Last Modified: Thursday, July 11, 2013 6:04 PM
The Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as Obamacare, is being rolled out in a rather chaotic fashion, but like it or not, here it comes.
It is the law of the land, the Supreme Court has given its stamp of approval, and a majority of voters have validated it in the last two national elections by returning to office most of the people who passed the law. But that doesn’t mean it is either a good or smart law, as we now see in the frequent breakdowns in the carrying out of this law.
First of all, the name “affordable” is clearly a misnomer. Most people with health insurance have seen steady increases in cost of premiums, and major insurance carriers are warning more increases are sure to come.
BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana, the largest health insurer in the state, recently sent out a “Healthcare Reform Update” which stated, “Rates will change: The ACA [Affordable Care Act] will expand coverage to millions of Americans and broaden benefits. But, with new government taxes, new benefits and new rating calculations, you can expect to see an increase in costs. For instance, the ACA contains eight new taxes and fees that will directly affect premiums. And as we mentioned above, all plans by law must now include a set of standard or essential health benefits. More benefits (ex. maternity care, ER services, pediatric vision and dental services) add to the cost of your plan.”
The chaos comes in with the way the Obama administration has implemented this highly coercive law. It has given some entities waivers, such as labor unions, while others have to comply.
More recently the administration has put off implementation of the employer mandates until 2015, while still giving individuals no choice but to comply with the law on schedule.
The coercion will be massive. The government has hired and trained 16,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents to enforce the law. This is the same agency that recently admitted to giving Republican and conservative organizations extra scrutiny and delays in approving a certain type of tax-exempt status.
As the BlueCross letter stated: “You must have health coverage or you must pay a fine. ... [S]tarting in 2014, all citizens must have health coverage.”
Further on, the letter states, “Also, the law creates a new way of calculating premiums. As a result, insurance companies can no longer vary rates based on health. This means that insurers may not charge sicker people — who use more medical services — higher premiums. And they cannot charge healthier people, who typically use fewer services, lower rates. As a result, people will be grouped together and healthy customers will help to offset the costs of unhealthy customers.”
In additions to these facts, numerous religious institutions, as well as individuals and employers, are suing the government over forcing them to pay for medications, such as abortifacients and contraceptives, that violate deeply held religious convictions.
Like it or not — whether you voted for it or not, want it or not or like it or not — Obamacare is overtaking everyone with higher costs for health insurance, chaotic and politically influenced implementation and a very coercive healthcare system.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.