Obamacare with the Smoke Cleared and Mirrors Cracked

Two years ago, Congress debated and passed the Obamacare bill. It was slapped together with a myriad of side deals and compromises in order to get enough Democratic members of the House and Senate to pass it. No one had read the 2000-page monstrosity, but that didn’t matter. At that time, Speaker Nancy Pelosi uttered words that would prove prophetic: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”

Over the past two years, Americans have found out some of the details of the bill and don’t like it. Despite the fact that President Obama said “the plan I'm proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years,” it is proving to be far more costly.

Further, with additional smoke and mirrors budget gimmicks, it was declared to actually reduce the deficit by $143 billion over 10 years. That required that the spending be offset with a variety of tax hikes and $500 billion in cuts to Medicare benefits.

The smoke is clearing and the mirrors are all cracked. Upon closer examination of the opaque Obamacare bill, the image isn’t pretty.

Instead of costing $940 billion over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recalculated the cost of Obamacare and found that the cost will almost double to $1.76 trillion over 10 years. That new estimate has gobbled up most of the expected savings Congress was to achieve under the sequestration required by the Budget Control Act when the super committee failed miserably to address the deficit.

Another smoke screen raised by President Obama was his promise that you will be able to keep your doctor under his health-care reform. With the smoke cleared, CBO now says that 4 million will lose their employer-provided health insurance as Obamacare forces businesses to end coverage for their employees.  These unfortunate casualties of Obamacare will be forced into the government’s insurance exchanges or forced into Medicaid or CHIP.

However, the government-run insurance exchanges are a murky area too. Both CBO and the president’s own budget people have seen the expected cost of the subsidies to these exchanges balloon enormously this year.

The House Ways and Means Committee has repeatedly questioned the Obama administration as to why this year they have requested significant new funding for the costs for the exchanges. Over the past year, Congress enacted technical changes that CBO said would reduce spending on the subsidies for the exchanges by $9 billion.  Yet President Obama now says he will need $111 billion in new funding for the exchanges.  No clear justification has been given for this new request.

Millions of Americans would have already lost the coverage they were promised they could keep except for a massive number of waivers to Obamacare granted by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius under authority which does not exist in the law. More than 1400 waivers have been granted covering millions of Americans.  Millions of union members who supported President Obama received a waiver to protect them from Obamacare’s harmful effects.