The third birthday of the monstrosity known as the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has come and gone. It’s been about three years since Nancy Pelosi uttered those immortal words:
“But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it….”
Three years and we’re still finding out what’s in it.
Three years later Obamacare is less popular than ever:
According to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll for March, only 18 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents, and 58 percent of members of Obama’s own party, have a favorable opinion of Obamacare. Overall, Kaiser’s polling indicates that only 37 percent of Americans like Obamacare — down 9 points from Kaiser’s tally in the month immediately following Obamacare’s passage.
By about 2-to-1 margins, Kaiser’s respondents now say that, under Obamacare, they expect the cost of American health care to rise (55 percent), rather than fall (21 percent), and the quality of American health care to fall (45 percent) rather than rise (24 percent). By more than 3-to-1 margins (57 to 16 percent on costs, 55 to 18 percent on quality), independents share these same low expectations for life under Obamacare.
Moreover, Kaiser adds, “The intensity of opinion on the law still lies with the GOP.” It writes, “About half of Republicans (53 percent) say they have a very unfavorable view, compared to three in ten Democrats (31 percent) who say they have a very favorable view” (italics in original).
Three years later and 67 percent still haven’t found out what’s in it for them.
But we have found at least ten things which the law will do:
Boost insurance costs.
Push millions off employer coverage.
Cause premiums to skyrocket.
Cost people their jobs.
Tax the middle class.
Add to the deficit.
Cost more than promised.
Be a bureaucratic nightmare.
Exacerbate doctor shortages.
Leave millions uninsured.
We’re finding out that there are lots and lots of taxes:
But regulators decided to impose a 3.5% surcharge on insurance plans sold through federally run exchanges. There’s also a $63 fee for every person covered by employers. And the law adds a “premium tax” that will require insurers to pay more than $100 billion over the next decade. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation expects insurers to simply pass this tax onto individuals and small businesses, boosting premiums another 2.5%.
And we;re finding out that Obamacare is anything but affordable:
Leading, nonpartisan budget and tax authorities, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), have confirmed that the Obamacare will levy over a trillion dollars in taxes on an unsuspecting public. Families and small employers cannot afford this. Nor can they afford the 21 tax increases contained in the law—half of which will impact families and business owners earning less than $250,000 a year ($200k for individual filers). Not only does this violate the President’s pledge to avoid tax hikes on low- and middle-income taxpayers, it breaks trust with a community of job creators — most of whom file as individuals.
Job creators will bear the biggest burden of one of these taxes, which is cleverly disguised as a “fee” in ACA jargon, will burden main street job creators the most.. According to the JCT, “a very large portion of the insurance industry fee [will] be passed forward to purchasers of insurance in the form of higher premiums.” And “eliminating this fee could decrease the average family premium in 2016 by $350 to $400.” Yet, this more than $100 billion tax on small businesses and families was somehow avoided by unions, which were exempt from the discriminatory Health Insurance Tax. Former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin has estimated that the average American family will see their healthcare premiums increase by approximately $500 per year because of the tax — no small sum for hard-working Americans.
And just trying find out what’s in it will cost a fortune:
Even the administration’s own documents estimate that the Obamacare’s new tax rules will add over 40 million hours of paperwork per year to individuals and job creators. And new regulations are still being written, which suggests that this estimate is low.
And are premiums going to fall by 3000%?
The individual market includes about 15 million people, and around 18% of the roughly 149 million with employer coverage were at small companies, according to 2011 figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The individual market is expected to grow to around 35 million people by 2016 as a result of the law.
In a private presentation to brokers late last month, UnitedHealth Group Inc., UNH -1.09% the nation’s largest carrier, said premiums for some consumers buying their own plans could go up as much as 116%, and small-business rates as much as 25% to 50%. The company said the estimates were driven in part by growing medical costs not directly tied to the law. It also cited the law’s requirements that health status not affect rates and that plans include certain minimum benefits and limits to out-of-pocket charges, among other things.
Jeff Alter, who leads UnitedHealth’s employer and individual insurance business, said the numbers represented a “high-end scenario,” not an average. “There are some scenarios in which a member could see as much as a 116% increase or over,” he said, though others, such as some older consumers, could see decreases. He said the company dwelled on the possible increases because it was trying to prepare brokers to speak with clients facing big jumps.
Other carriers have also projected steep rate increases during private meetings and conversations with brokers. Brokers say they are being told to prepare the marketplace for small-business and individual rate increases as carriers get ready to file specific rate proposals and plan designs with regulators.
Insurers are “not being shy that premiums are going to increase in 2014,” and are urging brokers to “brace our clients,” said John Lacy, vice president of group benefits at Bouchard Insurance, a brokerage in Clearwater, Fla. His firm has been hearing from carrier representatives that individual premiums in Florida could go up 35% to 50%, on average, and small-business rates around 30%, though it hopes to find strategies to blunt the impact.
And we haven’t even gotten to the subsidies yet.
Subsidies will be available on a sliding scale for people with incomes of up to four times the federal poverty level—currently $45,960 for a single person and $94,200 a year for a family of four. More than half of the 35 million people expected to be in the individual market by 2016 are likely to qualify for credits. People whose incomes are around the poverty level could see almost all of the cost of their insurance subsidized, while people at the upper end will get only a small discount toward their premiums.
Subsidies is a euphemism for “even more taxes.”
Sooner or later democrats will take everything we have.