Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WSJ: ObamaCare Shocks Will Impact 30 to 40 Million

If Obamacare is not stopped, the damage that it will do to the economy will be massive. Healthcare costs will go up for millions and for many it will result in working at two part time jobs, instead of one full time job. And that's only what is obvious, the 906 page Act is sure to have many more surprises.

The Act really reads as though it was put together by a Marxist pot head, who cut a deal with Big Health Insurance, Big Pharma and Big Healthcare to get the anti-free market plan imposed on the masses. Fortunately, even some Democrats are finally beginning to realize that ObamaCare, if implemented, is going to have  major blowback against them.

Daniel Kessler a professor of business and law at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution writes at WSJ:
In recent weeks, there have been increasing expressions of concern from surprising quarters about the implementation of ObamaCare. Montana Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat, called it a "train wreck." A Democratic colleague, West Virginia's Sen. Jay Rockefeller, described the massive Affordable Care Act as "beyond comprehension." Henry Chao, the government's chief technical officer in charge of putting in place the insurance exchanges mandated by the law, was quoted in the Congressional Quarterly as saying "I'm pretty nervous . . . Let's just make sure it's not a third-world experience."

These individuals are worried for good reason. The unpopular health-care law's rollout is going to be rough. It will also administer several price (and other) shocks to tens of millions of Americans.

Start with people who have individual and small-group health insurance. These policies are most affected by ObamaCare's community-rating regulations, which require insurers to accept everyone but limit or ban them from varying premiums based on age or health. The law also mandates "essential" benefits that are far more generous than those currently offered.

According to consultants from Oliver Wyman (who wrote on the issue in the January issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries), around six million of the 19 million people with individual health policies are going to have to pay more—and this even after accounting for the government subsidies offered under the law. For example, single adults age 21-29 earning 300% to 400% of the federal poverty level will be hit with an increase of 46% even after premium assistance from tax credits.

Determining the number of individuals who will be harmed by changes to the small-group insurance market is harder. According to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, around 30 million Americans work in firms with fewer than 50 employees, and so are potentially affected by the small-group "reforms" imposed by ObamaCare[...]

Higher premiums are just the beginning, because virtually all existing policies in the individual market and the vast majority in the small-group market do not cover all of the "essential" benefits mandated by the law. Policies without premium increases will have to change, probably by shifting to more restrictive networks of doctors and hospitals. Even if only one third of these policies are affected, this amounts to more than five million people.

In addition, according to Congressional Budget Office projections in July and September 2012, three million people will lose their insurance altogether in 2014 due to the law, and six million will have to pay the individual-mandate tax penalty in 2016 because they don't want or won't be able to afford coverage, even with the subsidies.

None of this counts the people whose employment opportunities will suffer because of disincentives under ObamaCare. Some, whose employers have to pay a tax penalty because their policies do not carry sufficiently generous insurance, will see their wages fall. Others will lose their jobs or see their hours reduced.

Anecdotal evidence already suggests that these disincentives will really matter in the job market, as full-time jobs are converted to part time. Why would employers do this? Because they aren't subject to a tax penalty for employees who work less than 30 hours per week.[...]

In total, it appears that there will be 30 million to 40 million people damaged in some fashion by the Affordable Care Act—more than one in 10 Americans.


  1. Not to worry. The whole system will collapse under its own weight long before this abortion is stillborn...

  2. re: "The Act really reads as though it was put together by a Marxist pot head, who cut a deal with Big Health Insurance, Big Pharma and Big Healthcare to get the anti-free market plan imposed on the masses"

    Yup, you point out the *big* issue that free market types fail to point out well enough. Liberals are scared of corporate influence on government, so they need to be told the healthcare mess is driven by it, as is Obamacare. Often free market types railing against Obamacare due it in terms that appeal to other free market types, preaching to the choir. Although recognition of crony capitalism is implicit in the writings, it isn't the focus as it needs to be to get liberals to consider stepping back and rethinking their views. This page:


    goes through in great detail addressing the problems with the healthcare system, largely focusing on that aspect, and provides ammunition free market types can use, including some points I hadn't seen elsewhere (like how Medial Loss Ratios are a scam to help healthcare prices rise while pretending to be to limit insurance overhead, etc).

    The problem is if the public doesn't truly grasp the problems, we may wind up with the GOP rolling back merely all or part of Obamacare and not all the other regulations that caused the issue. Prices will continue to rise, and then liberals will claim "see, deregulation didn't work, we need more!". With all the focus on Obamacare as if it were the only "evil", we will have trouble getting through to them that it wasn't and that full deregulation is needed.