The prognosis isn’t looking too good for the implementation of the labyrinthine Obamacare law.
The Obama administration announced this week that special exchanges designed to “make it easier” for small businesses to provide affordable health care insurance for employees will be delayed again to 2015 in the 33 states where the federal government will be running the exchanges.
As Robert Pear of the New York Times explains, “The law calls for a new insurance marketplace specifically for small businesses, starting next year. But in most states, employers will not be able to get what Congress intended: the option to provide workers with a choice of health plans. They will instead be limited to a single plan.
“The promise of affordable health insurance for small businesses was portrayed as a major advantage of the new health care law, mentioned often by White House officials and Democratic leaders in Congress as they fought opponents of the legislation.”
Since insurance is more expensive for small businesses anyway, it’ll just be cheaper for them to pay the penalty and dump employees into the government exchanges than it would be to pay for the insurance. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects the penalties to bring in a total of $13 billion a year in revenue – or only about 30 hours worth of federal spending.
Many other people are finding out they’re losing their plans as well due to Obamacare, from part-time employees to spouses. In fact, the CBO projected this year a total of 7 million people will lose their employment-based coverage, almost double its original estimation. The total number of people participating in those exchanges is projected to grow from 7 million in 2014 – the first year they’ll be available – to 24 million in 2016.
Rack up millions more voters dependent on government for yet another service.
On top of that, due to widespread opposition to the medical device sales tax provision of Obamacare, the Senate voted 79-20 to repeal that portion of the bill, something the House already did by a vote of 270-146.
That tax was billed as a way to help pay for the law, the projected costs of which keep rising every year. An actuarial study from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded that as a result of the law, health care spending will be $478 billion higher over the next decade than it would have otherwise been had no law been passed. Furthermore, as a result of the law, about 50 cents of every dollar of health care spending in the U.S. will be financed by the government by 2021, bringing us halfway to full government-run health care.
Almost three years after it was passed, the legislation is still as unpopular as ever. So the administration has now turned to mass marketing for help in researching the lives of uninsured people, hoping to craft winning sales pitches to garner more support for the law, especially in time for the 2014 midterm elections. Marketing for the new system will start this summer, going into high gear during the fall after premiums and other plan information becomes public.
As chaotic as this bill is, and as many times as it’s being delayed, it was still way easier to pass it than it will ever be to repeal it. That’s what the Democrats had in mind during those four months in 2009 between Sen. Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democratic Party and Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death in August. That gave them a 60 seat filibuster proof majority, in addition to a House majority, allowing them the opportunity to pass any legislation they wanted with lightening speed – highly unusual in Washington. They were going to make it count, electorally. Of all the things they could’ve passed, they went for the one goal they’ve had for decades and was thwarted the last time it was tried: near-universal health care.
Pass it now, ask questions later. And we have ever since, with everyone still trying to find out what’s in it, Republicans doing everything they can to defund it, and Democrats scrambling to still sell it in hopes of changing public opinion.
I’m sure this administration wasn’t expecting the resistance they’ve encountered from the public for yet another entitlement. Most Americans like their Social Security and Medicare, so naturally, they should’ve loved this one too. Instead, they’ve been fighting it every step of the way, and no amount of mass marketing will change the clear fact that this bill was nothing more than major federal power grab.