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Obamacare: Should we be surprised

With the most recent news on the Affordable Care Act it seemed appropriate to review what has lead to the reality that was the first month of Obamacare.

The fact that only 27,000 signed up via Healthcare.gov, which may be pumped up by stats that no company in the world could justify if they used them, should not surprise anyone. That’s not because of just the recent problems with the $600 million website – which will cost unknown tens of millions more of taxpayer dollars to fix and still may not reach the Nov. 30th deadline set by President Obama.

The fact that millions of Americans have lost the healthcare they like and want to keep is also just the tip of the iceberg. Even as President Obama proposes changes to the ACA – which he cannot implement unilaterally, and therefore is only another promise until Congress acts – the true nature of how Obamacare functions is becoming apparent. Tens of millions must pay more, for a relatively few to pay less or get coverage they never had before.

Worse is the news that the latest “fix”, an attempt for the President to live up to the promise made to the nation more than 32 times over the past 3 years, is just as likely to increase premiums and cause more havoc than is already in the works.

“Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumer.” – Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans

All of this was predictable, and in fact was predicted. In my commentary June 29, 2012 on the Supreme Court ruling the writing on the wall was laid bare

“Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” – page 12

Thus the question before the Supreme Court was only and always ‘can it be done’, never ‘should it be done’.

Long before that, on May 18, 2010, I highlighted the foresight of the time. 56% believed that the deficit would increase due to Obamacare, and it will. 54% thought that the cost of healthcare would increase, and it has. Infact some are finding out via Healthcare.gov and canceled policies that the increases are doubled and treble what they used to pay. The question of if the quality of healthcare will go down, feared by 50% of those polled in 2010, is yet to be seen but the current debacle lends itself to the thought that higher quality is more than a gamble.

Which says nothing of the fact that the cost was already racing higher back in July 2012, well before the Healthcare.gov website added to the taxpayer bill.

“The cost to completely change the health care system is $1.17 trillion. Compared to the promises of October 2009 three million more will get health insurance coverage, at a cost of an extra $423 billion. Not exactly what was promised, not by a longshot.”

Perhaps the biggest clue were the reactions of Dems that voted and supported Obamacare. In August of 2009, Senator Schumer ignored questions about the Affordable Care Act; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent repeated copies of the same boilerplate non-response – until she was embarrassed that this was publicly identified.

There are many other examples that can be given, going back to the original debate on Obamacare – the pile of 2000 pages that some Representatives (Rep John Conyers most vividly) took pride in NOT reading. Then there was the infamous blank contract pitch of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (then Speaker of the House) – letting us know in very unsubtle terms that what we were going to get from ACA was a secret that America had to experience to learn about it, which we now are.

So should anyone be surprised at what the Affordable Care Act has become? Is there any reason why abject failure, by every criteria, is not the expected and reliable outcome of a law passed without bipartisan support, against the will of the public, that was ill-defined and essentially unread?

4 years of political commentary on this subject alone makes me sure of only one thing. Congress and the Government must be held accountable. Anything less only hurts the American public.

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