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Healthcare Expert: Obamacare's 'Quiet Summer' is About to End in a Big Way

Dan wrote up yesterday's Washington Post/ABC News poll, which was jammed with crooked numbers for President Obama.  Most striking was the (30/55) majority deeming Obama's presidency "a failure," along with the prevailing opinion that he's divided the country, and his unsightly leadership score.  The survey also included a dreadful (38/56) presidential approval rating on the implementation of Obamacare; support for the law itself was also underwater, with an outright majority opposed, despite this polling series' silly question wording that omits any mention of 'Obamacare' or the 'Affordable Care Act.'  A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll produces similar findings, with support for the president's signature domestic accomplishment swamped by opposition. It's been this way for years, across hundreds of national surveys.

One major reason for the enduring opposition is that the law has violated virtually every major promise erected in dishonest ideologues' sales pitch.  Another is that an ongoing parade of unpleasant developments continues to make headlines, including the recent revelation that was hacked last month.  Apologists can cherry-pick useful data points to try to convince the public that Obamacare is reducing premium costs and driving down costs, but that's simply not the case.  Individual market premiums exploded in 2014, and are expected to grow by roughly eight percent in 2015 (with many consumers confronting double-digit spikes) -- to say nothing of high out-of-pocket costs and narrow coverage networks. Overall health spending continues an upward climb.  The law was billed as a dramatic premium reducer that would also bend down the so-called "cost curve."  Healthcare industry expert Bob Laszewski is out with a must-read post on next steps for Obamacare.  He argues that the law may have been largely out of the news for the last few months, but a fresh round of cancellations and the coming open enrollment period are about to change all that:


To say this fall's 2015 Obamacare open-enrollment has the potential to be problematic is an understatement. The backroom is not built yet––a year and counting after it should have been. How many people are enrolled in Obamacare? Without a government to insurance company accounting system yet built, no one knows. While the open-enrollment is now scheduled to begin until 11 days after the November election there will be plenty of renewal and cancellation letters going out in October––not the least will be more pre-Obamacare policies being cancelled this year now that their one-year extension is up––carriers aren't necessarily allowing policies to be extended further...Does this all sound confusing? Just wait until we approach the next open-enrollment with millions of people hearing about all of this complexity and having just four weeks to get their enrollment validated for January 1. The Obamacare anxiety index is going to be off the charts well before November 15th.  Add to all of this bigger deductibles for 2015 (those go up with cost trend as well as the rates) and more narrow networks as well as generally larger rate increases for the plans that got the most enrollment and there will be lots to talk about...The last couple of months have been very quiet for Obamacare. That is about to end.

Click through for a thorough debunking of recent pro-Obamacare spin on "baseline plan" premiums, as well as a reminder that many new Obamacare consumers -- a significant percentage of whom have dumped their coverage -- will have to either change their plans again for face much higher rates next year.  More upheaval is on the way.  Numerous polls have consistently found that roughly twice as many Americans say they've been personally hurt by Obamacare than helped.  Most consumers, however, have responded that they haven't been impacted one way or another.  That, too, will be changing for millions in the coming months and years.  The Washington Post reports:

Large businesses expect to pay between 4 and 5 percent more for health-care benefits for their employees in 2015 after making adjustments to their plans, according to employer surveys conducted this summer. Few employers plan to stop providing benefits with the advent of federal health insurance mandates, as some once feared, but a third say they are considering cutting or reducing subsidies for employee family members, and the data suggest that employees are paying more each year in out-of-pocket health care expenses. The figures come from separate electronic surveys given to thousands of mid- to large-size firms across the country by Towers Watson, the National Business Group on Health and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, consulting groups that engage with businesses on health insurance issues. Bracing themselves for an excise tax on high-cost plans coming in 2018 under the Affordable Care Act, 81 percent of employers surveyed by Towers Watson said they plan to moderately or significantly alter health-care benefits to reduce their costs.

Higher costs and reduced benefits are on the way for many who are among the the large majority of Americans receiving health coverage through their employers.  And I'll once again direct your attention to this news package, which quotes a prominent Obamacare designer and supporter cheerfully predicting that 80 percent of employer-based plans will "disappear" within the next ten years:

An independent study cited in the piece projects that number at 90 percent.  The White House knew this was coming, and Senate Democrats voted down a Republican effort to reinforce the president's "keep your plan" promise, which continue crashing down around consumers for years to come.  Bottom line: Think the Obamacare mess is in the rear-view mirror, or that you've escaped its impact?  Just wait. I'll leave you with one additional polling point:

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