The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Obamacare fallout

Practically nothing about Obamacare is turning out to be what President Obama said it would be. The Medicaid expansion is proving unattractive for a number of governors. Some of these (and others who are buying into the Medicaid expansion) won’t set up the exchanges. The medical device tax is now recognized as anti-technology and anti-jobs. The new taxes and mammoth regulations may be responsible for the lag in full-time job growth and the uptick in part-time work. Its contraception mandate (even after revision) is facing multiple legal challenges from religious institutions and individual employers claiming that it infringes on their religious liberty.

It isn’t bending the cost-curve downward. Reuters reports:

A new study released on Tuesday by the nonpartisan Society of Actuaries estimates that individual premiums will rise 32 percent on average nationwide within three years, partly as a result of higher risk pools. Changes would vary by state, from an 80 percent hike in Wisconsin to a 14 percent reduction in New York. . . .
But the insurance industry, which is set to gain millions of new customers under the law, is warning of soaring premium costs next year because of new regulations that include the need to offer a broader scale of health benefits than some insurers do now.
That has raised concerns about people with individual policies not subject to subsidies and the potential for cost spillovers into the market for employer-sponsored plans, which according to U.S. Census data, cover about half of U.S. workers.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insists this is not big deal. But Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is already trying to push a change in the central premise of Obamacare — that all plans must include the exorbitantly expensive bells and whistles required by the feds (“an ’employee choice’ policy that would allow some employers to offer a wider range of coverage choices to their workers at reduced rates for 2014”).

And families are getting the short end of the stick:

Millions of Americans will be priced out of health insurance under President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul because of a glitch in the law that adversely affects people with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by their employers, a leading healthcare advocacy group said on Tuesday.
Tax credits are a key component of the law and the White House has said the credits, averaging about $4,000 apiece, will help about 18 million individuals and families pay for health insurance once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, beginning in January 2014.
The tax credits are geared toward low and middle-income Americans who do not have access to affordable health insurance coverage through an employer. The law specifies that employer-sponsored insurance is affordable so long as a worker’s share of the premium does not exceed 9.5 percent of the worker’s household income. In its rule making, or final interpretation of the law, the IRS said affordability should be based strictly on individual coverage costs, however.

In other words, many families will be forced to pay a fine because they can’t get affordable insurance for everyone in their household. The promises of “universal coverage” and “getting to keep the insurance you have” are proving to be illusory.

Democrats and the mainstream media (I repeat myself) were so anxious to dub Obamacare as an “historic bill” and defend it from all challenges that they have, until now, avoided grappling with the monstrous legislation that was poorly conceived. The Democrats who ushered it in should shoulder the blame, and Republicans should highlight these flaws that more than justify halting implementation of a truly misguided statute  and the tens of thousands of accompanying regulations.