Ignore the hype — Obamacare is an abysmal mess

OlympianOctober 7, 2013 

He wasn’t sure if he had dialed into the right conference call until his handlers told him he was “live” with 5,000 nurses listening on the line. Vice President Joe Biden stumbled into the nationwide call on the Health Insurance Marketplace or Exchanges under Obamacare.

“All you need to know is the patient’s yearly income,” he said enthusiastically, as he tried to enlist nurses to help sign up “poor” and “rural” patients for medical insurance. He lobbed patronizing cliches and was reminded he was “off-script.” The call with Joe was suspect in its legitimacy, sincerity and messaging — like the law itself.

Articles in the press provide cover, declaring that health care reform under Obamacare has no bearing on most of the population. Like Joe’s message, it is an abysmal, cobbled together government mess arrogantly imposed. This is a law bound to fail with its burdensome regulations and taxes affecting all Americans. Millions will remain uninsured.

I cringe every time I hear the president’s words, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your current health insurance plan you can keep it.”

Set aside the hype on a couple of good things covered in a few pages of the law, and there are no words to describe the deceptions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Well, maybe one word — oxymoron, for it neither protects nor is it affordable and good luck keeping your plan or your doctor.

For example, individuals who purchased medical insurance prior to Obamacare are finding that 2014 plans include government-required coverage they don’t want or need. Described as essential benefits, they are driving up the price tags, which help spread the wealth around.

How rational is it for a 30-year-old man who buys his own private insurance to pay for maternity benefits? Absurdly, there is no opting out, and his premiums are twice what they were in 2013. When compared with similar plans in the exchange, costs are even higher. What’s to stop him from forgoing coverage now, paying the measly $95 penalty (IRS tax) and then electing to buy medical insurance if and when he gets sick? After all, pre-existing condition clauses are gone.

Americans are discovering work hours reduced below the law’s definition of full-time work — 30 hours, thus eliminating eligibility for employer coverage. Retirees find medical benefits dropped from pension plans. Workers at Walgreens, IBM, Sears and other companies are shocked to find their medical coverage for 2014 — gone. And many do not qualify for government subsidies. Some people still cling to the fantasy that we’re all getting free health care.

If this law is so wonderful, why has the president granted more than 3,000 waivers? The application process for exemptions comes in the form of being in agreement with the administration.

We’re all waiting for big unions, who expected to be rewarded for initially supporting Obamacare, to be granted a reprieve. At the midnight hour, union leaders are shuddering over sudden realizations. If members are thrust into the exchanges, or don’t qualify for employer-based benefits due to reduced work hours, who needs labor bosses to negotiate future sweetheart deals? Amnesty will likely arrive, similar to other agreements.

Oh, the hypocrisy in tweaking the law so Congress can keep their hefty employer (we, the taxpayer) contributions to help pay for medical insurance premiums on the exchanges. Is your employer doing that? Well, so much for egalitarianism.

Where is the outcry over the conduct and messaging from the president, who improperly decides what to enforce or change in the law, refuses to compromise, and berates any challenges? The deceptive rhetoric on this abysmal mess continues.

There is hope. Joe avoided trying to enlist nurses in supporting the rest of the Obamacare muddle — changes to Medicaid, Medicare, physician payments, patient care models, taxes and more. But, maybe he’ll sweet-talk again, on the next conference call.

Kathleen Rogers is a member of The Olympian’s 2013 Board of Contributors. She can be reached at katroger@gmail.com.

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