Do Democrats Think They're Immune From Obamacare's Fallout in 2014?
Matt Canter, the Deputy Executive Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is fired up about Obamacare, and how it might be innocuous to Senate Democrats in 2014. Yet, could this be a sign of the hubris that sunk Republicans in 2006, 2008, 2012? After all, prior to the 2006 slaughter, the GOP was ahead of Democrats concerning targeting voters and digital strategy. Remember Voter Vault?
It's undeniable that Obamacare increases the burden of the state on the American taxpayer. Canter should note that:
[I]n 2010, ObamaCare was a major political issue in an election where Democrats lost 63 seats in the House and Nancy Pelosi's gavel and six seats in the Senate. President Obama himself called it a "shellacking." It was an issue for some states in 2012 but Obama was on top of the ticket and turnout was higher in a Presidential year. That won't be the case in 2014.
Second, ObamaCare remains extremely unpopular, with only 35-40% of Americans supporting the law according to public polls. The majority of Americans believe it will cause costs to increase and more than 50% want some or all of the law repealed.
Third, unfortunately for Democrats, in 2014 the argument over ObamaCare will no longer be, "abstract," as the DSCC hopes. Over the next 17 months, the taxes, penalties and mandates of the Democrat's top legislative initiative of the past 10 years will take shape. Families and workers across the country well start to see an expansion of state-run Medicaid, which provides low-quality coverage with poor access to physicians and enormous amounts of waste, fraud, and abuse. And perhaps worst of all, health care costs are still increasing, despite promises to the contrary. "President Barack Obama's top healthcare adviser acknowledged on Tuesday that costs could rise in the individual health insurance market, particularly for men and younger people, because of the landmark 2010 healthcare restructuring due to take effect next year," Reuters reported.
Furthermore, the Associated Press reported last week that premiums are set to increase by 32% under Obamacare.
The estimates from the Society of Actuaries could turn into a political headache for the Obama administration at a time when much of the country remains skeptical of the Affordable Care Act.
The study says claims costs will go up largely because sicker people will join the insurance pool. That's because the law forbids insurers from turning down those with pre-existing medical problems, effective Jan. 1. Everyone gets sick sooner or later, but sicker people also use more health care services.
"Claims cost is the most important driver of health care premiums," said Kristi Bohn, an actuary who worked on the study. Spending on sicker people and other high-cost groups will overwhelm an influx of younger, healthier people into the program, said the report.
Another striking finding of the report was a wide disparity in cost impact among the states.
While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded that the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.
The differences are big. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.
Part of the reason for the wide disparities is that states have different populations and insurance rules. In the relatively small number of states where insurers were already restricted from charging higher rates to older, sicker people, the cost impact is less.
Currently, governors are pondering whether to implement one of Obamacare's most expensive provisions: Medicaid expansion. While the program aims to cover the working poor, children, and the elderly, Forbes' Avik Roy called it a "humanitarian catastrophe" back in 2011. At the time, he was commenting on a 2010 study conducted by the University of Virginia, which showed that Americans who are on Medicaid are 13% more likely to die than those without health insurance.
Last July [of 2010], I [Avik Roy] wrote about a landmark study conducted at the University of Virginia that found that surgical patients on Medicaid are 13 percent more likely to die than those without insurance of any kind. The study evaluated 893,658 major surgical operations from around the country from 2003 to 2007, andnormalized the results for age, gender, income, geographic region, operation, and 30 background diseases.
Despite all of these adjustments, surgical patients on Medicaid were nearly twice as likely to die before leaving the hospital than those with private insurance.
Patients on Medicare were 45% more likely to die than those with private insurance; the uninsured were 74% more likely; and Medicaid patients 93% more likely. That is to say, despite the fact that we will soon spend more than $500 billion a year on Medicaid, Medicaid beneficiaries, on average, fared worse than those with no insurance at all.
It's hard to say anything positive about the benefits of government-run health care when people under its care are more susceptible to dying, than those without insurance. Additionally, if an immigration deal is reached, eleven million illegal aliens, upon reaching legal status after ten years, could eventually become eligible for health benefits under Obamacare. What's the cost? According to Washington Examiner's Philip Klein:
for every additional 1 million people on Medicaid, the federal government will be spending about $58 billion over the next decade and for every 1 million people on the exchange, taxpayers would be spending about $41 billion. Projecting this out for 8 million new beneficiaries would give a range of $328 billion to $464 billion.
That's on top of the one trillion we've already spent on this new entitlement program. We all know the Democratic solution to this problem: tax increases. They will probably added to the taxes already projected to hit most Americans, not just the rich. In all, Obamacare raises taxes for those making less than $250,000, and young Americans are being robbed of their future by keeping the elderly's health costs subsidized. How is this good messaging for 2014 Democrats? Do Democrats think farming the youth to keep their pro-entitlement wing satisfied is a winning strategy? If so, the facts, which are already showing Obamacare's insolvency, will soon overwhelm them, and destroy their narrative.