With Washington set to assume control of more than half of all health care spending – and thus remake nearly 20 percent of the economy – it’s worth asking if the federal government is up to the task.
If my husband’s recent experience with the Transportation Security Administration is any indication, the answer is a resounding no. Life under ObamaCare will be a nightmare.
A few weeks ago, my husband accidently left his keys at the security checkpoint at the Los Angeles airport. He didn’t notice until his plane had taken off. But when he returned to southern California a few days later, on a Sunday, he was told by local TSA officials that although the keys had been found, they were at an off-site lost-and-found facility.
Unfortunately, the location of the facility was “confidential.” So they gave us the site’s phone number. But after leaving several messages, and getting no response, we finally harangued an airline rep to give us the site’s address, and drove over and picked up the keys ourselves (to the surprise of the employees in this “secret” facility).
If the government has this much trouble returning a set of lost keys, imagine what it will be like when an astonishing number of new government bodies, including 47 bureaucratic entities and 29 pilot programs, are in charge of the president’s health care program. Essentially, ObamaCare expands coverage not by making insurance more affordable but by putting millions of people on the government dole – of the 34 million uninsured expected to obtain coverage, about 20 million will be dropped into Medicaid.
And ObamaCare foists scores of expensive mandates on all private insurance plans – like requiring all policies to cover adult children up to the age of 26 and limiting out-of-pocket spending.
The administration knows full well that these controls will disrupt the private market. In fact, they already have. Principal Financial Group announced that it would stop selling health insurance. The company currently covers about 840,000 people who get coverage through their employers.
These folks would likely beg to differ with the president, who repeatedly promised during his campaign for reform that you could “keep your health plan if you like it.” The administration now estimates that 117 million people will have to change their health plans by 2013.
Many employer-provided plans will become illegal overnight. The Lewin Group estimates that 17 million people will be forced out of their employer-sponsored health plans because of the new rules. Nearly 4 million of those folks will wind up in Medicaid.
Those that don’t enroll in Medicaid will likely turn to ObamaCare’s much-ballyhooed state-level exchanges for coverage. Policies sold through the exchanges will be burdened with even more stringent – and costly – regulations. Insurers have estimated that they’ll have to increase prices up to 9 percent because of the extra benefits required by ObamaCare.
The Congressional Budget Office is even more pessimistic. It expects the premiums for individual plans like those bought through the exchanges to increase by 10-13 percent.
Of course, they may not even be allowed to do so, as officials will have the power to kick an insurer out of the exchange if they deem a premium increase “unreasonable.”
ObamaCare puts the government at the center of the health care marketplace. Americans need only look to the TSA to see how frustrating and inefficient their health sector is about to become.