Ah, the words that come back to bite you.
Remember the famous statement prior to passage of what is now called Obamacare: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”?
Give President Obama credit; he doubtlessly believed that promise when he said it. However, I didn’t and said so.
Why? Employers and health care providers told me that when the majority of the provisions of “Obamacare” would take effect, it would be more affordable for an employer to simply stop offering their employees coverage and pay a penalty rather than face the predictable increase in premiums and continuing to offer coverage.
Now, these predictions have turned into facts.
A study released by McKinsey & Co., a consulting company, predicts large numbers of workers will be shifted into the health exchanges in 2014. That’s a shift folks should be worried about.
Today literally thousands of regulations and waivers are pouring out of the Department of Health and Human Services.
And, to make matters worse, there is the predictable worry that the “exchanges” would be better described as something similar to Medicaid HMO’s — threatening access and choice of doctors, not to mention the rationing regime that will be the marching order of the day.
You might be waiting in line to see a nurse clinician.
At the time the president made his promise, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that only about 7 percent of employees covered by employer-sponsored insurance would make the switch (or be forced to switch) to taxpayer subsidized exchanges in 2014.
Now comes study after study that finds Obamacare will cause many or even most employers to quit offering their current health insurance.
The McKinsey survey found that 45 to 50 percent of employers say they “will definitely or probably” pursue alternatives to their existing health care plans and even more alarming some 30 percent of employers will simply stop offering any coverage!
And, with each study, the numbers go up; the PricewaterhouseCoopers study found nearly half of all employers indicated they were likely to change employee medical coverage as a result of the Administration’s plan.
The result of all of this has been 1,433 waivers from Obamacare covering 3.2 million people with the total percentage of waived union members at nearly 50 percent.
And, this story just does not end.
The latest announcement by the administration (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) states employers and unions no longer need apply for Obamacare waivers year, after year, after year, which was current policy. Now, employers will have up to Sept. 22 to receive a waiver all the way to 2014!
A skeptic might point out this new scheme allows the administration to dodge issuing further waivers during the 2012 election. However, it clearly demonstrates that even a one year waiver won’t help America’s employers to continue to offer coverage to employees.
After 2014, employers will either meet the burdensome requirements or decide to stop providing coverage for their employees. American taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill for workers whose employer sponsored coverage has been dropped due to Obamacare.
Finally, with three months to obtain a waiver up to 2014 from the administration’s own health care plan, the folks at the Department of Health and Human Services had better prepare themselves for a tidal wave of employers asking for waivers.
Better yet, why not just give a waiver to every Kansan who wants one?
“There’s absolutely no rationing in this bill, that is just scare talk.”
(U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, can be contacted at 109 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 or by e-mail at roberts.senate.gov)