Obamacare is put in place to help them. Those who aren't insured or who were denied insurance in the past are finally going to get the insurance that they deserve. Health insurance is a must, rather you are a healthy person or not. It is horrible to think that a person would be denied insurance because of a preexisting disease. The people with these preexisting diseases are the ones who actually need insurance because of all of their medical supplies and doctors’ visits. It is near impossible to afford to live without insurance because of the price of the medical care. With Obamacare these patients are no longer denied coverage, which is wonderful. Although, not everything in the American health insurance world is changing, many things are. Some changes are; with the guaranteed issue patients cannot be denied insurance, with community ratings everyone is charged the same amount and no one is punished for being sick, if an individual chooses not to buy insurance they are charged $95 or 1% of income (individual mandate). But, if the patient is insured under their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, VA, or any government insurances nothing will be changing for them. With Obamacare everyone is treated equally, though many believe they shouldn't be forced to buy insurance if they wish not to, it is actually beneficial to them because they might not be sick today, but can’t say the same for tomorrow.

  15. Is Obamacare still at risk of getting repealed or defunded? The reason I ask this is because I have heard that Obamacare keeps getting delayed. If people choose Obamacare what are the benefits of switching and how could this help people?

  16. I understand the general concept of Obamacare however, penalizing people who don't want insurance is wrong. In my mind, insurance is a luxury for people. If they choose not to partake in that luxury than so be it. It is not the place of the government to force someone into buying government insurance. I see it as a person handing someone a ticket for an all inclusive cruise and saying "you need to have this therefore you will buy it whether you get seasick or not". If someone does not want to be insured through the government then that is their business. Now, if someone wants to be insured but can't afford it, this is where I see the positive in Obamacare. This really just boils down to which way will get the government the most money and they do not really care about the well being of individuals. Making it difficult on citizens who want to keep their own private insurance by having them pay a penalty which supplies the insurance for others is ridiculous.

  17. I completely agree with the ideas outlined in Obamacare but I can see where some people are upset by the concepts it involves. For example, it is clear to me why many citizens are upset by the fact that they are being forced to buy health insurance even if they don’t want it just because it will help benefit those that do need it. They might say that this infringes on their personal autonomy to make decisions for themselves and instead they are being forced into something they don’t want by our government. But having health insurance isn’t a bad thing and you never really know when you’ll need it. I suppose this is why some say they’ll just purchase it when it becomes necessary but sometimes that is too late. And why should we care about those people that do need it? Why not just have every man for themselves in this dog-eat-dog world? Well, in order to be morally just beings, there are some ethical principles we need to abide by. One of which is benefice. This principle states that we need to take positive steps to help each other, not just refrain from harmful acts. By not purchasing healthcare because it doesn’t benefit our personal lives, we are breaking this rule because it does effect the lives of others negatively. The cost of their health insurance goes up considerable, making more people bail out, and the cost goes up again. The so called “death spiral” for private insurance companies is not a myth and to avoid it, it is crucial that we all purchase health insurance. Furthermore, this principle doesn’t effect us all, like it stated in the video. The only people being effected by this law are those who do not currently have healthcare, which is not the vast majority of us in this country. And there are subsidies available to help those that will be forced to buy it but cannot afford to. Our government isn’t making people pay money that they don’t have. Obamacare is set out to help us, not hurt us.

  18. Like most with most things, people are uninformed; of course, it seems that being uninformed causes everyone to engage in mass panic and make up stories and facts that get twisted along the grapevine. Make sure you know a source is credited before you believe it! The plan for Obamacare is simply trying to do its best to provide healthcare that is readily available for those who cant afford it, and everything only works if it is balanced so I would suggest that people are educated about it and do their best to go along with the new system.

  19. The introduction to this video I would agree would catch anyone’s attention. Simply because these are a lot of questions you average American would ask about Obamacare. Thinking the nonsense questions come from people doubting what Obama can do for us as a president. Many not paying attention to the things he has done in the past, but listening to those who know just as much as they do. Stating what Obamacare is exactly helps those who are confused or don’t know what it is or what is has and is doing for us as citizens. Guaranteed Issues and Community Ratings being the two that really stood out. Guaranteed Issues being because it states that NO ONE should be denied insurance if they wanted to purchase it. Just because they are sick does not mean it is necessarily their fault, it could be something that is airborne or even they could have received it unknowingly. And, Community Rating is the fact that everyone should be charged the same no matter whether rich or poor, sick or healthy. Based off the Philosophy courses I have taken, this raises the question of should the rich pay for the healthcare of the poorer families? To me this should be something that should be put on the to do list of the government. Though no one will get denied insurance, how will they pay for it when they don't have the funds. Knowing that there is a way around the poor having to pay for insurance puts many people at ease, the process called Subsidies of Obamacare. Making it so the government can pitch in and help out as much as possible, showing that Obama really does want everyone to try and have health insurance. To me, it’s good for everyone to have insurance, because growing up and knowing people who didn’t have insurance, were always so afraid to even get sick because they knew they would have to pay an arm and a leg in order to get better. It breaks hearts to know that many go without because they don't have the funds. Having Obamacare is very much a benefit to this Country.

  20. I keep thinking obamacare was invented to target people who don't file or pay income tax, they seem to be in the same category as the uninsured. and guess what? you have to file and tell them your income for the year before to get qualified. it is my belief that it was bait to catch non filers.

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