The predictable hits just keep on coming as the Obamacare clock ticks down toward full implementation. Liberals have shifted gears from arguing the law will lower costs and reduce premiums for everyone -- which is how the unpopular overhaul was dishonestly marketed -- to shrugging that hey, at least many uninsured and lower-income citizens will get affordable coverage. But even that's not universally true, as many American workers are about to painfully discover. Behold, the "Affordable" Care Act in action (via the Associated Press):
It's called the Affordable Care Act, but President Barack Obama's health care law may turn out to be unaffordable for many low-wage workers, including employees at big chain restaurants, retail stores and hotels. That might seem strange since the law requires medium-sized and large employers to offer "affordable" coverage or face fines. But what's reasonable? Because of a wrinkle in the law, companies can meet their legal obligations by offering policies that would be too expensive for many low-wage workers. For the employee, it's like a mirage — attractive but out of reach. The company can get off the hook, say corporate consultants and policy experts, but the employee could still face a federal requirement to get health insurance. Many are expected to remain uninsured, possibly risking fines. That's due to another provision: the law says workers with an offer of "affordable" workplace coverage aren't entitled to new tax credits for private insurance, which could be a better deal for those on the lower rungs of the middle class. Some supporters of the law are disappointed. It smacks of today's Catch-22 insurance rules.
They're "disappointed," and are already mobilizing to pin their own mess on insurance companies. Their solution, of course, will be to forge ahead to a fully government-run single payer system -- which has been the objective from word one. They'll ask Americans to forgive them for producing a disastrous, unworkable federal power-grab, insisting that it can only be fixed by even bigger government. No thanks. The AP story above shines the spotlight on a gaping loophole in Obamacare. Basically, major employers of low-wage workers can technically satisfy the law's requirement that they offer "affordable" coverage to full-time employees, even if the new rates aren't actually affordable in reality. Unable to pay the premiums being offered by their employers, and ineligible for taxpayer subsidies to obtain coverage on their own (because they're "choosing" not to accept their "affordable" employer options), many of these workers will determine they have no choice but to remain uninsured -- and will pay the anti-middle class Obamacare mandate tax for the privilege of doing so. What a deal. Guess who's heading for the exits as this monstrosity looms? Ta-da:
Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting. The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive...If the issue isn’t resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues — like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform. The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy. Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they’ll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant.
The heart bleeds. Actually, it does -- for those lawmakers and staffers who fought tooth and nail against the law that now threatens to destroy their insurance arrangements. For those on the other side of the aisle, which is completely and exclusively responsible for the law, tough. What happened to "if you like your plan, you can keep it," guys? I'll leave you with news accounts of premium shocks, reduced hours, and coverage gaps in Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. Expect more fun over the next few months. Two questions: (1) Will these numbers actually decline? (2) Still eager to "own it," Democrats?