As we debate intervening in Syria, there is a great deal of talk about possible damage to President Obama’s credibility abroad. But at least at home, Obamacare has already left that credibility rather diminished.
Remember when President Obama told Americans that if they liked their current insurance, they could keep it? In fact, just a few weeks ago, he reassured us that “if you’re one of the nearly 85 percent of Americans who already have insurance . . . you don’t have to do a thing.”
Tell that to the 15,000 husbands and wives of UPS workers who are being kicked off their spouse’s policy. Blaming rising costs brought on by Obamacare, the company announced last month that it will no longer provide spousal coverage if the spouse has access to coverage through his or her own employer. So those spouses will still have access to insurance, but it won’t be the policy they have now, even if they liked it and even if it was more affordable.
They are hardly the only ones. The University of Virginia also announced that it was dropping spousal coverage for those with access to other insurance. (And even after that measure, Obamacare will be adding $7.3 million to its health-care costs next year.)
According to the benefits consulting firm Towers Watson, 12 percent of employer plans will not include spousal coverage next year, three times as many as in 2013.
Other companies are also being forced to consider changing or cutting coverage. For example, Universal Studios recently announced that it was dropping coverage for some part-time workers. Similarly, Wegman’s Supermarkets has eliminated its health-insurance plan for part-time employees.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey at least 106,000 people currently insured under what are known as ”basic and essential” health-care plans will likely lose their coverage because those inexpensive plans don’t meet Obamacare’s mandates. Those New Jerseyans will now have to purchase much more expensive insurance; even if subsidies offset some of the cost, they won’t be keeping their current plan.
Or do you recall when the president promised that Obamacare would make our insurance premiums go down, so much so that “for a lot of people, it will be cheaper than your cell-phone bill?” Last week, a study by the influential — and far from right-wing — National Journal concluded that “for the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying.” In fact, even after accounting for the subsidies that many Americans will receive, the study found that most Americans will pay more in premiums for Obamacare plans than they do for their employee plans today.
Individual plans in states that already have Obamacare-like regulations that have distorted their markets, such as New York and New Jersey, won’t see huge increases, and may even see premiums fall somewhat. But in most states, rates will be considerably higher: In Georgia, premiums could rise as much as 198 percent for a 25-year-old and 100 percent for older individuals. In Indiana, they’ll be up as much as 72 percent; Florida, an average hike of 35 percent; South Carolina, as much as 20 percent in the small-group market and 70 percent for individuals.