Guy Benson

The administration's "it's only five percent" dropped coverage, damage control talking points are as tone deaf and ineffective as they are factually false. Andy McCarthy lays the mendacity bare:


Even this 5 percent figure is a deception. As Avik Roy points out, the individual market actually accounts for 8 percent of health-insurance consumers. Obama can’t help himself: He even minimizes his minimizations. So, if Obama were telling the truth in rationalizing that his broken promises affect only consumers in the individual-insurance market, we’d still be talking about up to 25 million Americans...But that’s not the half of it. Obama’s claim that unwelcome cancellations are confined to the individual-insurance market is another brazen lie. In the weekend column, I link to the excellent work of Powerline’s John Hinderaker, who has demonstrated that, for over three years, the Obama administration’s internal estimates have shown that most Americans who are covered by “employer plans” will also lose their coverage under Obamacare. Mind you, 156 million Americans get health coverage through their jobs. John cites the Federal Register, dated June 17, 2010, beginning at page 34,552 (Vol. 75, No. 116). It includes a chart that outlines the Obama administration’s projections. The chart indicates that somewhere between 39 and 69 percent of employer plans would lose their “grandfather” protection by 2013. In fact, for small-business employers, the high-end estimate is a staggering 80 percent (and even on the low end, it’s just a shade under half — 49 percent).


We'll return to the second point momentarily, but first let's revisit the administration's attempts to wave off 25 million people as a rounding error. If the White House considers five-to-eight percent of the market to be no big deal, then Megan McArdle makes a good point about percentages: If we're dismissing "small" groups of Americans, why bother tackling the uninsured problem at all? Perhaps Team O can explain why the eight percent of people on the individual market don't really matter, while the 7.5 percent of uninsured Americans are worthy of uprooting the entire system:


All the people who are ultimately expected to get additional coverage from the new law, including the Medicaid expansion, amount to only 7.5 percent of the population, so if 5 percent is too small to worry about, then probably so is the number of uninsured.


She goes on to echo McCarthy, Avik Roy and others by pointing out that the individual market is only the first shoe to drop on cancellations -- according to the Obama administration's own estimates. Many consumers in the group and employer-based markets are already seeing premium increases under Obamacare (including yours truly); soon enough, millions of people within this group will discover that they, too, are slated to become Obamacare customers -- whether they like it or not. That's because a not-insubstantial portion of small and large businesses are expected to drop their existing coverage plans ahead of 2015, when the postponed employer mandate kicks in. A recent nationwide survey of hundreds of business and franchise owners generated some attention because its results demonstrated that Obamacare is having a negative impact on hiring and worker hours. But it also showed that 28 percent of these businesses intend to cease offering coverage after next year because of Obamacare, opting instead to pay a less expensive per-employee fine. If you work at one of these companies and like your healthcare plan, you won't be able to keep it. How many group and employer-based market consumers will be betrayed by the president's lie? The estimates vary. We highlighted one MSM analysis that pegged the number at up to 52 million. 93 million is another figure that's been tossed about. A new assessment from the American Enterprise Institute falls establishes wide brackets for the range:


A new and independent analysis of ObamaCare warns of a ticking time bomb, predicting a second wave of 50 million to 100 million insurance policy cancellations next fall -- right before the mid-term elections. The next round of cancellations and premium hikes is expected to hit employees, particularly of small businesses. While the administration has tried to downplay the cancellation notices hitting policyholders on the individual market by noting they represent a relatively small fraction of the population, the swath of people who will be affected by the shakeup in employer-sponsored coverage will be much broader. An analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, shows the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predict up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.


The second wave will be bigger than the first. And by the way, you may not be able to keep your doctor either. And you're probably going to end up paying more than you used to -- both on the individual and family level, at at the national level. Oh, and 30 million people (at least) will still be uninsured. All for the low, low price of nearly $2 trillion over ten years. What a deal. Incidentally, we've focused a lot on how every last Senate Democrat who is now frenetically casting about for dropped coverage "fixes" voted against a GOP measure that would have dealt with the issue in 2010. It's worth noting that House Democrats killed a similar proposal in committee, too. And the overwhelming majority of Pelosi's caucus voted against the "Keep Your Plan" Act just last week, toeing Obama's veto threat line. Parting thought: Given Healthcare.gov's endless screw-ups and woefully incomplete machinery, the administration is likely to start encouraging people to sign up for coverage directly through insurers. But the law clearly states that people who do so will forfeit eligibility for any subsidies. Is Obama going to try to waive another black-and-white provision of his own law without Congress? Will the lawlessness ever stop? I'll leave you with this dilemma:



Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography