According to one national leader, Obamacare is “a huge train wreck coming down.” You might be tempted to dismiss this quote as another tea party attack on the president’s health care law. But you would be wrong.
This statement was made last month by Max Baucus, D-Mont., the powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Baucus, you might recall, was the lead sponsor in the Senate for securing passage of the health care law in 2009.
“Vulnerable Democrats will face voters just as Obamacare’s tax hikes, mandates, fees, penalties, and red-tape bureaucracy take shape over the next eight months, and Senator Baucus’ retirement reflects that political reality,” Rob Collins, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement at National Review online.
The truth is Baucus was not willing to defend his support of Obamacare during the upcoming campaign session.
At the recent Lincoln Day Dinner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a colleague and friend of Baucus, said Baucus is retiring because he is “so fed up with the possibility of the implementation of Obamacare being a train wreck.”
Grassley further stated that “dissatisfaction with the health care bill exists across party lines, describing a bipartisan coalition in Washington that considers the implementation of the law a disaster.”
A recent Associated Press story in The Herald-Mail was headlined, “States: Thousands risk losing coverage under health care overhaul.” Cost overruns even for the early, transitional aspects of the Affordable Care Act (a big misnomer) are threatening to bankrupt states right out of the block.
Michael Keough, chairman of the National Association of State Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans, which oversees the plan in 27 states, wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, saying they were “blindsided” and “very disappointed” by the feds shifting cost overruns to their programs. And this problem is for a program with only 100,000 people currently covered.
“Money is running out because the beneficiaries turned out to be costlier to care for than expected,” the story said. Keough indicated that many people will be forced to drop out of the program because there will be “a cost shift to people in the program, resulting in sudden increases in premiums and copayments.”
Surprise, surprise! This was predictable before the program started. It is evidence of the law of supply and demand. When something is free, or seemingly free, demand goes up and prices increase accordingly.
Remember how smug many supporters of the president were after passage of the new law as they sarcastically queried the critics of Obamacare. “What would Republicans like to do away with, keeping children on their parents’ policy up to age 26 or coverage of pre-existing conditions?”
Did these adoring sycophants think benefits could be added cost-free while premiums stayed the same? Did they think the president would spread ‘pixie dust’ over the poor and the sick?
Meanwhile, back in Washington, Sebelius “has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law,” according to a piece on the wonkblog of the Washington Post.
“Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law,” according to a Health and Human Services official. In other words, the federal government is turning to private contributors to bail them out. Is the Department of Health and Human Services in over its head?
A good dose of reality is setting in, but sadly too late to rescue the rest of us from this train wreck.
George Michael, who lives in Williamsport, is a former principal of Grace Academy. His email address is email@example.com.