News that Obamacare would cause the economy to shed 2.3 million jobs is being greeted with jubilation by some quarters. This was foreseen long ago. FactCheck.Org pointed out even in 2011 that unemployment is not the right word for the loss of remunerative activities caused by the program. The word’s not “unemployment”. “That’s a distortion. CBO said some Americans would work less or leave their jobs if they can get health insurance outside the workplace.” It’s not a bug. It’s a feature.
Employment is a prison, didn’t you know? Nancy Pelosi exults that breadwinners now can escape the confines of “job-lock”. The Washington Post reports on this wonderful new addition to the political lexicon.
“Yesterday, the CBO projected that by 2021 the Affordable Care Act will enable more than 2 million workers to escape ‘job-lock’ – the situation where workers remain tied to employers for access to health insurance benefits,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office said in a news release.
“Job-lock”. Now there’s a word. But it’s new days, mourning in America, the 21st century. A time of wonders and prodigies. Joblessness is no longer uncool but something everyone should look forward to. Why, only the other day SFGate touted the benefits of “funemployment”. It wrote about the wonderful new situation those who no longer have to work are finding themselves in. “People are saying screw it, and they’re leaving companies. We need to figure out how to make companies work better for everybody. Until that happens … early retirements and furloughs are going to continue. People are going to opt out of the system.”
One system you can’t opt out of though, is the Obamacare. Eugene Robinson says there’s no going back. Ever.
Now that the fight over Obamacare is history, perhaps everyone can finally focus on making the program work the way it was designed. Or, preferably, better.
The fight is history, you realize. Done. Finito. Yesterday’s news.
Any existential threat to the Affordable Care Act ended with the popping of champagne corks as the new year arrived. That was when an estimated 6 million uninsured Americans received coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility or the federal and state health insurance exchanges.
Obamacare is now a fait accompli; nobody is going to take this coverage away.
That’s too bad. Because as John Podhoretz notes that the other thing the CBO report pointed out, besides the fact that the unemployment rolls would swell by 2.3 million, was there would be more people uninsured after Obamacare than before.
Even more damaging is this projection: “About 31 million nonelderly residents of the United States are likely to be without health insurance in 2024, roughly one out of every nine such residents.”
Why? Because, in selling the bill to the American people in a nationally televised September 2009 address, President Obama said the need for ObamaCare was urgent precisely because “there are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”
Now the CBO is saying is that in 10 years, about the same number of people will lack insurance as before. This, after new expenditures of as much as $2 trillion and a colossal disruption of the US medical system.
So you go round in a circle, two trillion dollars poorer to wind up in exactly the same place. Except this time forever. What’s changed, besides insurance bailouts, data loss, penalties, higher premiums and more deductibles? Nothing. But Robinson’s right about one thing. Obamacare wants to stay. Insists on staying. Like some HAL 2000 it can’t be disconnected.
The Cato Institute notes that embedded in the Obamacare statue itself are provisions createing an Indepedent Payment Advisory Board whose decisions can’t be repealed. Not even by passing a law against it. Health care decisions are made by the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which in turns gives orders to the HHS Secretary. And not even Congress can overrule it.
IPAB consists of up to 15 unelected government “experts.” Its stated purpose is to restrain Medicare spending. If projected spending exceeds certain targets, Obamacare requires IPAB to issue “legislative proposals” to reduce future spending. Those proposals could include drastic cuts that jeopardize seniors’ access to care, leading some critics to label IPAB a “death panel.”
But the really dangerous part is that these are not mere “proposals.” Obamacare requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to implement them — which means they become law automatically — unless Congress takes certain steps to head them off. Congress may replace the Board’s proposal with its own cuts, at least initially. But Obamacare requires a three-fifths vote in the Senate to pass any replacement that spends more than the Board’s proposal. In other words, to override IPAB’s proposal completely, opponents must assemble a simple majority in the House and a three-fifths majority in the Senate and the president’s signature
Once an IPAB “death panel” condemns you — that’s it folks. It’s job lock over forever. Funemployment forever, here we come.
One group that wants out — despite Eugene Robinson’s belief that Obamacare is the Hotel California — are union supporters of president Obama himself. Steven Mufson and Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post explain:
Leaders of two major unions, including the first to endorse Obama in 2008, said they have been betrayed by an administration that wooed their support for the 2009 legislation with promises to later address the peculiar needs of union-negotiated insurance plans that cover millions of workers.
Their complaints reflect a broad sense of disappointment among many labor leaders, who say the Affordable Care Act has subjected union health plans to new taxes and mandates while not allowing them to share in the subsidies that have gone to private insurance companies competing on the newly created exchanges. …
“We want to hold the president to his word: If you like your health-care coverage, you can keep it, and that just hasn’t been the case,” said Donald “D.” Taylor, president of Unite Here, the union that represents about 400,000 hotel and restaurant workers and provided a crucial boost to Obama by endorsing him just after his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton had won the New Hampshire primary. …
“The unions here are asking to double dip,” said Robert Laszewski, a health policy consultant in Washington. “It is an unfair request. The Obama plan is very simple: If your employer pays for your health plan, you are not eligible for a government subsidy. What the unions are asking for is government and employers to fund their benefits.” …
During preparations for a September meeting of the AFL-CIO, administration officials lobbied to alter a resolution so that it called for repair, not repeal, of the health-care legislation. The resolution passed unanimously. At the meeting, O’Sullivan said, “We’ll be damned if we’re going to lose our health insurance because of unintended consequences in a law. It needs to be changed, it needs to be fixed, and it needs to be fixed now.”
What? They don’t like it? The unions want an exemption? Well they won’t be the only ones. As is well known, Obama and many top Federal bureaucrats exempted themselves from this wonderful program from the beginning. Which only goes to show how beneficial it is. Why else would these hard working, selfless bureaucrats and union officials to pass up the chance of leisure and idle abundance that only an escape from the “job lock” can provide?
No. They must remain at their hardship posts posts. For the doughty apparatchik stern duty calls and the pitiless requirements of public service means they must make the sacrifice and remaining laboring in the vineyards of the Lord.
… and then there’s Immigration Reform, which is the next attraction.
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