Yet it is the latter estimate that reveals both the facility this president has for saying things that have no basis in fact, as well as the real long-term aim of the American left. First, the president. It was Mr. Obama who claimed the new healthcare law would cost “around $900 billion over 10 years–less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans that Congress passed at the beginning of the previous administration.” He also claimed “if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”
We now know the first quote is utterly bogus. As for the second quote, the same day the president made it he also backed away from it, telling Diane Sawyer that “I can’t pass a law that says, ‘I’m sorry, employers, you can never make changes to the health care plans that you provide your employees.’ What I can say is that the government is not going to force you to, your employer or you to join a government plan, for example. If you’re happy with it, and your employer’s happy with it, keep it.”
Not exactly. A survey taken last year by Towers Watson revealed that nearly ten percent of mid-sized or large employers expect to drop employee health coverage when the ACA is fully operational in 2014. And that was the optimistic survey. One taken by McKinsey & Company estimates that “[O]verall, 30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering ESI in the years after 2014″ and that among employers far more familiar with the ACA, “this proportion increases to more than 50 percent.”
Which brings us to the second part of the equation, namely the America left’s long-term aim of eliminating private healthcare completely. This plan was designed with the aim of making employers unhappy and getting more and more people on government-provided healthcare. This is precisely why the CBO also projected that “in 2016, for example, the ACA is now estimated to reduce the number of people receiving health insurance coverage through an employer by an additional 4 million enrollees relative to the March 2011 projections,” even as it noted that from 2016 on, between 20 million and 23 million people will receive coverage through the new insurance exchanges, and 16 million to 17 million people will be enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP.”
The left’s fallback position? No one is forcing companies to drop coverage or people to enroll in government-run healthcare plans. Technically that is correct. But such disingenuousness reveals that the left is thoroughly capable of understanding economics–when it suits their purposes. The heart and soul of free-market capitalism is incentive. The ACA perversely exploits such incentive by making it cheaper for employers to pay fines than keep their workers on company healthcare plans. It also forces insurance companies to accept high-risk patients even as it forbids them to charge higher rates to those people for assuming that greater risk. Moreover, the bill gives the Secretary of Health virtually unlimited power to set policy.
This last bit is key. When the ACA was passed, the details of its implementation were left up the the Secretary of Health. As a result, there are 700 instances where the language in the bill says that she “shall” do something, more than 200 instances where she “may” do something, and 139 occasions where the “Secretary determines” something as well. As the latest fight over contraception coverage demonstrates (leaving freedom of religion aside for the moment), the American left believes it can force insurance companies to cover something they deem a “right”– simply by issuance of a command that they do so.
Dr. Hal Scherz, a pediatric urological surgeon on the faculty of Emory University Medical School illuminates where such “incentive” inevitably leads. “Private insurance companies are already exiting from the stage because they’ve seen the writing on the wall and determined that there is no future for them against the federal plans and regulations,” he explains. “Only a few, very large private companies may survive.”
The key word in that statement? “May,” meaning that even the largest, most profitable insurance companies might be incapable of surviving this socialist onslaught. And only the terminally naive could possibly believe that destroying the private insurance market this hasn’t been one of the chief planks of the left’s strategy to impose government control over one-sixth of the American economy, even as they and their media cheerleaders will maintain a facade of “plausible deniability” for doing so. And if healthcare costs skyrocket exactly as projected? The American left considers that a small price to pay in return for a monumental expansion of the state.
It’s up to the Supreme Court to derail what amounts to one of the greatest power grabs in our nation’s history.
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