Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 17, 2013

Obamacare has been successful only in its ability to create chaos


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Many people who have influence with President Barack Obama have gotten relief from the terrors of the Affordable Care Act we now know as Obamacare, but the great majority of the American people are still expected to follow the dictates of the health care “reform” law next month.

The administration’s announcement July 2 delaying the employer mandate was the first in a series of goodies provided to favored constituencies. And, about 20 percent of waivers went to gourmet restaurants, nightclubs and fancy hotels in Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif., district.

But as maddening as this discrimination is to us common folk, exempting members of Congress and their staffs is far worse.

Under heavy pressure from Democrat leaders, Mr. Obama agreed to ignore the terms of the law that he pushed so hard for and now requires taxpayers to subsidize coverage for representatives, senators and their employees to lessen the financial burden of Obamacare.

What a hardship these taxpayer-supported elected officials and employees suffer: The office of Personnel Management reported that as of September 2012, the average salary for a full-time, permanent, non-seasonal government position was $78,467, and rank and file members of Congress make $174,000. The average American in the private sector makes less than $50,000.

It is possible for others to receive subsidies, too, and the key is income level. But, typical of this law’s rampant failures, there is no mandate to verify eligibility for a subsidy, virtually guaranteeing extensive fraud, and an additional expense burden on taxpayers.

Only about 36 percent of Americans have a positive opinion of the law, and now even Mr. Obama’s strong union supporters are calling for repeal or major repair of this debacle because it is decimating the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of unionized labor.

Throughout the debate over Obamacare, a major claim was that it would cover the 30 million people that at the time did not have some sort of health insurance, ignoring the fact that a significant number chose not to have insurance. However, the Congressional Budget Office says that over the next decade there will never be a point where the number of Americans who remain uninsured will drop below 30 million. In other words, the main reason for ramming Obamacare down the throats of 270 million people who were happy with their health insurance is a falsehood.

Other of the President’s promises also have been broken:

Promise: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”

Truth: As many as 30 percent of employers will stop providing their existing health care coverage, while many are reducing employee hours below the 30-hour week, full-time level, or are trimming total employees to fewer than 50 to escape the crushing costs imposed by Obamacare.

Promise: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.”

Truth: We now know that health care reform will cost a trillion dollars.

Promise: “I will protect Medicare.”

Truth: Obamacare ends Medicare as we know it by imposing, among other things, severe reimbursement cuts that threaten access to care for seniors.

Promise: “I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

Truth: There are at least 12 ways that Obamacare will increase premiums instead of reducing health care costs.

Promise: “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.”

Truth: Obamacare includes tons of new taxes and tax hikes. One that began this year is the 2.3 percent excise tax on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices that will raise $20 billion by 2019.

It’s not that Barack Obama deliberately misleads; it’s just that so much of what he says isn’t true.

Few people now defend Obamacare besides the congressional Democrats who participated in the dishonorable process of throwing it together, voting for a 2,700-page bill they had never read, and which had zero bi-partisan support.

Many believe that Barack Obama never really cared what was in the Affordable Care Act or if it ever makes it to implementation, and in fact wants it to fail miserably. And that’s because once it becomes law, replaces the prior system, and causes mass chaos, the stage would be set to move to a single payer, government health care system as the only way to fix the resulting mess.

In his world view, socialistic/communistic systems are the solution to all the country’s problems, and that is how he wants to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.”

The best thing for the country is to repeal Obamacare and begin again to make the several relatively minor adjustments to the current system that should have been done several years ago. Short of that, delay implementation for everyone until the numerous problems can be addressed and repaired.

Neither is likely to happen, of course, because too many people can’t admit they made a mistake, or they truly want government controlled health care.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist.