And the hits just keep coming. It seems that every day there is a new incredulous revelation regarding Obamacare, a new deception uncovered, a new half-truth revealed, a new “Can you believe this?” moment. If Obamacare were a boxer it would be taking body blow after body blow. By now, it would be dead on its feet, just waiting for the inevitable knock-out punch. Greg Gutfeld, co-host of the “Five,” compares Obamacare to a meal at Taco Bell: “it looks good at first, but you pay big time on the back end.”
Before I denote the latest fun facts, let’s look at the latest poll numbers. Each of these polls was taken over the last few weeks.
Rasmussen – 39% for, 57% against.
CNN – 40% for, 56% against.
Gallup – 40% for, 54% against.
CBS News – 31% for, 61% against.
Reuters – 41% for, 59% against.
ABC/Washington Post – 43% for, 55% against.
Average – 39% for, 57% against.
Note two things: (1) the consistency of the results, and (2) these polls were taken before the latest revelations, which I will discuss below, so the current numbers would likely be worse.
1. COSTS, FEES AND TAXES – The Wall Street Journal has projected national spending on healthcare to reach $2.9 trillion in 2013, which would be 25% higher than in 2007. Worse, the Centers for Disease Control has estimated the cost at $5 trillion by 2022. The cost just to set up the apparatus, including the much-maligned web site, was $2 billion. Several states that are running their own healthcare exchanges are running deficits for which they will be reimbursed by the Federal government. These Federal grants are already up to $4 billion and counting. Starting in 2014, a special 3.8% tax on investment income will be levied on households earning over $250,000. This tax will not be levied just on the sale of stocks and bonds, but on a wide range of assets, including the sale of primary residences. Commencing in 2014 there will be a tax on medical equipment. Take one guess as to who will be paying for this. Keep in mind, the primary goal of Obamacare is really about government control of healthcare and the furtherance of Mr. Obama’s philosophy of taking from the haves to give to the have-nots.
2. IMPACT ON BUSINESSES AND JOBS – According to a US Chamber of Commerce survey 60% of businesses reported that Obamacare will have an adverse impact on their profits. Moreover, 28% percent of businesses disclosed that they expect to drop employee health coverage by 2015. The ramifications of this include fewer jobs, fewer hours for those who retain their jobs and/or increased costs for individuals who have to purchase insurance privately.
3. CANCELLATIONS – the American Enterprise Institute reported that up to 80 million people could have their healthcare cancelled. Think about that. That would be 25% of the total population. In addition, as I have written previously, expect higher premiums, higher deductibles and access to fewer doctors and hospitals.
4. HOSPITALS – Many hospitals are considering opting out of Obamacare, meaning that if you want to go there you will have to pay out-of-pocket and hope to get reimbursed. So far, two very prominent ones, Cedars Sinai in LA and Sloan Kettering in NY have done so. Others are sure to follow. God forbid you have cancer and want to be treated at Sloan Kettering, but your insurance won’t cover it.
5. PRESCRIPTIONS – The latest bombshell is that many prescription medications will not be covered. You will have to pay the entire cost of these prescriptions. Furthermore, the cost would not count toward satisfying your out-of-pocket limit or your deductible. Some people will be faced with tens of thousands of dollars in prescriptions drug expenses per year. That is in addition to their higher insurance premiums and deductibles.
6. DOCTORS – Many people will not be able to continue to be treated by their doctor of choice. Their doctor may not be included in their plan’s network or he may have opted out of Obamacare entirely.
7. PLANS – We have all heard about the variety of choices that will be available in the form of Platinum, Silver and Bronze plans. One would assume that in view of the differences in cost among the three plans the quality of coverages would also differ. Well, you know what happens when you assume. It turns out that in many states the coverages are identical; the only difference is the size of the deductible and out-of-pocket expenses. So, the net effect is you either pay up front in the form of a higher premium or you pay as you go in the form of higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. Confused? Well, you are not the only one.
8. INSURANCE COMPANY REIMBURSEMENT – There is a provision in the law that provides for the Federal government to reimburse insurance companies for any losses on health insurance plans. This is potentially utterly catastrophic.
CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION
In my last blog about Obamacare I predicted that the web site problems were just the appetizer. The main course was yet to come. Now, you are seeing a preview of the main course. President Obama has stated emphatically and repeatedly that if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it, “period.” If you like your doctor you can keep him or her, “period.” Now, we see that neither statement is true. Not only can you not keep them, you can’t keep your medicine or hospital either.
This is what happens when our representatives pass a bill without having read it. It turns out that Nancy Pelosi was right all along. We did have to pass it to know what was in it. Unfortunately, Americans are now paying for their representatives’ laziness and incompetence and their own inattentiveness to their government. You really do get the government you deserve.
What is the remedy? A full repeal is not going to happen, at least not while Mr. Obama is president. A tweaking is possible, but Congress cannot agree on anything. The only remedy I can foresee consists of three words. Vote, vote, vote!