Cause for Hollywood Celebration?

May 2, 2014

The White House is Celebrating Higher Costs, Fewer Choices, and a Technology Nightmare that Cost Taxpayers Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

President Obama invited his Hollywood friends to the White House this week to celebrate Obamacare’s success. That’s correct. TIME reports, “President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama feted about 300 people at the White House on Thursday to celebrate the close of the Affordable Care Act’s maiden enrollment period.” In fact, this is the second time the White House has popped champagne over the health care law.

It seems in the midst of all the Hollywood stars and glamour the president forgot what the “the Affordable Care Act’s maiden enrollment period,” has meant for families and businesses across the country:

Higher Costs

The president promised, “We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year,” but premiums for 2014 have already increased by as much as 400 percent and reports indicate that this is just the beginning. Reuters reports, “As the first Obamacare enrollment period comes to a close, U.S. insurers are already anticipating the need to raise prices for 2015.” Fox News adds, “A recent survey of 148 insurance brokers shows that Obamacare is sending premiums rising at the fastest clip in decades.” A survey conducted by the Manhattan Institute found, “In the average state, Obamacare will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent.” It’s not surprising then that it is cost that is keeping people from enrolling. The Washington Post notes that a new Kaiser Health Tracking poll found “nearly 4 in 10 uninsured adults cited affordability as their main reason for skipping health insurance coverage.”

Cancelled Plans

A central promise made by the president when forcing the health care law through Congress was, “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, period. Nobody’s going to take it away from you, no matter what.” In reality, this promise was deemed the “Lie of the Year.” The first wave delivered nearly 6 million cancellation notices to Americans who were repeatedly told by the president that they could keep their plans. And that was just the beginning. Vox reports, “The Obama administration is quietly trying to stamp out some of the skimpiest health plans, a decision that industry officials say could trigger yet another wave of cancellation notices.” The New York Times adds, “By 2020, about 90 percent of Americans workers who now receive health insurance through their employers will be shifted to government exchanges created by the health law, according to a projection by S&P Capital IQ, a research firm serving the financial industry.”

Lost Access to Doctors

At the same time that the president promised you could keep your health care plan, he also assured Americans, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.” The truth is that the president’s health care law has limited access to doctors and hospitals, making it more difficult for people to find treatment. Even one of the law’s chief architects has finally admitted this promise will not hold true. The Huffington Post reports, “nationwide, about 70 percent of Obamacare plans offer fewer hospitals and doctors than employer-sponsored group plans or pre-ACA individual market plans, according to a study by consulting firm McKinsey & Company released in December.” NBC News adds, “Some of America’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation’s new health care program.”

A Website Nightmare

TIME adds, “Obama gave a special shout-out to the ‘tech team,’ which fixed the troubled HealthCare.gov website that threatened to derail the enrollment process.” Is it really fixed, though? Politico reports, “beneath the surface, HealthCare.gov is still missing massive, critical pieces – and the deadline for finishing them keeps slipping. As a result, the system’s ‘back end’ is a tangle of technical workarounds moving billions of taxpayers dollars and consumer-paid premiums between the government and insurers. … The longer they lag, experts say, the likelier they’ll trigger accounting problems that could leave the public on the hook for higher premium subsidies or health care costs.” This is the same website that for months, officials insisted was “on track” and “working the way it’s supposed to.” The president’s champagne toast that everything is “fixed” now seems a bit premature as news broke this week the price tag to fix HealthCare.gov will cost taxpayers $121 million. “Heckuva job” tech-team.

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