Even as the Obamacare rollout limps along, Americans are already beginning to experience massive sticker shock. So much for “free” health care — that’s the lesson many people are learning the hard way. With the 2014 midterm elections coming up, Democratic senators in red and purple states are going to have a tough time defending their vote for a health-care law that wasn’t ready for prime time.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the lowest-cost “bronze” plan offered on the exchange for a 27-year-old single resident of Little Rock, Ark., will be 512.9 percent higher than the current lowest-cost plan available. Senator Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) has some explaining to do to his fellow Democratic constituents when he gets home.
Senator Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) can sympathize with his dilemma, considering North Carolina residents of the same demographic will see their monthly health-care premiums rise 422.9 percent, adding almost $150 in additional expenses per month.
Rallying voter support around Obamacare was a whole lot easier when the coverage was presumed to be “free” and people were promised they could keep their existing coverage if they liked it. But the rhetorical honeymoon is over, and even the Washington Post fact-checker is giving President Obama four Pinocchios for his broken promises.
The reality is that more than 2 million people have been booted from their old health-insurance plans. The White House knew back in 2010 that up to 93 million Americans would have their existing plans disrupted or canceled entirely under Obamacare. The website www.MyCancellation.com has already begun to collect hundreds of personal notices that individual citizens received from health-care providers notifying them of their plan terminations.
As the exchange dumping (or “transitioning,” depending on whom you’re talking to) continues, red-state Democrats like Mary Landrieu are going to have to explain why a 27-year-old living in Louisiana has to pay an extra $137 a month, an increase of over 106 percent. Landrieu will share the hot seat with other senators up for reelection in toss-up states, such as Mark Begich (D., Ala.), Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), and Mark Warner (D., Va.).
Even the Democrats running to replace retiring senators will be left holding the Obamacare hot potato and forced to explain why individuals and families were led to believe this law would be such a good deal in the first place. For instance, Senator Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) is leaving his office while a 50-year-old adult in his state will be paying an extra $543 per year in the exchange — which actually seems like a steal compared with the extra $2,651 per year that same individual will have to pay in retiring senator Tim Johnson’s home state of South Dakota.
Democrats running to replace Senators Max Baucus (D., Mont.) and Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.) will also be forced to justify hundreds of dollars a year in premium increases for individuals and families.
The government can continue spending millions of dollars on a PR campaign to sell a program of broken promises, but the American people are already recognizing the true costs of Obama’s health-care law. Sooner or later, we’re all going to have to foot the bill and face the consequences.
Democrats will learn that lesson the hard way come November next year, when their excuses will fall on deaf ears and the votes will do the talking.
— Matt Kibbe is the president and CEO of FreedomWorks and author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America (William Morrow 2012). Follow him on Twitter at @MKibbe.