"First, no matter what you've heard, if you like your doctor or healthcare plan, you can keep it..."
The administration is now admitting that the "keep your doctor" bit of that pledge is no longer operative (it never was), but the president's emphasis on being able to retain one's existing plan really stands out. Here's what he told the American Medical Association in 2009:
"If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”
That unambiguous vow has been violated many times over already, and now an entire class of American families may fall victim to the president's mendacity. The Associated Press reports:
One casualty of the new health care law may be paid coverage for families of people who work for small businesses. Insurance companies have already warned small business customers that premiums could rise 20 percent or more in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. That's making some owners consider not paying for coverage for workers' families, even though insurance is a benefit that helps companies attract and retain top talent. If more small business owners decide to stop paying for family coverage, it will accelerate a trend that started as the cost of health insurance soared in recent years. Under the law, companies with 50 or more employees are required to provide affordable coverage for their workers. They also must offer health insurance to employees' dependents, but don't have to pay for it. And they aren't required to offer insurance at all to employees' spouses.
Unsurprisingly, the "Affordable Care Act" is exacerbating and accelerating some of the healthcare market's worst, er, pre-existing conditions:
Premiums have been soaring for years because of the rising cost of medical care. But the ACA also has requirements that may drive premiums higher, including a tax on insurance companies that is expected to be passed along to employers...The ACA is accelerating a trend toward reducing family coverage that has been in place for a number of years at companies of all sizes as employers try to cut costs, according to health insurance brokers. But family coverage is particularly in jeopardy at small companies.
Remember, this law was supposed to reduce family premiums by $2,500 per year, not drive them even higher. And it was supposed to create a new trend toward more coverage, not incentivize businesses to drop and dump, just to stay in businesses. Now employees and their families may sit in limbo for some time, due to uncertainties in the law:
Small business consultants say their clients are holding off on making decisions about dependent coverage because it's such a sore subject with employees, and because owners have so few answers about their costs at this point. Not only are premiums for 2014 not set, many consultants and benefits advisers also say it will take at least a year, and perhaps two or three years, to get a true picture of how much the ACA will cost.
Beyond this AP analysis, today is an extremely busy day on the Obamacare news front. We told you about the law's security concerns yesterday, and now those shortfalls and logistical snags might force states to delay the exchanges -- which wouldn't come as a surprise to those who have been paying attention. McClatchy has the latest:
The opening of the health insurance marketplaces in October – key to Obamacare – is in jeopardy because of looming questions about information security. The problem stems from tight deadlines that must be met to ensure the security of data moving through an information system that supports the marketplaces, sometimes referred to as exchanges, according to a new government watchdog report....The Obama administration had expected Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to decide Sept. 4 whether information routed through the hub was secure from hackers and identity thieves. But a new report by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services says that decision now is expected Sept. 30, only a day before open enrollment on the marketplaces is scheduled to begin. Any further delays, the report said, mean the chief information officer may not have enough time to gauge the security of data transfers.
Meanwhile, more Democrats are joining Howard Dean in attacking Obamacare's rationing board (IPAB), a majority of doctors now say they'd discourage younger generations from entering the field of medicine, and it's being reported that the president personally intervened to provide Congress with an outrageous escape hatch from the law Hill Democrats wrote and passed against the will of the people in 2010. Laws and promises are for the little people. I'll leave you with this: