The fight over ObamaCare is over, right?
Why should anyone still worry that Congress enacted a brand new entitlement program at the very moment when the United States is struggling to control runaway debt?
Why should anyone want to revisit legislation that was passed with highly questionable legislative tactics over the objections of a majority of Americans?
The one-word answer: implementation.
The reality of double-digit premium hikes is about to hit across America. Average people will be wondering, why was this titled the “Affordable” Care act?
Ask CFO’s across the nation who got a nasty wake-up call weeks ago when HHS announced a $63 per-covered employee and family member “surcharge” to offset the cost of pre-existing condition coverage. Try that, times 100,000 employees and their families, to wreak havoc with your annual budgeting process.
“You didn’t know?” HHS feigned with mock innocence. It was right there (buried) in thousands of pages of new regulations.
Yes, people will start noticing that low-profit margin employers like restaurants and fast food chains are already starting to move full-time employees to part-time status to avoid business destroying penalties. Perhaps it will dawn on Senate Democrats that small business (you know, the engines of growth) have stopped hiring at 49 employees for the very same reason.
Whatever economic theory one believes in, the law of supply and demand seems to be pretty well proven. So what happens when you add 30 million new customers clamoring for appointments and care and no new doctors or hospitals? Most would conclude that prices will go up–way up.
Class warfare is the go-to answer for this Administration. It will come as little surprise when we inevitably hear that skyrocketing consumer costs must be the fault of those darned greedy insurance companies (or, maybe it’s really George Bush’s fault).
And how about seniors who are already being turned away by doctors sick at heart that their payments have been a political and budget football for years even though cuts in reimbursement of physician services (remember the $750 billion shifted from Medicare to ObamaCare?) are sworn with politician’s straight faces to not be cuts to Medicare?
Well, people are noticing that, too.
And despite promises (indeed, impatient scolding) by this President that if we “like our own doctors, we can keep our own doctors”, a lot of employers are now looking at the cost-benefit of dropping employer coverage, paying the penalties, and letting employees and their families join state healthcare exchanges. That will mean, of course, a new and unfamiliar doctor despite one more politician’s promise that government was about to do something for us, not something to us.
And how about those state healthcare exchanges? Half the states have refused to set them up. The legislation says the IRS can penalize and subsidize under ObamaCare once they are established. It does not say that the IRS has this authority when HHS sets them up. The IRS has gone ahead and written new rules as if they can actually write tax law to cover this discrepancy. Not so fast says the State of Oklahoma, which has sued.
Very soon now even more Americans will come to see that this is really the “Unaffordable Care Act”. With half the population already critical, more millions of taxpayer dollars spent on ad campaigns will not change this perception or the reality of this ill-conceived legislation.
Last year, we delivered 1.6 million petitions to the Senate asking for a new vote in light of the Supreme Court’s decision that this really is a new middle class tax and as the many promises about ObamaCare were exposed as false. Like everything else in Harry Ried’s Senate, this idea went exactly nowhere.
Implementation of Obamacare, itself, may make that stonewall strategy increasingly difficult this year. Let’s hope so before the “Unaffordable Care Act” does even more damage. Or, we can just ditch the whole idea of “consent of the governed” and go on our merry way to national bankruptcy.
Ken Hoagland, a longtime grassroots advocate, is chairman of Restore America’s Voice Foundation, which sent more than two million petitions and hundreds of thousands of phone calls into Congress demanding repeal of ObamaCare.