Published on TheHill.com on March 19, 2013
It’s worth remembering that President Obama decided not to let his new ObamaCare scheme take effect until 2014. At the time of its passage in 2010, it seemed politically wise to delay its implementation. Republicans won the election of 2010 and lost that of 2012. But the full impact of the new law will begin to become apparent in 2014 and the effect will be horrific, deeply damaging the Obama administration and the Democrats who backed it.
The main brunt of the impact will be on premiums for health insurance coverage. They will skyrocket in very short order. The Heritage Foundation estimates the increases by state. Here’s a sample:
State / Premiums Rise By Percentage
California / 42-69%
Florida / 61%
Georgia / 61-100%
Illinois / 61%
Michigan / 35-63%
New Jersey / 39%
North Carolina / 61%
Ohio / 55-106%
Pennsylvania / 39%
Texas / 35-63%
Virginia / 75-82%
Why such draconian increases? Heritage ascribes it to two provisions of the new law.
The first restricts health insurers from charging any one age group more than three times the premium it charges any other one. This 3-1 ratio — typically between the older, non-Medicare portion of the covered population and the young group — is the brain child of the social planners. The actual figure is about 5-1 — it costs about five times as much to insure older patients than younger ones. Because, obviously, companies are not going to cut the premiums for the older patients, they will increase them for the younger ones so they can meet the 3-1 ratio. That means big increases for younger families.
The second provision that pushes up premiums is the tendency of the new law to kill its customers with kindness by requiring all manner of illnesses and treatments to be covered, and covered generously. Mental health, dental care and such are all required in any policy. And the law restricts any effort by insurance companies to limit the utilization of these services. So the premiums will rise for everybody.
The result of this premium inflation will be that more and more employers will refuse to continue to cover their workers and will find it far cheaper to pay the penalties in the law than to underwrite the vastly more expensive policies. Tens of millions of Americans will lose their insurance and have to buy coverage from the insurance exchanges Obama is creating — at a multiple of their current premium’s cost. The ObamaCare subsidies are limited and will not begin to make up for the increased costs. And, to make matters worse, employers will be obliged to pay an annual $65 tax per employee to subsidize catastrophic coverage for the most expensive patients.
Obama’s real goal, of course, is to destroy employment-related insurance and force everyone into the insurance exchanges. This will lay the basis for single-payer, government-funded, socialized medicine in the United States: his stated goal.
The political consequences of these premium increases are going to be horrific. Voters will realize how fraudulent Obama was in predicting average premium cuts of $2,500 per family. And the full dimensions of this misguided law will become apparent.
The result will be a gradual and continuing erosion of Obama’s favorability until he gets his clock cleaned in the 2014 election. Normally, of course, sixth year-elections are a total wipeout for the incumbent party. FDR lost a hundred seats in the House in 1938. Truman lost control of Congress in 1946.
Eisenhower lost more than a dozen Senate seats in 1958. Nixon/Ford suffered massive losses in 1974. Reagan lost the Senate in 1988, as did Bush in 2006. Only Clinton, with Republicans self-destructing over impeachment, avoided severe losses. Obama will fall victim to the general trend, but his losses will increase as the economy fails to recover and health insurance becomes unaffordable.
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