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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has issued a “Democrat Toolkit” to help members of Congress try to sell to doubting constituents the radical federal takeover of health care decision-making in preparation for the 2014 elections.
The goal of the 78-page packet apparently is to put a positive spin on the negative facts about the law, and House Democrats are planning to use it when they face difficult questions about Obamacare over the summer break.
While all its details are not yet public, it does have a knack for knocking down concerns, by simply stating they are “not true.”
A copy that was obtained by BuzzFeed has multiple pages completely blacked out and redacted. A section on “Small Business Association Points of Contact” has 19 pages that are completely blacked out, and another section containing information on district staff educational briefings is also redacted.
But some information is available.
For example, while Forbes.com recently reported that California residents can expect to see their individual healthcare premiums increase by as much as 146 percent, and rates in Maryland are projected to go up by a mere 25 percent, that’s fiction, the toolkit explains.
So is the fact that, realizing that Obamacare has the potential to vastly drive up costs for their health-care plans, the nation’s largest labor groups are now wanting special exemptions that would permit their members to obtain federal subsidies while remaining on their plans.
And so is the fact that top officers at the AFL-CIO, Teamsters and other large labor groups worry that without subsidies, planned to be available only for those who purchase insurance through the government exchanges, many union workers may drop their coverage because of the premium cost.
The toolkit states, in a section on frequently asked questions: “I have heard that some recent headlines of some insurers seeking big premium increases… mean that most Americans will be paying a lot more for health insurance next year. Is that true?”
“That is not true,” the document explains.
It claims the news accounts are not true because the rate increases only affect those who have individual plans and that those who choose to purchase insurance through the healthcare marketplaces, which are administered by the government, can expect their rates to go down.
It further goes on to say the reason the news reports are false is some people might see their premiums go down.
“In general, women in the Marketplaces will see their premiums drop,” it explains.
It does admit that a few may see increases, but that’s acceptable.
“A small group of young men may see somewhat higher premiums than in today’s dysfunctional individual market,” the toolkit says.
As more and more regulations are issued, multiple businesses have responded by cutting their workforce to part-time hours in order to avoid having to meet the stringent requirements under Obamacare.
Obamacare requires employers with more than 50 full-time workers to offer healthcare for employees. Under the law, a full-time worker is defined as anyone working more than 30 hours per week. For those who refuse to do so there is a $2,000 penalty per employee.
So many workers’ schedules now are 29 hours per week, or less, to help cut costs during these difficult economic times.
Among the industries fighting back in this fashion is the restaurant business.
Officials estimate more than two million workers at large restaurant chains and other companies with more than 50 employees face the prospect of having their hours cut to part-time status.
In May, Regal Entertainment, the largest movie theater chain in the U.S., announced it was cutting many of its workers to under 30 hours. In announcing the move the company explicitly stated its decision was based on Obamacare.
Even governments are doing the same thing.
The city of Long Beach, Calif., recently announced it was cutting all of its 1,600 employees down to 27 hours to avoid having to provide them healthcare.
Dearborn, Mich., also has cut many of its part-time employees to under 28 hours per week. Mayor John O’Reilly, Jr. said it is not realistic to expect the city to provide healthcare for all of its employees.
“If we had to provide health care and other benefits to all of our employees, the burden on the city would be tremendous. Health care is one of the largest budget items that increases annually due to the rising cost from insurance providers,” O’Reilly told the DearbornPatch.
However, Democratic lawmakers are told to tell those who may have had their hours cut that this isn’t happening.
“A recent report concludes that the vast majority of employers are unlikely to shift workers to part-time. This report released by U.C. Berkley suggests that the possible impact of the health care law on part-timers has been overblown,” the toolkit claims.
The toolkit comes at a time when even many Democrats are beginning to have buyer’s remorse about the bill.
Montana Sen. Max Baucus, a key supporter of the bill when it was adopted, now is warning that implementation of the 1,000-page bill was rapidly becoming a “train wreck.”
“I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” Baucus said during a hearing that featured Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Shortly after the statement, Baucus announced he would not be seeking re-election next year. The announcement caused some to speculate Baucus was fearful of facing voters over the health care law he championed.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has gone on record saying he shares Baucus’ concerns.
“Max said unless we implement this properly it’s going to be a train wreck, and I agree with him,” Reid said.