On one hand, we have California's illusory, manipulated "good" news on health care premiums, based on bogus cherry-picking. On the other, we have virtually everything else. Sen. Max Baucus -- Obamacare's co-author -- didn't refer to the law's implementation as a "huge train wreck" for nothing. Let's begin in the state of Ohio, where officials are projecting substantial premium rate spikes. It's worth noting that Ohioans overwhelmingly rejected Obamacare at the ballot box in 2011, then narrowly returned its eponymous salesman-in-chief to the Oval Office in November. NBC reports:
In neighboring Indiana, businesses are struggling to deal with Obamacare's byzantine maze of mandates and requirements. A local news station profiles a business grappling with new and unpleasant realities facing employers nationwide: Cutting jobs and slicing hours to stay afloat:
The same melancholy song is playing in Michigan, where workers' hours are being scaled back as a restaurant chain fights to protect its business. Affected employees say they're getting "hit hard," but don't want to speak on the record, for fear of jeopardizing their jobs. Life under Obamacare:
Meanwhile, confusion continues to reign in places like Obamacare-friendly Baltimore, where government liaisons are struggling to explain the law. I'll leave you with two more pieces. (1) "Insurance leaders detail uncertainty of overhaul." Note the quote from an Obamacare supporter, via the Associated Press:
It will be a tough task implementing the online health insurance marketplaces that are required of each state under the federal health care overhaul, and there will no doubt be consumer horror stories about trying to navigate them, insurance company executives warned Tuesday. The insurance exchanges will offer private coverage to the uninsured and subsidies for low-income consumers. They're supposed to be open for enrollments by Oct. 1 and operating fully by Jan. 1. "There's a great deal of uncertainty almost everywhere you look," said Mark Moody, the president and chief executive officer of WEA Trust, which offers insurance to Wisconsin school districts, state health plan members, and local units of government. "There will be horror stories, stories of so-called train wrecks," Moody said at the panel discussion organized by Wisconsin Health News. "It will be a difficult process to get the exchanges started. ... I think fundamentally the Affordable Care Act is on the right track but it's going to be a long, slow process."
(2) "Employers Fear Obamacare Will Hike Health Costs." Via CBS News:
Obamacare may cost more than experts previously thought, according to a survey of 900 employers released Wednesday. As companies scramble to prepare for a wave of new health care rules that go into effect next year, an increasing number have become pessimistic about the cost, according to Mercer, a benefits consulting firm. Roughly one in five employers (19 percent) now expect that health care costs will rise by more than 5 percent as the result of the law. When asked the same question two years ago, only 14 percent of respondents thought the Affordable Care Act would significantly raise costs. Moreover, just 9 percent of employers still think the law will have little or no impact on costs. When asked the same question two years ago, a quarter of the respondents thought the impact would be minimal. Almost a third of employers say they still can't predict the impact.