In today’s Politico, reporters admit the mainstream media turned a blind eye and deaf ear to conservatives’ warnings about Obamacare—that not all Americans could keep their plans. But with 1.5 million Americans (and counting) receiving cancellation notices because their individual health plans don’t comply with Obamacare, the media are doing an about-face.
This isn’t the only Obamacare warning the media have ignored. Heritage and other health experts have warned about four more potential Obamacare disasters for years:
1. Back-Door Public Option: You might have thought it was killed off, but an ugly embodiment of the public option is alive and well in Obamacare. Health expert Robert Moffit pointed out in 2011 that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) next year will administer at least two nationwide health plans that will compete against private insurance. OPM is responsible for these plans’ pricing, profits, and operations.
These government-sponsored plans are the only health plans that can compete nationwide under a new set of rules, giving them an unfair advantage in an already disrupted health insurance market. “Instead of fair competition with private health plans, Congress is sponsoring the equivalent of a national monopoly,” Moffit wrote.
2. Illegal Subsidies to Congressional Members and Their Staffs: Keep in mind, OPM is the same agency that recently ruled members of Congress and their staffs can buy health insurance in the Obamacare exchanges and use a large, tax-free subsidy that exists for federal workers who get their coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Sure, the federal government doesn’t have actual legal authority to pay for federal workers in a health plan outside of plans contracted by OPM. But when has that stopped this Administration from creating special rules that flout the law’s language?
3. Cancellations in Employer-Sponsored Insurance: Much of the recent media focus is on cancellations for customers with individual insurance plans, but Heritage, the Congressional Budget Office, Deloitte, McKinsey & Co., and other organizations have warned for years that businesses will drop health coverage for their employees and dump them onto the federal health exchanges. With higher health costs, it will be cheaper for many companies to pay Obamacare’s employer mandate fine rather than pay for expensive, government-mandated health plans.
The scenarios vary, but anywhere from 5 million to 35 million hard-working Americans could lose their current health plans—and face the same plight of many customers forced to deal with a glitch-ridden website to buy plans on the Obamacare exchanges. A big reason why this hasn’t materialized yet is the Administration’s recent decision to delay the employer mandate until 2015.
4. Perverse Incentives That Hurt Low-Income Workers: The employer mandate delay hits the pause button on another expected setback for lower-income workers—mainly pricing them out of full-time employment. Labor expert James Sherk warned in 2011 that after paying for new health premiums, the minimum wage, payroll taxes, and unemployment insurance taxes, hiring a full-time worker would cost at least $10.03 an hour. With full-time family health plans easily costing $13.75 an hour, companies would lose money by having full-time workers with low productivity rates. Therefore, less-skilled workers would be at more risk for having their full-time jobs replaced with part-time ones.
Let’s hope the media will reexamine their coverage and turn the spotlight to these pressing health consumer issues. Americans deserve to know the truth about this health law and what it could do to their coverage.