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More ObamaCare rate shock awaits… after the elections, of course

We’re going to spend the next few years watching ObamaCare defenders lug the goal posts around, claiming that anything better than the worst of worst-case scenarios counts as success.

Democrats’ strategy for keeping their ObamaCare losses to a minimum in the 2014 elections is a combination of denial and obfuscation.  The “denial” part consists of loudly insisting that nobody is complaining about ObamaCare any more, so it must not be that big of a political liability for them.  The fact that people across the country are complaining about ObamaCare is irrelevant; this is a Jedi mind trick, not a reasoned argument.

As for the obfuscation part, well, that’s simple: the Administration contrived to keep 2015 insurance premiums under wraps until after the election.  The new and improved HealthCareDotGov is supposed to be able to handle open enrollment a lot better than the crash-tastic nightmare dumped on the American people last year.  (You’ve forgotten about that, right, voters?  The Democrat Party certainly hopes so.)  Alas, there wasn’t time to load the new premium schedule into the website before the 2014 elections, because of sunspot activity, or zombies, or maybe it was a gypsy curse.  Anyway, you’ll just have to wait until after you’ve voted to receive your delightful ObamaCare surprise.

By the way, can I ask a question about the finances of HealthCareDotGov?  The biggest disaster in the history of the Internet cost a billion dollars to create, and another billion dollars to fix.  Those who complained about these costs were told to stop worry about how the Department of Health and Human Services spends every last dollar – there was plenty of cash to pay for all this, no problem, and only a lemon-sucking, green-eyeshade-wearing Republican sourpuss would carp about the price tag.  But now the same Department of Health and Human Services claims it doesn’t have enough money to deal with the Ebola crisis. Isn’t it fair to say that the disastrous launch of the ObamaCare website gobbled up all our Ebola money?  Too bad nobody was responsible for managing that project and making sure it came in under budget, huh?

You’ll want to make sure your budget has plenty of room for higher insurance premiums, as the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal notes that increasing costs are one of the lessons to take away from the first year of ObamaCare:

Health costs jumped??big time. Huge increases in deductibles in policies sold through the exchanges were a big story in Florida, Illinois and elsewhere. While the average annual deductible for employer-based coverage was a little over $1,000, the exchange deductibles nationwide normally topped $2,000.

Notwithstanding President Obama??s specific promise to lower the typical family premium cost by $2,500 annually, premium costs actually increased.D2014 data for the ??individual market? shows that the average annual premiums for single and family coverage rose in the overwhelming majority of state and federal health-insurance exchanges all around the country. In eleven states, premiums for twenty-seven-year-olds have more than doubled since 2013; in thirteen states, premiums for fifty-year-olds have increased more than 50 percent.

For the ??group market,? the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated on February 21, 2014, that 65 percent of small firms would experience premium-rate increases, while only 35 percent were expected to have reductions. In terms of people affected, CMS estimated 11 million Americans employed by these firms would experience premium-rate increases, while about 6 million would see reductions. So much for ??bending the cost curve down.?

I don’t see how anyone can honestly claim ObamaCare has been anything resembling a success, given that its performance has been so far beneath what we were promised when the Affordable Care Act was passed.  I can see how dishonest political hacks need to make that case, of course, but no objective observe can compare the original projections of cost and benefit with the outcome and conclude this thing’s working the way it was supposed to.  President Obama’s Big Lie about “keeping your plan if you like your plan” wasn’t just a little pillow talk to keep the suckers in line while the bill got rammed through Congress; it was an important operational parameter of ObamaCare that cuts to the very conceptual heart of the program.  People were told that participation would be optional – if you preferred your old plan, you could keep it.  The President assured us his scheme would work so beautifully that you wouldn’t want to keep your old plan – he explicitly said such things during the dozens of appearances where he repeated the Big Lie.

Well, it doesn’t work so beautifully that people would voluntarily give up their old coverage to have ACA plans instead.  We were also explicitly promised that premiums would go down, across the board.  Instead, they went down a bit in some places, but way up in many others.  Obama never gave a speech where he said, “I’m afraid many of you will experience massive premium hikes that eat hundreds of dollars out of your paychecks, but this is necessary so that some other folks can enjoy the lower premiums I believe they deserve.”

Frantic efforts are being made by spin doctors to cushion the blow of these premium hikes, including a popular line of B.S. that claims those premiums were going up anyway, even without the Affordable Care Act.  I would remind anyone peddling that spin, once again, that President Obama explicitly promised rates would be reduced – he even coined a phrase for it, “bending the cost curve down.”  There’s a demographic angle, too: a lot of people who would normally expect affordable insurance, because they’re young and healthy, are getting saddled with particularly egregious rate hikes, as part of ObamaCare’s “soak the healthy” redistribution scheme.  That’s both unfair to the revenue targets, and contrary to what they were promised.

I doubt the news for next year is looking good, or else it wouldn’t be hidden until after the election.  We’re going to spend the next few years watching ObamaCare defenders lug the goal posts around, claiming that anything better than the worst of worst-case scenarios counts as success.  The American people should never let themselves be buffaloed out of remembering the original promises of the program – you know, the terms you’d be able to sue a private company into oblivion for violating, if this wasn’t a government boondoggle.  Above all else, don’t let them trick you into thinking ObamaCare is the best America can do.  In every area – from price, to performance, to compatibility with the American constitutional order – there are superior alternatives.  Don’t let anyone beat your standards down low enough to make ObamaCare seem acceptable.

Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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