November 12, 2013
By Chris Jacobs
In response to the wave of insurance cancellations hitting millions of Americans, and the admission by some that President Obama’s “if you like your plan” promise was false, Obamacare’s defenders are now taking a different tack.
While the law’s supporters finally admit that some people will be worse off under the law, they now claim that those “losers” will be few and far between.
The facts speak otherwise. Few Americans will be unaffected by Obamacare’s new health care regime.
• If you have insurance through an employer: The administration claims that employer-provided coverage is not changing under Obamacare – even as it brags that Obamacare is providing better benefits to those with employer plans.
Those “better benefits” are not free, however. One recent survey from the New York-based Mercer consulting firm found that half of large employers believe Obamacare will raise health costs by at least 2 percent next year.
With the average employer plan costing more than $16,000 per family, even a 2 percent increase amounts to hundreds of dollars in added costs for employers and families every year – for “benefits” they may not have wanted to purchase absent a government order.
• If you buy insurance yourself: As many Americans have found in recent weeks, the odds are that those who previously purchased their own health plan will not be able to keep it. Some experts have predicted that as many as 16 million individuals could fall into this category.
Individuals whose insurance has been canceled will have to buy Obamacare-compliant insurance. As a result, they may face substantially higher premiums for insurance coverage that provides a smaller network of doctors and hospitals.
• If you qualify for subsidized insurance: Defenders of the law would argue that these individuals are clear “winners” under Obamacare. But many of these Americans may use taxpayer subsidies to buy insurance coverage they don’t need or want – because the federal government has forced them to, and/or because Washington bureaucrats have taken away their existing plan.
What’s more, the nearly $1.8 trillion in spending on exchange plans and for Medicaid will create a significant new burden for future generations of taxpayers.
• If you are a senior citizen on Medicare: Obamacare will affect seniors as well – because, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., famously said in 2011, Democrats “took half a trillion dollars out of Medicare in (Obamacare)” to fund the law’s new entitlements.
The administration’s nonpartisan actuary concluded that the law’s unsustainable spending reductions to Medicare could cause 15 percent of hospitals to become unprofitable by 2019, and 40 percent to become unprofitable by 2050 – which could have a significant impact on beneficiaries’ access to care.
The idea that “only” 3 percent of Americans will end up on the short end of a 2,700-page law remaking the nation’s health care system seems as fanciful as the president’s pledge that those who like their current plan could keep it.
The facts are clear: Obamacare isn’t just unfair for a small percentage of Americans; it’s unfair for the entire country.
- Chris Jacobs is a senior policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Originally published by The Wichita Eagle (Kansas.com)
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