Believe it or not, Obamacare turns six months old today, and the Administration has chosen to commemorate the occasion by launching a few of its new mandates. According to a White House website, beginning today, the federal government:
- Bans discrimination against kids with pre-existing conditions.
- Allows young adults to remain on their parents’ plan until their 26th birthday.
- Prohibits insurance companies from cutting off your coverage when you’re sick if you made a mistake on your application.
- Prohibits insurance companies from putting a lifetime limit on the amount of coverage you may receive, and restricts the use of annual limits until they are banned completely in 2014.
While these provisions may sound appealing at first glance, that intrigue is short-lived when you dive beneath the surface and discover the law’s true ramifications. The Heritage Foundation has a great piece out today on the specific groups that have been hardest hit by Obamacare…already.
Employers: Heritage reiterates the damage of health care “reform” to small businesses, primarily in the form of a half of trillion dollars in new taxes and additional burdensome regulations. Hardly a recipe for economic recovery.
Doctors: Aside from “gaming the system” by “pretending to cut doctor Medicare reimbursement by 23%,” Obamacare will make it near impossible for doctors to establish their own hospitals and slaps them with "thousands of hours of new reporting requirements." Given the vast number of new mandates and massive Medicaid expansion, recent studies show Obamacare will be 300,000 nurses and 100,000 doctors short of what is needed by 2020. Scary.
Consumers: If you like it, you CAN’T keep it. I have written quite a few blog posts on this topic, but I’ll review. By eliminating caps on coverage, it could force insurance companies to significantly raise costs or eliminate niche markets, like mini-med plans, altogether. That would be detrimental to many low-wage workers (who rely on these low-cost plans) since insurance exchanges and tax credits will not be available until 2014. Furthermore, your health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are in grave danger of becoming extinct. According to Heritage, “Obamacare’s regulations are likely to incentivize employers to dump 35 million Americans out of their current health care plan.”
States: By 2017, taxpayers will foot the bill for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, leading many states to an even more dismal budget crisis. Enough said.
Seniors: The President’s Medicare Actuary projects that payment reductions to hospitals, home health agencies, and nursing homes could potentially hinder access to care for older Americans. Not to mention, Medicare Advantage enrollment is expected to drop from 14.8 to 7.4 million. Heritage has a separate post that further outlines the exorbitant cuts to Medicare Advantage.
Thank you, Heritage, for your unfailing ability to bring many of these specifics to light. After all, the devil is in the details, right? Happy Six Month Anniversary, Obamacare. Let’s hope we’re six months closer to repealing you.