From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:
The First Four Obamacare Train Wrecks… With Many More to Come
Look, Democrats. You fouled up on Obamacare. You fouled up big time, and time is running out to mitigate the damage.
You said you had to pass the bill in order to see what’s in it. Apparently it was like the Ark of the Covenant.
Yes, this is a train wreck. It’s a train wreck upon another train wreck, upon another train wreck… it’s train wrecks all the way down.
For starters, it’s a fragmentation grenade to the full-time job market. CNBC:
With open enrollment for Obamacare about to begin, small- and medium-sized businesses are not hiring because of uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the law, the CEO of nation’s fifth-largest staffing company said on Monday.
“Companies are really not interested in hiring full-time people. That’s really the issue with Obamacare,” Express Employment Professionals boss Bob Funk told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday.
Funk, a former chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, admitted that this trend is a “boon” for his business, but “not healthy for the country as a whole.”
Secondly, the Wall Street Journal reports that the software doesn’t work. These geniuses have spent oodles of taxpayer money encouraging people to sign up for the exchanges, only to find out the software to run the exchanges isn’t working:
Less than two weeks before the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the federal health overhaul, the government’s software can’t reliably determine how much people need to pay for coverage, according to insurance executives and people familiar with the program.
Government officials and insurers were scrambling to iron out the pricing quirks quickly, according to the people, to avoid alienating the initial wave of consumers.
A failure by consumers to sign up online in the hotly anticipated early days of the “exchanges” is worrisome to insurers, which are counting on enrollees for growth, and to the Obama administration, which made the exchanges a centerpiece of its sweeping health-care legislation.
If not resolved by the Oct. 1 launch date, the problems could affect consumers in 36 states where the federal government is running all or part of the exchanges. About 32 million uninsured people live in those states, but only a fraction of them are expected to sign up in the next year.
Thirdly, it botched coverage for working families. USA Today:
A so-called “family glitch” in the 2010 health care law threatens to cost some families thousands of dollars in health insurance costs and leave up to 500,000 children without coverage, insurance and health care analysts say.
That’s unless Congress fixes the problem, which seems unlikely given the House’s latest move Friday to strip funding from the law, which is also called the Affordable Care Act.
Congress defined “affordable” as 9.5% or less of an employee’s wages, mostly to make sure people did not leave their workplace plans for subsidized coverage through the exchanges. But the “error” was that it only applies to the employee — and not his or her family. So, if an employer offers a woman affordable insurance, but doesn’t provide it for her family, they cannot get subsidized help through the state health exchanges.
That can make a huge difference; the Kaiser Family Foundation said an average plan for an individual is about $5,600, but it goes up to $15,700 for families. Most employers help out with those costs, but not all.
Fourth, Obamacare is so poorly-constructed, it manages to louse up coverage and payments for the working-class employees who actually have good plans and care right now. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Kathleen Sebelius managed to be so astonishingly incompetent in designing, building, and implementing this program, they’ve managed to screw over their most stalwart allies. From the Center for Public Integrity:
Many union workers are in health plans with solid benefits and relatively low copayments and coinsurance obligations. Democrats drafting the law bought the insurance-industry’s argument that Americans need to have more “skin in the game,” meaning they should pay more for care out of their own pockets even if they’re insured.
I’ve talked to union members who have not had a raise in years because of rising health care costs. They’ve been willing to forego wage increases at the bargaining table in exchange for keeping decent health insurance.
Obamacare provides employers with a disincentive to continue to offer health plans that exceed a certain value. Such plans will be subject to a premium tax… Another unintended consequence of the law will mean that many other union workers — especially those in the building trades — will have to pay more for coverage than they do now.
I’ll give you a moment to chuckle at Obama-backing union members finding their health coverage is now all loused up, but it goes to illustrate just how badly this legislative and regulatory monstrosity is going to hit everyone – even the folks it would be most expected to help.
Now, if a plan is so bad that it hurts so many of the Americans it’s supposed to help… why are we implementing it?