Obamacare's Broken Promises

Focused on what President Obama insists is the worst environmental disaster the country has ever seen, many Americans perhaps haven’t noticed the nastiness spewing from Obamacare’s two thousand pages. But the impact of the new healthcare law will be at least as disastrous as that of the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, and even more hazardous to our health.

The Obama administration’s inept handling of the oil leak foreshadows what will happen when hapless government bureaucrats begin administering our healthcare. 

One of Obamacare’s major selling points was that nobody would be forced to change their insurance policies or doctors. “If you like your health care plan,” Obama told the American Medical Association, “you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

But as Obama’s team drafts the regulations for implementing this massive government takeover of the healthcare industry, it’s becoming evident that the president and his supporters misled the American people.

It was recently reported that 1.5 million Americans may lose their health coverage this year due to Obamacare regulations. Now we’re learning that new regulations may force tens of millions to lose their employer-provided healthcare plans.

That’s because, come 2014, the federal government is going to dictate what kind of coverage you must have. We were told that the federal mandates would apply only to policies sold in the new federal healthcare “exchanges.” Polls found that large majorities of Americans (75%) with health insurance were happy with the coverage they have now. So Democrats reassured a nervous public that employer-provided plans would be “grandfathered in” or exempted from the new requirements. But that’s not what the latest draft regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services suggest.

James Gelfand, health policy director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “These rules are extremely strict. Almost no plan is going to be able to maintain grandfathered status.” Here’s why: According to the New York Times, “An employer would also lose its exempt status if it increased co-payments for doctor’s visits to $45, from $30 – a 50 percent increase – while medical inflation was 8 percent.”

So, if an employer attempts to offset the increased costs of health insurance by adjusting the co-payments in the policy, it will likely lose its exemption and be forced to cancel the policy entirely. Where’s the incentive for employers to continue to offer health insurance if they can’t protect their bottom lines? There isn’t any. In fact, Obamacare gives businesses an incentive to drop whatever coverage they do provide, exactly what many conservatives warned it would do.

More than 100 million Americans are insured through their employer. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The law could leave more than half of employers without a grandfathered plan in 2013, the draft estimated. Its worst-case assumption is that 80 percent of small-employers will lose grandfathered rights by 2013.” Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) said the rules are “more proof that you actually can’t keep what you like. Change is coming for a lot of people, whether they want it or not.”

Pro-life and Catholic groups were led to believe that coverage of “preventive services” in health care reform would involve medical services needed to prevent life-threatening diseases like breast cancer not birth control and sterilization. But Senator Barbara Mikulski recently drafted an amendment that allows “additional preventive care and screenings” for women covered for free among the services that health insurers must cover under Obamacare. 

Laurie Rubiner of Planned Parenthood told Politico, “We see this as a tremendous opportunity to get no cost birth control in the bill and ensure that this part of women’s health is covered under preventive health.”

Another promise of Obamacare was that it would be beneficial to young people by allowing millions of young adults who lack coverage to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they turn 26 years old.

But Obamacare will hurt more young people than it will help. That’s because the individual mandate will force healthy young people to buy insurance. Under the new law, young people will bear a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans. In 2014, premiums for young adults who get coverage on the individual market will rise by an average of 17 percent, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.

It is an understatement to say that Obamacare is unpopular. Its supporters believe Americans will warm up to the new law once they learn what’s in it. But the more Americans learn, the more they support its repeal. Which is why the administration recently announced it will spend $125 million on a campaign to sell it to them.

If you’ve found the Obama administration’s handling of the oil crisis troubling—its inability to coordinate private companies and government-run entities, its failure to manage unexpected events and costs, and its inefficiency in streamlining approval processes and regulations, then you’re really going to be disturbed by the coming healthcare disaster. Only this time it’ll be blood, not oil, that’s hemorrhaged as the administration reveals just how out of its depth it is.