As the Obama administration continues to implement Obamacare, Americans are seeing more of its flaws and failures up close.
Despite the promises made by Democrats when they passed the unpopular law that it would lower health care costs, the Chicago Tribune reported last week, “Workers continue to be squeezed by rising insurance costs, eroding benefits and stagnant wages, the report from the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund found. Nationwide, the average contribution an employee made to an insurance premium in 2013 and the average deductible together represented 9.6% of the median income of American households with members under age 65. That is up from 8.4% in 2010 and nearly double the 5.3% that households were paying for employer-provided health coverage in 2003. ‘Workers are paying more but getting less protective benefits,’ the report’s authors noted.”
Another promise made by the authors of Obamacare was that it would bend the health care cost curve down. In addition, proponents of the law have urged states to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, calling it “free money.” The Los Angeles Times reported recently that there’s no free lunch in California. “California’s budget, which bounced back after years of deficits, is now being squeezed by rising healthcare costs for the poor and for retired state workers. . . . Enrollment in the state’s healthcare program for the poor, known as Medi-Cal, has exploded by 50% since President Obama’s signature law took effect. Although the federal government picks up most of the tab, state costs have also been growing, and faster than expected. . . . Obama’s new immigration policy could also increase healthcare costs. More than a million California immigrants who are in the country illegally are expected to be protected from deportation, and many will probably qualify for Medi-Cal, but those costs cannot yet be calculated, according to the Brown administration.”
Meanwhile, the editors of the Las Vegas Review-Journal warn readers to expect a difficult time with their taxes this year, thanks to Obamacare. “Get ready for another Obamacare surprise,” they write. “As if canceled policies, dropped doctors, higher premiums, higher deductibles and enrollment nightmares aren’t enough, millions of people who were supposed to be most helped by the law are about to be hit with a tax bill. As reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Stephanie Armour and Louise Radnofsky, as many as half of the 6.8 million people who received Affordable Care Act subsidies in 2014 may have to return some of that money to the government. Ms. Armour and Ms. Radnofsky explained that enrollees were awarded subsidies based on estimates of their 2014 income, but millions of those estimates were wrong and resulted in subsidies that were too generous. . . .
“So millions of people could face a tax bill that in some cases will be modest but could be as high as $2,500 for families at the upper end of the subsidy eligibility range. Some people may have to reimburse overpayments in full. These are the people who were supposed to be least able to afford insurance. Equally as bad for these 2014 filers is the fact that no one — not even professional tax preparers — has any experience with the IRS forms that reconcile the subsidies. So lower-income earners will face the most complicated process in complying with Obamacare’s individual mandate, a process that is expected to force many of them to shell out even more money to have their returns professionally prepared.”
The LVRJ editors conclude, “These are not unintended consequences. When lawmakers create a new entitlement and put the IRS in charge of verifying Americans’ health coverage, no one can expect simplicity and efficiency. This tax season will provide one more reason for Americans to loathe Obamacare.”