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home : opinions : commentary May 1, 2016

12/24/2012 1:07:00 PM
Commentary: Get ready for the costs and chaos of Obamacare
Byron York

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was widely mocked when she said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

At the time, March 2010, Pelosi’s words accurately described the Democrats’ just-get-it-done approach to passing a national health care bill. But now it turns out Pelosi was wrong. In fact, we have to implement Obamacare so that you can find out what is in it.

Amid the other momentous events coming in 2013 -- bitter fights over federal spending, debt, entitlements and immigration -- the biggest story of the year, and of 2014 as well, will be the arrival of Obamacare in the lives of every American.

For millions of people, Obamacare will mean, alone or in some combination: higher insurance bills, unwanted changes in status at work, higher taxes, loss of employer-based health insurance and a bewildering bureaucracy that will make today’s already complex insurance maze seem downright simple.

Whether Obamacare’s benefits will outweigh the chaos it produces could decide the future of the program.

Start with higher insurance bills. “The big unwritten story is that for people who already have insurance through the individual market, or small companies that are buying products in the state-regulated small group market -- those current policies are going to see premium increases on the order of 25 percent to 30 percent come Jan. 1, 2014,” says James Capretta, a health care expert and close student of Obamacare at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. “They are going to have a rate shock like you wouldn’t believe.”

The reason is that those people are generally younger and healthier and are able to get lower rates. Under Obamacare, they will be combined with older and less healthy people who cost more to insure. Capretta says about 30 million people will see a steep increase -- a population big enough to make a lot of political noise.

Then there is the change in work status. Under Obamacare, companies don’t have to insure, or pay fines for not insuring, employees who work less than 30 hours a week. So it’s no surprise that many companies are going to make sure their part-time workers, and some current full-time workers, stay below the 30-hour limit. That will mean less work and less pay for those employees.

Then there are the unexpected costs. This week, the Department of Health and Human Services revealed it will charge employer and individual plans a $63 “fee” for every person they cover. The Obama administration says the fee will be temporary, but it could touch about 190 million Americans at least for the next few years.

Then there are higher taxes. Apart from the “fiscal cliff” debate over whether to raise taxes on higher earners is the fact that Obamacare will, in fact, raise taxes on those same higher earners. On Jan. 1, the top brackets will face higher Medicare taxes plus a substantial tax increase on their investment income.

But it’s not just the higher earners. An estimated 10 million tax filers take a deduction for unusually high medical expenses. Under Obamacare, that deduction will be limited, meaning they will pay more. Most of them fall far below the administration’s definition of “wealthy.”

There are also new taxes on business. Recently, several Democratic senators -- all of whom voted for Obamacare -- asked that one of its funding mechanisms, a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices, be postponed. Sounding remarkably like a Republican, Sen. Al Franken, whose home state of Minnesota is headquarters of device-maker Medtronic, called it a “job-killing tax.”

Then there is the loss of employer-based insurance. Obamacare is designed to kill employer-based insurance by making it attractive for employers to dump workers into exchanges, which may or may not be ready in time. (Nearly two dozen states have refused to set up exchanges on their own, which will force the federal government to do it for them.) “I think companies will wait and see how the exchanges play out,” says Capretta. “But within a year or two, there will be some serious looking to see if there is an opportunity to offload some costs.”

Finally, there is Medicaid. Much of Obamacare is based on adding millions of Americans to that program for the poor. But the Supreme Court decision upholding the health care law also ruled that states, which pay for part of Medicaid, don’t have to go along. Some states have already said they won’t, which could lead to enormous controversy and expensive solutions as the administration struggles to provide coverage to those affected.

Together, all of this could equal one big mess. And if it is a big enough mess, it could have a significant, and decidedly negative, political effect on the Democrats who passed Obamacare and who will now put it into practice.

(Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.)

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: M J

Re: pf
Hey for someone rooted in the potato row .... you gotta lot of nerve
I see that you too can tap dance along with j bond ... barry, bond, and pf ... some chorus line ... da da daaaa da da da daaaaaa

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Name Callers

As for John Bond. He is a typical liberal nut who does not a have an intelligent argument so resorts to name calling. Not far from the the DNC platform if you think about it.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Mr. Bond Go For It

Say.. why don't you run for president? If you did, all of our nations problems would be solved! You would fit right in with all the other chimps and pet rocks that hold a seat in congress!

Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: Derailed Again

John Bond, MJ et al....the topic was national health care. Off you guys went on political rants about individuals and racism which have nothing to do with the article. When you rant, can you please rant about the topic and not your favorite topic of the day? Seems like you folks twist every editorial into an opportunity to discuss past presidents, racism, extremism in point of view etc.
Getting to where reading these comments no longer is an eye into my community...only a rant by a very select few.

Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond


Thank you for your response to Nutsso. You said it every so more succinctly and powerfully than I did.

Thank you.

Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond

@ Re, John Bond

As a matter of fact I was dropped on my head while a child and hit on the head with several rocks, too.

I have epilepsy. You may find that amusing, I do not.

I will defend to my death to disagree with me, but I will not accept your premise.

I reiterate neither Ronald Reagan nor Bush II, is the POTUS any longer.

I do not refer to anyone formerly a public servant by their public title. I do not care if it is the former POTUS, a governor, a County Supervisor or a Mayor, etc..

I refer Bill Clinton as Bill Clinton except when I characterize his presidency as him being a DINO.

One more time, Bush II, is a war criminal. He is a self-acknowledged war criminal. He authorized the torture of "enemy combatants" [a nice euphemism for prisoners of war].

He lied to the US Congress and the American people about Iraq possessing WMD's and his claim that Iraq represented an existential threat to America was a complete lie.

He is a mass murderer responsiblity for the death of over 1 million [with an M] Iraqi men, women and children.

You may feel it appropriate to refer to Mr. Bush as President Bush, that is your right. It is my right not do so.

As for Ronald Reagan, he was a fascist. His infamous Reagan Revolution was fascist. The economic "theory" that bears his name "reaganomics" is fascist, too

I do not respect fascism or fascists. Period. I have no intention of referring to either one of them by their official public titles.

Both men are completely undeserving of my respect and fully deserving of my contempt.

Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: For nutso

George W. Bush = white person.

A "Bush' = a shrub. No racial disrespect. Kinda funny in a high-schoolish sorta way.

"Junior" = a son. No racial disrespect. Not even humorous. I know many 'juniors," and have a brother that is one.

"Dim son" = a not-too-bright offspring. George W. was noted for things he said that were stupid and therefore, could fairly be described thus. No racial disrespect, just an opinion on a person's perceived intelligence.

Obama = African American (black). 'Chimp' is a moniker used by many to insultingly categorize blacks. (Frazier hated Ali for Ali calling Joe a 'gorilla" before the thrilla in Manila fight).

Referring to a black as a 'chimp is nothing but racist.


Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: Fun question for folks here:

What do you think the IQ is of a person who repeatedly types, and I quote from several posts from the VI Letters:

"Hahahahahahahahahaha-hahaha," or this acerbic bit of wit, "Hahahahahahahaha-hahahhaha," or this jewel of logic, "huhhhhhhhh," or this demonstration of original thinking, all from one letter, "HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa...HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa...HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa?"

I could provide more quotes but they become redundant and I believe this person is plagiarizing.

I'll go first: an IQ just above that of a raw, immature turnip.


Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Mr. Bond, in this case racism is a joke, as well it should be. Only then will it cease to be a reason for hatred.

Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: Re John Bond, Give Me A Break!

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses! Just more verbal diarrhea from the wannabe Verde Valley prophet. As I sit here thinking if your parents might have dropped you on your head when you were young, I laugh at your liberal rants, but only out of pity for your way of thinking. I bet you address the impeached adulterer Bill Clinton as president, don't you?

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Article comment by: M J

Re: J. Bond
WOW ... that's some tap dancing you put on there for Nutso.

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond

@ Nutsso Fasst:

No! It would NOT be appropriate given that our current POTUS is Afro-American and the use of the word "chimp" has racists connotations of which you are perfectly well aware.

You believe by putting your comment in the form of a question you have cleverly managed to express a clearly racist image of our POTUS without having to accept responsibility for your deliberate use of racist terminology.

You are wrong.

Racism is a pernicious evil.

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond

@ Give me a break:

George W. Bush, Bush II, the war criminal, is no longer POTUS.

I do not know about YOU, but after a politician leaves office I no longer refer to them by their public title.

After leaving office, they are no long "public servants" and therefore no longer entitled to such designation by me.

Furthermore, Bush II, is a self-avowed war criminal. He admitted on national television during and interview that he "authorized torture" of enemy combats, [declaring that he had been given "legal advice" that it is okay to do so.

Now, he left out that HE solicited that advice from John Yoo, who worked for him and understood HIS job was to give "legal cover" [or as politicians like to call it, "plausable deniabliity"] for Bush's decision to authorize torture in contravention of US and International law.

Moreover, he LIED to the US congress and the American people about Iraq having WMD's to get an authorization from congress to initiate a war with Iraq.

The CIA and the NSA both told Bush II, the war criminal, that Iraq had NO WMD's and had been so weakened by 10+ years of sanctions that Iraq posed NO existential threat to America.

He is a self-avowed war criminal AND a private citizen who under US and International law should be imprisoned for war crimes. Period.

If YOU think I have any intention of expressing any respect for a war criminal and mass murderer [over 1 million Iraqi men, women [many pregnant] and children [the truly innocent victims of war], YOU are very much mistaken.

I offer NO apology for accurately characterizing Bush II, as a war criminal and there is nothing hypocritical in my position.

Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012
Article comment by: nutso fasst

@ Mr. Bond:

Every disrespected president has disrespectful nicknames. G.W. Bush was called 'Chimp', 'Shrub', 'Junior', 'Dim Son', and other disrespectful names by those who felt his actions as president were hurtful to the nation. It is racist to say such names can't be applied to a president because of his genetic makeup. If I believe our current president is just as much a totalitarian corporate flunky as 'Chimp', would it not be fair to refer to him as 'Chimp II'?

Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012
Article comment by: Danny Smith

No John we can't agree on anything . As far as racism is concerned you seem to be obsessed with the problems "white" people cause we can safely assume who the real racist is, and yes racism is evil.

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