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Details, details, details: Obamacare still a fog
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 09/23/2013 @ 4:48 pm In Front Page,Health,Politics,U.S. | No Comments
When former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said Congress would have to pass the Obamacare bill so people could find out what was in it, few might have guessed that on the verge of its implementation, so many basic details would remain a question mark, including rates, coverage and availability.
In any case, the outlook for Obamacare is so bad that even Democrats have begun calling it a “train wreck.”
The Wall Street Journal confirms the program that was supposed to make health care insurance available to all and save families $2,500 a year, as Barack Obama promised, probably isn’t going to do that.
“I was always skeptical of Obamacare,” Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, a Republican, said. “But I never imagined that it would lead to rates being doubled or tripled. Increases of this magnitude will make coverage less affordable and increase the number of uninsured in Georgia.”
Forbes reported that “one of candidate Obama’s most vivid and concrete campaign promises” isn’t going to be close to the reality that Obamacare creates.
“We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year,” Obama vowed. “We’ll do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States.”
But the reality, said Forbes, is that Obamacare is boosting health care spending by about $621 billion above the amounts Americans would have spent “without this misguided law.”
Savings become something else
Forbes said: “Most readers will find it easier to think about how this number translates to a typical American family – the very family candidate Obama promised would see $2,500 in annual savings as far as the eye could see. … The increase in national health spending (which the Medicare actuaries specifically attribute to the law) amounts to $7,450 per family of four.”
The business magazine said that in the “interests of fair and honest reporting, perhaps it is time the mainstream media begin using ‘Affordable’ Care Act whenever reference is made to this terribly misguided law.”
Then there are the exemptions handed out by the Obama administration for millions who are part of several different special interest groups, including unions.
Also exempted are federal officials, such as members of Congress and members of the U.S. Supreme Court, who called Obamacare a tax and said it was constitutional.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had some recommendations in an amendment that would apply to Chief Justice John Roberts, regarded as the critical swing vote ruling Obamacare constitutional.
“My amendment says basically that everybody including Justice Roberts – who seems to be such a fan of Obamacare – gets it too,” Paul told The Daily Caller.
“See, right now, Justice Roberts is still continuing to have federal employee health insurance subsidized by the taxpayer. And if he likes Obamacare so much, I’m going to give him an amendment that gives Obamacare to Justice Roberts.”
The senator’s plan says no federal employees should get special exemptions from laws. The senator also will push a proposal requiring that Congress and all federal employees rely on Obamcare for their insurance.
There also are efforts in Congress to apply the exemptions Obama has handed out to union supporters and some major corporations to all other people.
And there’s the issue of Obama’s decision to delay some implementation dates for parts of Obamacare. Critics say it’s simply unconstitutional for a president to go about making changes by fiat to existing federal law.
‘Out of touch’
Senatorial candidate Ben Sasse in Nebraska put his concerns on video.
“Could these people be any more out of touch?” he asked.
He suggested the best way to battle Obamacare is to force “our elected officials into the horrible system themselves.”
His recommended solution isn’t complicated: Defund, repeal and start over, he said.
The Weekly Standard reported the opposition is growing.
On the issue of exemptions for the elite in Washington, the report said, “Ninety-two percent of the public does not think it is right that Congress and their staff are letting the Obama administration exempt them from the costs of Obamacare.”
The political ramifications could be significant, the report said.
“We tested the effect of the congressional exemption issue in six different 2014 races, which represent different election archetypes. We launched incumbent-specific, small but targeted, week-long communications campaigns, using mail, phones and internet, (but no TV or radio), directed at 7,500 likely voters. Then we analyzed the criteria regularly used by campaign strategists to measure the strength of an incumbent’s reelection campaign: the ‘hard re-elect’, or the percentage of voters who say they will vote to reelect the incumbent; the ‘hard vote against’, or the percentage of voters who say they will vote against an incumbent; and the ‘ballot test’, or how the incumbent fares when matched up against his challenger,” the Standard said.
The report noted Mike Simpson, a Republican incumbent from Idaho, is “one of the louder voices objecting to language to remove the special exemption from” Congress.“
“He may want to rethink that: After the messaging, his hard reelect dropped 10 points, from 29/71 to 24/74; his hard vote against grew by 20 points, from 11/89 to 21/79; and he lost a whopping 29 points on the ballot test, falling from a 49/15 lead to a meager 30/25 lead. Any strategist will tell you an incumbent polling at just 30 percent on the ballot test is in serious trouble.”
Even the New York Times, which generally has supported Obama, now is worried.
“Many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers,” the Times reported. “From California to Illinois to New Hampshire,and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans.”
Further, experts have noted that many of the details about costs, availability of services, qualifications, coverages and the like won’t be available until after Oct. 1, when the law kicks in.
CBS in Montgomery, Ala., noted that no details of the new federally developed insurance marketplace will be public before the program actually kicks off.
“It’s frustrating that we are not going to be able to get a preview,” said Jim Carnes, a spokesman for Alabama Arise, which works with issues regarding Alabama’s poor.
Meanwhile, Republicans in the U.S. House approved a continuing resolution Friday to fund the entire government, with the exception of Obamacare. The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate, where majority Democrats have said they will kill it, choosing instead to fund nothing in the federal government rather than leave out Obamacare.
Likewise, Obama has said he would veto such a plan.
Bloomberg News notes hospitals are trying to brace for what could be a surge of patients.
“About 25 million Americans are expected to gain coverage under the health law,” the report said, even though the nation already has fewer doctors than it needs.
“It’s like we’re handing out bus tickets and the bus is already full,” Perry Pugno, vice president for medical education at the American Academy of Family Physicians, told Bloomberg.
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