When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said that she had to pass Obamacare through Congress so that we could find out what was in it, Americans were given a preview of what they are seeing now — a profusion of legislative errors and broken promises related to President Obama’s virtual government takeover of health care. Just this month, we have seen another tranche of bad Obamacare news.
Last week, Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, acknowledged that — as Obamacare’s critics have contended all along — the bill will prompt many employers to drop their health plans. “Most small businesses are not going to be in the health insurance business anymore after this thing goes into effect,” he said. Dean, of course, spun this as a cost reduction for business. But in fact it undercuts two key promises Obama made in order to pass his bill. First, if you like your health coverage, you probably won’t be able to keep it. Second, millions of Americans will be dumped by their employers into subsidized insurance exchanges, which means that Obamacare will add significantly to the deficit.
Then again, thanks to a glaring but heretofore unnoticed flaw in the bill’s language, Obamacare might not cost as much as expected because it won’t serve those it was intended to help. Because supporters failed to read their bill before passing it, the letter of the law provides that low-income Americans in many states will not be eligible for the promised subsidies to purchase insurance. This simple technical mistake, reported this month by Investor’s Business Daily, threatens to un-insure millions of those currently insured if they are dumped by employers into federally established insurance exchanges.
Also last week, we learned the true nature of another of Obamacare’s empty promises. One of the key programs that made Obamacare appear deficit-neutral on paper — the CLASS Act — has now been exposed as nothing more than an accounting gimmick. On paper, this old-age care program brought in extra revenue in its early years by charging premiums without paying out benefits until the out years. It thus helped Obamacare’s bottom line temporarily, but obliterated it in the long run. The fact that Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services shelved the program indefinitely exposed the president’s sleight of hand. Obamacare was designed to game the budget referees so that a massive, budget-busting bill could pass under the radar.
Obamacare, like most large-scale government schemes, has proven to be one man’s dream and most Americans’ nightmare. Obama has not yet paid the full political price for its passage, but Americans will pay even more dearly if the courts leave it in force.