Three Years Later, More Questions than Answers About Obamacare
Whether you're a supporter or opponent of Obamacare, on this third anniversary of President Obama's signing of the 1990-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is impossible to say that healthcare for almost every American won't change in some way.
As for America herself, it is equally hard to see how Obamacare won't permanently alter the fundamental relationship between citizen and government. Proponents of the law rarely mention this side effect. Nor do they ever talk about how every entitlement program that has ever been passed has grown in scope and cost, and that in order to fix what we already know are flaws in the law, there will be more intrusion by government into the healthcare sector of the economy to come.
The flaws, discovered after we obeyed Nancy Pelosi's diktat to pass Obamacare so we could find out what's in it, are legion. Investor's Business Daily lists a few of them in this third-anniversary op-ed:
Push millions off employer coverage. In February, the Congressional Budget Office said that 7 million will likely lose their employer coverage thanks to ObamaCare — nearly twice its previous estimate. That number could be as high as 20 million, the CBO says.
Cause premiums to skyrocket. In December, state insurance commissioners warned Obama administration officials that the law's market regulations would likely cause "rate shocks," particularly for younger, healthier people forced by ObamaCare to subsidize premiums for those who are older and sicker.
"We are very concerned about what will happen if essentially there is so much rate shock for young people that they're bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
That same month, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said ObamaCare will likely cause premiums to double for some small businesses and individuals.
And a more recent survey of insurers in five major cities by the American Action Forum found they expect premiums to climb an average 169%.
Cost people their jobs. The Federal Reserve's March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses "cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff."
Around the same time, Gallup reported a surge in part-time work in advance of ObamaCare's employer mandate. It found that part-timers accounted for almost 21% of the labor force, up from 19% three years ago.
Meanwhile, human resources consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.
Cost more than promised. The Congressional Budget Office now says ObamaCare's insurance subsidies will cost $233 billion more over the next decade than it thought last year.
Be a bureaucratic nightmare. Consumers got their first glimpse of life under ObamaCare when the Health and Human Services Department released a draft insurance application form. It runs 21 pages. "Applying for benefits under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could be as daunting as doing your taxes," the AP concluded after reviewing the form.
Leave millions uninsured. After 10 years, ObamaCare will still leave 30 million without coverage, according to the CBO. As IBD reported, that figure could be much higher if the law causes premiums to spike and encourages people to drop coverage despite the law's mandate.
We are likely to hear a euphemism over the next several months from Obamacare supporters to describe the chaos that is going to descend on America when the law is fully implemented. The word is "messy":
During a Center for American Progress seminar on Obamacare, Jeffery Crowley, a former top Obama aide who had a hand in crafting the Affordable Care Act, said “we know it’s going to be messy,” according to Washington Secrets.
“There are going to be things that come up that are unanticipated,” he explained.
A gift for understatement, that one.