Note to congressional Democrats: You can change your mind on Obamacare. It's allowed. Really. You can. We won't tell.
If MSNBC's anti-gun lefties like Ed Schultz can do a 180 on a hot-button issue like guns, then Democrats can change their minds about President Obama's signature Obamacare. More on this later.
President Barack Obama promised to provide healthcare insurance to some 30 million Americans without it. He promised to do so more cheaply than under the current system, without lowering quality for anyone. He promised: "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."
Obamacare requires carriers to take on people with pre-existing conditions and to allow young adults up to 26 years of age to remain on their parents' plan. Oh, and all this while "bending the cost curve" of health care downward and lowering the deficit.
Early results are in -- and they are not pretty.
Obamacare defines a full-time worker as one who works 30 or more hours a week. So some employers, especially those in food service, have simply cut hours for workers. According to a survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 74 percent of small business owners say have or intend to reduce hours, put off hiring or fire people.
Even Teamsters union President James Hoffa, once an avid supporter of Obamacare, now wants major changes: "[Obamacare] will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class. ... The unintended consequences ... are severe," and "perverse incentives are causing nightmare scenarios."
For people who buy their plans individually -- about 10 to 15 percent of the nongovernment insured buy plans this way -- many will face higher costs than they do today, in some cases (SET ITAL)much(END ITAL) higher costs. Forbes magazine cites a study that predicts nearly 100 percent rate increases for young men, and more than 50 to 60 percent increases for young women.
For Obamacare to "work," the young and the healthy must sign up -- otherwise the estimated costs for Obamacare go out the window. Here's the problem: For a relatively small amount, they could have bought insurance before now -- but chose not to. Obamacare is betting that these healthy young adults will buy health care insurance at prices more expensive than today's rates -- rather than face a first-year fine of $95 on their 2015 taxes. What if they don't pay the fine? The IRS's maximum punishment is to take the penalty from the scofflaw's current or future tax refund -- assuming there is one. Is this enough leverage to force healthy young people to buy a product many neither want nor believe they need?
Obamacare's prime Democratic sponsor, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., now calls Obamacare "a train wreck." Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., wants a delay on the Obamacare mandate for individuals, the mandate on employers having already been postponed for one year.
This brings us to MSNBC's Ed Schultz, and the ability for even the most strident to reconsider when faced with facts.
Schultz, after the Sandy Hook tragedy, characterized the Founding Fathers as intolerant, homophobic, misogynistic slave-owners. He teed off on the Second Amendment. "But dammit," he said, it's the guns. Period!"
Then something extraordinary happened: Schultz changed his mind. Oh, he won't flat out say it. But after the recent mass shooting at Navy Yard in D.C., one expected Schultz to again attack the "antiquated" Second Amendment. Instead Schultz said: "Why should there be restriction on people who are law-abiding citizens that don't have mental health issues? That are law-abiding citizens? That pay their taxes? That do everything they're supposed to do? But then every time there's a mass shooting we're going to have a conversation about what I can own in this country. This is freedom, isn't it? ... And what is at the crux of all of this is freedom! You can go out and purchase a firearm! And there are groups out there that want to limit that and the types that you own because some crazy guy went in and shot up a workplace!"
Call this speculation, but in June, the Obama-ordered CDC study on defensive uses of guns came out. According to the study, Americans use guns for defensive purposes "at least" as often as they are used to commit crimes. The CDC's report even cites studies that put the number of defensive uses of firearms as high as 3 million times each year. "Self-defense can be an important crime deterrent," said the CDC, and when the victim uses a gun for self-defense, studies "have found consistently lower injury rates ... compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies."
So the evidence is in. Obamacare proves, once again, that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Congressional Democrats, as with Schultz, you can change your mind when faced with facts. Just say you "evolved."