Keeping in touch with ObamaCare
Remember when being “out of touch with ordinary people” was supposed to be the ultimate political sin? Once upon a time, the media concocted a phony story about the elder President Bush gazing with stunned amazement upon a grocery store bar-code scanner, which that silver-spoon-slurping aristocrat supposedly had never seen before. This folded neatly into Bill Clinton’s campaign to portray Bush as out-of-touch because he didn’t understand how bad his economy had gotten for regular Americans.
Anyone old enough to remember those days can only gaze with wonder upon Barack Obama drifting in the clouds above the economic wasteland he has created, as out-of-touch as any political leader has ever been. He couldn’t care less about the problems ObamaCare has caused, from the years of job loss, through the canceled insurance plans, right up to nervous citizens worried about the fines they’ll have to pay because they’re having trouble buying insurance they can’t afford from a website that doesn’t work.
Obama has been sending Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius out to chirp that everything is going great, aside from an unexpected hiccup or two – why, ObamaCare is so popular that our poor little hundred-million-dollar web operation and billion-dollar swarm of bureaucrats and “navigators” can’t keep up with the demand! No one in the media thinks to portray Sebelius, or her boss, as “out of touch” for doing this.
One of the few people in Washington interested in holding her accountable is Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), who is a medical doctor. “Let’s just say this is excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and for the Department of Health and Human Services. This was bungled badly,” snarked the conservative Republican representative…
No, wait, sorry, that was Obama’s former press secretary, Robert Gibbs. Hang on, I’ve got Fleming’s statement here somewhere… ah, here we go!
“Had investors launching a private company devoted even a fraction of the time and treasure that’s been spent on Obamacare, people would have been fired by now,” said Rep. Fleming. “Taxpayers should not have to tolerate this kind of waste and incompetence from Washington. Secretary Sebelius has been a governor and a state insurance commissioner; she must know better. She was warned repeatedly by all of us who called for a one-year delay of Obamacare’s implementation and taxes to prevent this chaos. Now, it’s time for her to resign or be fired.”
But the out-of-touch Administration will never take that degree of responsibility for what it’s done, or concede that margin of error, and nobody in the current Beltway media culture expects them to. Everyone involved in the years of ObamaCare disaster that lie ahead will proceed in the secure knowledge that no level of failure is fatal. As Ann Coulter emphasized in her new book, it’s a mistake to give control of your life to people who can never, ever be fired. That’s certainly not the world “ordinary people” live in, but we are now ruled from an entirely different world – one where revenue doesn’t have to cover expenses, hard times do not require sacrifice, and failure is more of an opportunity than a drawback.
The Heritage Foundation has been collecting more personal accounts from the unlucky souls who managed to penetrate the storm of computer errors and discover how much their ObamaCare plans will cost:
Ross, a married father of three small boys in Florida, tells us his insurance will be going up $525 per month. “I feel completely helpless,” he says.
Kevin, who also has three small boys, just found out his wife’s individual health insurance premium will be jumping from $79 per month to $311.82 per month.
“For whom exactly is the Affordable Care Act making care affordable?” asked Kevin, who lives in Alabama.
That’s an excellent question. The Miami Herald spent a week trying to find someone, gave up, and declared ObamaCare enrollees had gained the status of “urban legends.” The one case everybody in the media went gaga over last week turned out to be as fraudulent as a Bigfoot photo. After years of preparation and mind-boggling expense, ObamaCare’s happy beneficiaries are as scarce as unicorns? There are still states reporting zero ObamaCare enrollment at two weeks and counting? The Administration adamantly refuses to disclose the numbers? Sounds pretty out-of-touch to me.
Tales of deductible shock are piling up, as the people who get past those agonizing ObamaCare premiums discover they’ll have to sell their cars to cover the out-of-pocket costs if they ever dare to use their “benefits.” The Washington Examiner reports plans with “$12,600 deductibles, co-pays of up to 40 percent, zero competition, and rate hikes of 260 percent.”
The Chicago Tribune discovered that “21 of the 22 lowest-priced plans offered on the Illinois health insurance exchange for Cook County have annual deductibles of more than $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for family coverage.” And that’s for the expensive plans. The cheaper plans have deductibles of over $12,000. How out-of-touch do Barack Obama and his band of statist comedians have to be, if they expect ordinary people to pay that? Why, it was just a couple of years ago that Obama swore his plan would reduce most people’s insurance premiums, by over $2000 a year. Either he lied shamelessly, or he didn’t know what he was talking about, because he has no idea how average working Americans live their lives. Which explanation do you prefer, Obama apologists?
While Obama fans are pondering that question, might we ask them for some advice in dealing with these jacked-up health insurance costs? Oh, look, here’s some from the Tribunes of the People at the Kaiser Family Foundation, courtesy of SFGate: work less and lower your income. That way, you’ll have a better chance of getting on Obama’s new middle-class welfare program.
People whose 2014 income will be a little too high to get subsidized health insurance from Covered California next year should start thinking now about ways to lower it to increase their odds of getting the valuable tax subsidy.
“If they can adjust (their income), they should,” says Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation. “It’s not cheating, it’s allowed.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, if your 2014 income is between 138 and 400 percent of poverty level for your household size, you can purchase health insurance on a state-run exchange (such as Covered California) and receive a federal tax subsidy to offset all or part of your premium.
If your income falls below 138 percent of poverty, you qualify for Medicaid, which provides no-cost health care to low-income people. In California, it’s called Medi-Cal.
If your income is higher than 400 percent of poverty, you can purchase a policy on or off the exchange, but in either case, you won’t get a subsidy and the policy must provide certain essential benefits that many low-cost individual policies lack today, such as maternity care.
And you’ll be compelled by law to purchase those mandated “essential benefits,” even if you don’t think they’re essential, because your opinion no longer matters. But really, it’s better to get your income down a bit, so you can soak the taxpayers for a nice fat subsidy.
As Avik Roy noted at Forbes, those subsidies are a big part of the reason Healthare.gov is such an unholy.disaster. The system was designed to obscure the true cost of health insurance, so the rubes don’t panic when they manage to get logged in:
A growing consensus of IT experts, outside and inside the government, have figured out a principal reason why the website for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange is crashing. Healthcare.gov forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping. This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away.
“Healthcare.gov was initially going to include an option to browse before registering,” report Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal. “But that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said.” Why was it delayed? “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.” (Emphasis added.)
That’s got to be the purest expression of socialist principle since the Soviet Union threw in the towel. Nobody is allowed to know what anything actually costs. It’s all hidden beneath the great formless blanket of general taxation. Never mind the true price, citizen – here’s what we expect you to pay, and to hell with everyone else.
What’s funny is that this system was dreamed up by people who expound on the Romper Room view of government as “the only thing we all do together,” and castigate those who want to keep their own earnings as “greedy.” But if you’re able to get past the login screen of FiascoCare and create an account, please don’t spare a second thought for the fellow citizens you’ll be looting to obtain subsidies for the overpriced health care plans that will bankrupt you with deductibles if you get sick.
This whole mess couldn’t be more out-of-touch with American life, or the principles of American constitutional government, if it had been designed by space aliens.