By Grace-Marie Turner
More than three years since his health-care law was enacted, President Obama continues to focus on its immediately effective, small provisions — 26-year-old “children” getting coverage from their parents, “free” preventive care, and rebates from insurance companies.
But the president didn’t say a word in his Friday-afternoon news conference about the wreckage that is coming when the law begins to take full effect. A few examples:
- The individual mandate is the most despised part of the law, and yet it still is set to go into effect January 1. The president has, by illegal administrative action, delayed the reporting requirements for the employer mandate, thereby protecting businesses for a year. But next year, individuals still will be required to have expensive, government-approved health insurance or pay fines that will grow steeper and steeper. Only 12 percent of Americans think this is a good idea.
- States and by the federal government are preparing to launch health-insurance exchanges, and face enormous challenges in getting these Rube Goldberg contraptions ready to launch on October 1. The exchanges that the federal government will run, wholly or in part, in about 35 states are shrouded in a black box that won’t be opened until just before they are set to begin enrolling applicants. And even Obamacare-friendly states face growing pressures and frustrations in attempting to comply with thousands of pages of regulations while ensuring the exchanges will be open for business less than two months from now.
- There are very serious privacy concerns. Armies of community organizers already are fanning the country to start the process of enrolling people in the law’s subsidized coverage. These “navigators” will be gathering Social Security numbers, home addresses, and family, health, and employment information with no assurances that applicants will be protected from fraud and identity theft.
- The president didn’t mention that he already has closed access to the pre-existing condition plans his administration opened with much fanfare in 2010. The plans are over budget, and new applicants with legitimate difficulty accessing coverage and care now are blocked from enrolling in thesee high-risk plans. The president could order Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to spend money from her slush fund to keep them open, but he’s choosing instead to spend that money — hundreds of millions of dollars — on advertising for Obamacare.
- And those $100 rebates the president brags about? They are more than canceled out by the $350 in added costs from the new health-insurance taxes that increase premiums for virtually everyone.
The list of the policy, logistical, and political problems with the law could go on and on.
But in very short order, the American people will have a chance to learn about the problems firsthand.
Posted on National Review Online August 12, 2013