The only thing that seems to be saving President Obama from atoning for any one of his many fiascoes is that they come flying at the American public in such rapid succession that once one lands at our feet, another hits us in the face. Almost forgotten in this debacle we call the Obama administration is his signature legislation, Obamacare.
My disdain for Obamacare is simple. It is one of the most dishonest pieces of legislation ever forced on the American people. That is why from time to time I know it is necessary to shine a spotlight back on this dogmatic charade. While some try to convince people that Obamacare is working, the reality of its implementation only continues to highlight its dishonesty.
We now know Obamacare is not health care reform, but a poor attempt at insurance reform. Either way, it has not helped to truly reduce cost, improve health care services or increase availability. Pollsters and politicians have stopped asking people whether they want to keep Obamacare as is (that answer is a resounding “No”), choosing instead to ask whether people want to “fix” or “repeal and replace” Obamacare. All this discontent is happening before the plan is even fully implemented, and after its disastrous rollout was front-loaded with all the “good stuff” — pre-existing coverage, “kids” coverage on a parents’ plan up to 26 years old, initial limited tax implications.
For all the criticism of Republicans regarding the repeal votes, the media and Obamabots have completely ignored the more than 1,000 questionable waivers granted, or the fact Obama has “ordered” 38 changes to a law that constitutionally falls under the statutory control of congressional authority. Joining the delay in the employee mandate (a key funding component), Obama quietly waived for some states another major mandate of the law known as Small Business Health Option Program, conveniently until after 2016.
The SHOP program was designed to encourage smaller companies to cover their workers and promised a variety of insurance choices (yet another promise broken). SHOP was supposed to increase choice, but some states feared it would help to increase overall health care pricing. Many believe the delay was just an excuse to hide the fact that, just like healthcare.gov, the SHOP program has gotten off to a terrible start. In fact, SHOP’s Web site isn’t even online yet, without a definitive date announced. It would appear the real reason for the delay is just more incompetence.
Speaking of healthcare.gov, the back end, which is only supposed to calculate and verify financial data related to assigning individual health care coverage and costs, still isn’t working. This failure has resulted in at least three major issues:
First, we are learning there are approximately 2 million data discrepancies in healthcare.gov marketplace applications. HHS reports 1.2 million pieces of questionable information dealing with applicants’ personal income, about 505,000 pieces relate to immigration status, and 461,000 that deal with applicants’ citizenship status. So roughly 25 percent of the “reported” enrollees might not be eligible, and worse, may have violated the law.
Second, more than 1 million Americans who signed up for health care on the federal exchange may be receiving an incorrect taxpayer subsidy for their plans due to the fact there were no systems in place to accurately confirm eligibility. Having no real time system in place to ensure only those who qualify receive subsidies means hard-working American taxpayers may be left on the hook for billions in fraudulent subsidy payments. Even more painful, it also means someone who simply fills out their Obamacare enrollment application incorrectly could be persecuted for years by the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes owed on improper payments. How does this help health care?
Third, some have heralded the increase in Medicaid enrollment as a sign of “success” of the Obamacare rollout. I would hardly call adding 6 million applicants to the worst of health care plans, Medicaid, a success or an improvement to our health care system. But how many of the 6 million enrollees actually meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid or are leaving other insurance plans? Obama decided that individuals who wanted to purchase health insurance through the Obamacare exchange would be on the “honor system” and self-report their income, no proof required. Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Minnesota and Massachusetts officials have found that much of the federal “eligibility” data has been entirely unreliable, containing duplicate applicants and applicants who were clearly ineligible for Medicaid. This does nothing to improve health care and costs taxpayers billions of dollars.
We also learned this week that about 1 million low-income Americans will be paying a fine under Obamacare, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO report revealed 200,000 of those paying the penalty earn less than 100 percent of the poverty line. An additional 800,000 are considered low-income, earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level.
To make matters worse, a pending academic report is warning that within 10 years, at least 40 million Americans will be without health insurance. That is a 10 percent increase from today, and Obamacare will be the cause. The report by professor Bianca Frogner of George Washington University and her colleague, Associate Dean Stephen Parente of the University of Minnesota, state that, after 2017, health insurance premiums are projected to escalate so high an increasing number of employers will opt to pay the less expensive fine. Also, individuals will find fewer affordable options on the exchanges and will choose to do the same by 2024.
Lastly, the CBO announced this week that it can no longer stand by its 2010 projections that Obamacare would not add to our deficit. Hiding behind the CBO report, Obama promised, “I made clear from day one that I would not sign a health insurance reform bill if it raised the deficit by one dime — and neither the House, nor the Senate bill does.” Looks like Obama could get the PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” two years running.
Forced narrowing of health care networks, lack of cancer coverage, billions wasted on failed Web portals, massive premium and deductible increases — is it any wonder the Democrats really do not want to run on this boondoggle? Cheerleaders at the Washington Post, MSNBC and the uninformed responders to this article continue to falsely insist Americans just want to “tweak” Obamacare. Democrats pretend to want to fix it, but have not offered one credible idea. The fact is Obamacare supporters either won’t or can’t fix Obamacare. You simply can’t fix stupid.