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George Michael: Buyer's remorse?

January 04, 2013|By GEORGE MICHAEL

The downsides of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), generally known as Obamacare, are coming to the forefront. You have to dig a little to learn about these developments since the national media continues to provide cover for this administration.

At the height of the drama in getting the PPACA passed in 2009, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “We have to pass this bill to find out what is in it.” Now, those senators who voted for the plan are finding out what’s in it.

These senators, which include Chuck Schumer of New York and Dick Durbin of Illinois, are asking for relief from the bill they heartily supported not so long ago. 

An article posted recently on The Daily Caller about the impending changes coming to health care noted that “Eighteen Democratic U.S. senators and senators-elect sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Dec. 4 calling for a ‘delay in the implementation’ of the medical device tax in Obamacare,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The (law’s) 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers has sparked panic within the medical devices industry. Indiana-based Zimmer Holdings, which manufactures hip replacement implants, laid off 450 workers in anticipation of $60 million in taxes in 2013. Michigan-based Stryker Corp., which also produces hip implants, laid off 5 percent of its workers in a bid to compensate for the $100 million it will pay in taxes next year.”

Liberals have been smugly asking, “What provisions would Republicans like to cut from Obamacare? Would they cut requiring insurance companies to accept pre-existing conditions or allowing dependents to be kept on their parents’ health care plans up to age 26?” The following news must be a shock to them.

In an article by Mary Katharine Ham posted on The Hot Air website on Dec. 11 titled “Obamacare just raised your health care premium by $63,” we learn the following:

“Among the regulations being rushed out the door by the Department of Health and Human Services 32 months after Obamacare passed is a requirement that every plan in America be subject to a $63 fee. That $63 is part of a fund to subsidize people with pre-existing conditions, who are more expensive to cover but whose costs must be transferred to healthier individuals in the new system.”

One would think that most people could figure out that more benefits mandated by PPACA of insurance companies would raise the costs. 

Granted, $63 doesn’t sound like much on a per-person basis, but the total cost is huge. Insurance companies will set their premium rates at whatever they need in order to cover their costs, and it could be a lot more than $63 per person. 

It is not the companies that will bear the ultimate cost. The Ham article concludes: “The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.”

And what about the state exchanges offered in PPACA that were to provide more consumer choices for everyone?  So far, it looks like 16 states are moving forward in the process of setting up these exchanges. But a majority of governors have already informed HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that they will not participate.

In addition, there is a new 3.8 percent tax being added to both capital gains income and dividend income of many Americans, plus a hike in the Medicare premium for families and proprietary businesses earning more than $250,000. The hits just keep on coming.

We might not need a vote to end Obamacare after all.  Hopefully, it will collapse under the weight of its own grandiose complexity. An honest process in getting the original bill passed might have served us better than the heavy-handed approach that was used.  

The devious tactics of the president and Democratic leaders at the time reflected bad policy and politics at its worst.  Unfortunately, this is one item that cannot easily be returned for a refund.

George Michael’s email address is gfmichael46@gmail.com.

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