by JACK VAN ZANDT
“The Republicans are upset about Obamacare because something they tried to stop now won’t get started.” – David Letterman
Obamacare detractors predicted the plan would not work, that the young and healthy would not sign up and some would game the system waiting until health care was needed to sign up, then drop coverage when they recovered. They questioned how “free” services would be paid for and noted the negative impact on businesses, jobs, the economy and more.
Obamacare included measures designed to encourage Americans to participate, including a small enrollment window, unrealistically low premiums, and penalties for people who didn’t sign up. Payments and participation was overseen by the IRS and penalties would be confiscated from tax refunds.
Despite all this and more, there are reports from multiple news services that it’s not working.
States were expected to establish exchanges to manage the ACA. Billions were offered to states to start-up their exchanges along with temporary large state Medicaid funding designed to encourage their formation. Still only a handful of states agreed, and over half of them have failed or are failing. This has cost these states millions, left thousands uninsured, and placed more pressure on the federal system.
Designed to insure the 30 million who were uninsured, the plan was highly dependent on the young and healthy signing up. The Congressional Budget Office has reported that 2016 sign-ups would be 11-12 million instead of the projected 20 million, and only 28 percent were 10-24 year olds instead of the 40 percent needed. Most of those signing up reportedly had good insurance prior to Obamacare becoming law. Millions still remain uninsured.
Those purchasing insurance have deductibles so high the policy coverage is almost unusable. And while the monthly premium is “affordable,” it is only affordable to the individual. Taxpayers, are paying an estimated $268/mo. per participant in subsidies, creating more national debt.
Critical to the success of the plan was insurance company participation. To assure their participation, Obamacare created complex backroom processes to protect insurance company profits. This included mandated redistribution of profits between companies, and insurance company bailouts using taxpayer money. With this assurance, insurance companies bought into the plan.
In 2013, Marco Rubio’s Wall Street Journal op-ed exposed how “risk corridors” and bail outs worked. The President promised this would stop. Republicans, therefore, codified his promise in the 2014 omnibus budget bill.
Insurance companies have reportedly lost billions since 2014. Aetna, United Health Group, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and Humana are all reported as having lost a combined total in excess of $4 billion in 2014 and 2015 looks the same. Several articles report of serious talks within these companies of pulling out of Obamacare.
Additionally, Obamacare changed the entire workplace environment; redefining full-time work, penalizing business decisions and more. The result was businesses cutting back to survive, fewer jobs, lower household income, foreclosures, and talented workers sidelined and depending on taxpayer assistance programs.
This is what nearly $2 trillion have bought us. It’s time for change — time to un-transform Obamacare; to get government out of our exam room; to let people pick their own health-care coverages — not the government mandated coverages they don’t need or want, but coverages the individual actually needs and wants in a competitive, market-based environment.
Yes, David, we do need to get health care started — started down the correct path — moving as far away from Obamacare, politicians, and bureaucrats as possible.
This is who we are.