The holiday mess of torn wrapping paper, tangled ribbons and cast-off bows reminds me of the unwanted gift of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. Our freedoms are lost in its subsidies, penalties, mandates and “essential” benefits. Wrapped in broken promises, the law is driving the American people into further dependency on an already incompetent government. Let’s slap on a return sticker and ship it back to the other Washington, and those who voted for it.
Obamacare is a gift that keeps on giving. With six million health insurance policies canceled, Americans are compelled to pay more for benefits they don’t want or need — pediatric dental care for the childless and maternity care for 90-year-old men — or go without.
The “reform” desperately needed the young and healthy to pitch in and pay for individuals qualifying for Medicaid or subsidized insurance. Laughing over the patronizing propaganda, they’re not buying — and why should they? In my family, the Millennials insurance that they liked, and proudly paid for, was canceled. With twice the price on Obamacare — high premiums and astronomical deductibles — they’ll skip coverage and pay the penalty.
One can only hope the president is lounging on the beach in Hawaii writing out his New Year’s resolutions starting with “I will not lie.” The intent of the law’s “grandfather” clause was always to make it impossible for private insurance to meet the requirements and thus force cancellations. The underlying tenet was that individuals would then buy insurance through the exchange (healthcare.gov). The plan failed, reaching approximately 15 percent of its enrollment goal for paying customers. The White House is scrambling.
The technology fiasco adds to the mess. Enrollees can’t pay premiums online if the payment process isn’t built! And, an estimated one-quarter of those who think they have coverage in 2014 will find they are not covered, due to garbled information sent from the exchange to the insurance companies. But with or without paying customers, Obamacare guarantees insurance companies their profits.
This is a bungled law and an abysmal rollout, with dire consequences for millions of Americans. The absurd costs, loss of coverage and technology failures highlight the intent and the incompetence. Like the Hans Christian Andersen story of an emperor convinced that his new clothes are perfect — the president got caught. As the story goes, the emperor was wearing nothing at all. “If you like your plan or doctor you can keep them,” was a lie — period — to use the president’s own emphasis.
And where is the $2,500 savings per family? Think about those undergoing medical treatment, previously happy with their private insurance they no longer have. What about Obamacare’s large out-of-pocket drug costs and lack of approved hospitals and doctors? Who wants to pay thousands of dollars in deductibles before treatment? There are reasons why the words “Patient Protection” were dropped from the title of the law.
The president (unlawfully) modified at least 19 regulations, including the delay of the employer mandate that, when implemented, will force businesses with 50 or more employees to pay penalties or provide government-sanctioned benefits for full-time workers. Employers will choose the paltry penalty instead of providing costly insurance, or they will avoid the requirements by reducing work hours below 30 — the new definition of full time according to Obamacare. Lost work hours or insurance will affect 80 million Americans or more. The president’s tactics push the pain out until after the 2014 elections.
Obamacare controls one-sixth of the U.S. economy and is designed to redistribute wealth while reducing quality of care tangled in regulation. Other gifts to come include the IPAB (independent payment advisory board), which begins deciding what will be covered and at what price. Rationing, anyone?
Let’s return this bogus gift. Permanently delay and defund the rest of Obamacare, repeal the essential benefits, the individual mandate and Medicare restructuring. Consider plans that create insurance pools for high-risk patients and small businesses and allow purchasing across state lines. Let’s implement bipartisan legislation wrapped in freedom.
Kathleen Rogers is a member of The Olympian’s 2013 Board of Contributors. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.