July 1, 2013
Obama health care implementation Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

I don’t know if Members of Congress will be hearing about it in town hall gatherings and other meetings back home over the Fourth of July recess, but the rolling thunder of the approaching ObamaCare train can be heard in the distance.  Smart Democrats are beginning to get frantic about the need to suppress the confusion and hide the cost of ObamaCare between now and the 2014 midterm elections.  We are just three months away from the October 1st enrollment start date and so far, nothing about the ObamaCare implementation process should be politically encouraging for Democrats.  In fact, the more people learn about ObamaCare, the more frightened they become.

Right now, small businesses across America are making the final determinations on how to reduce the working hours of their employees so fewer employees qualify for the mandated, employer-provided health insurance.  Employers are also deciding whether it makes more economic sense to pay a fine to the government or pay for healthcare benefits for their employees.  What this means is that hundreds of thousands – and perhaps even millions – of Americans will learn that they are being dismissed from their employer’s healthcare coverage.

The healthcare pink slips will start raining down in late summer and early fall.  This will push people into the healthcare exchanges, where, in some cases, people will be writing health insurance checks for the first time.  And in many cases, people will be facing increased health insurance costs, particularly if they are young and healthy.  The negative effects on personal income and the overall economy will be undeniable.  Sometime next year, before the elections, the penalties associated with not having or providing health insurance will begin to pour in.  Will the fines come in the mail?  Will you be able to appeal?  What happens if someone doesn’t pay?  No one knows.  Or, no one who knows is talking.  The consequences of ObamaCare are being hidden.

Today’s Wall Street Journal article, “Health-insurance costs set for a jolt” hints at the debacle that is to come.  At some point soon, it’s going to be undeniable that ObamaCare is nothing but another federal entitlement, where those who are young and healthy bear the direct cost of subsidizing those who are not.

In midterm elections, those who vote tend to be more engaged voters. In other words, these voters will notice if they have health insurance that is more expensive but offers less coverage than what they had before ObamaCare. Some of the Democrats’ reactions will be predictable, i.e. blaming Bush and blaming Republicans, or for a while, denying the obvious. But that won’t work forever. One of the worst sins you can commit in politics is to say something that’s different from what people can see for themselves. There is no chance that Obamacare will perform as promised and when it doesn’t, voters will be looking for relief.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.
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