Health-care hell horror stories – By George J. Marlin
The following appears in the November 22-28, 2013 issue of the Long Island Business News:
It appears political conservatives like me were right when we warned three years ago that the federal government’s attempt to seize control of one-sixth of the U.S. economy would wreak havoc on the health care industry and hurt a lot of people.
We now know that President Barack Obama’s pledge, “If you like your present health-care policy, you can keep it,” was, as The New York Times gently put it, “an inaccurate promise.”
As for the botched rollout of the Rube Goldberg Obamacare website, the president – who loves big government – blamed it on his bureaucrats. He said they are lousy at executing complicated policy initiatives and awful at creating websites.
Think about it. It took three years and over a half-billion dollars squandered before the bureaucrat-in-chief and his top advisers realized their Internet engineers were not up to the job.
What Obama seems to miss is that, by definition, the only people who manage government programs are bureaucrats. By conceding that bureaucrats are incompetent at running government programs, he’s implicitly affirming that the Affordable Health Care Act is condemned to failure because they are the only people available to run it.
Another great lie circulated in recent weeks by Obama apologists has been that the millions of canceled individual policies were “junk” ones that only covered catastrophic medical cases.
A friend of mine, a single mother of two children, showed me her cancelation letter, which stated that her carrier was “exiting the individual major medical insurance market in Pennsylvania” due to “increased regulation since the federal government’s passage of its recent federal health-care reform … As such your referenced coverage will terminate as of March 31, 2014.”
This person’s policy was not junk. It had a $600 family deductible and $20 co-pay for doctor visits as well as catastrophic coverage. Comparable coverage on the exchange will cost her about the same, but the deductible skyrockets to $5,000 annually. A visit to the local general practitioner will no longer cost $20 but about $150.
Many, like my friend, will not be able to afford such costly visits on a regular basis. Hence, general-practitioner practices will suffer and preventive medical care will decline.
There will be plenty more horror stories, particularly when small businesses get their renewal options. I can speak with authority because I run a small company that employs fewer than 50 people, and it’s being adversely impacted by Obamacare.
For 15 years, it’s been my company’s practice to provide no-deductible Cadillac-level health care at no cost to our employees. But with insurance consultants telling me to expect renewal premiums for Cadillac coverage to go up 50 percent to 100 percent, that practice may have to change. Thanks to Obamacare, my colleagues and I will likely have to dig deep into our pockets annually to maintain the policy we like.
Last week, fearing a political backlash from his own party, the president announced that many individuals may keep the health-care plans they like for another year. Obama’s instant fix, however, may create even more chaos in the marketplace if state insurance commissioners and carriers determine it’s impossible to overturn three years of planning and programming to reinstate cancelled policies within 30 days.
The Affordable Health Care Act is collapsing under its own weight, and all the president’s bureaucrats will not be able to put it back together again. Come next November, I expect millions of Americans – whose lives have been disrupted by intrusive Washington social engineers – will register their anger at the polls by punishing the culprits who swore “big brother” knows what’s best for them.