“If you like your health plan, you can keep it. Period.” President Obama repeatedly said this during his first run for the White House, during debate of his signature healthcare reform bill, during his re-election campaign, and as late as this past September.
Just recently we learned that this was not true, and more, that millions of Americans were going
to lose their individual coverage. And beyond that, we learned that the Obama Administration knew these three years before implementation of the law—even as all these promises were being made.
According to Gallup and, most recently, Quinnipiac, President Obama’s 39-percent approval rating is the lowest it has been during his presidency. Admittedly, the President has had a rough summer and fall. His popularity with the public has slipped for more reasons than just
Obamacare. A number of scandals also have damaged him, including the Benghazi cover-up, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, NSA spying, and now, the failed roll-out of the Healthcare.gov website.
I believe this latest revelation with Obamacare will prove the most lasting and damaging scandal the Administration has faced. It is already overshadowing the government shutdown, which hurt Republicans’ polling numbers. The latest development in healthcare is changing the dynamic of the 2014 mid-term elections, even making a Republican takeover of the
This latest misstep by the White House likely will have a lasting effect because it goes to the heart of President Obama’s signature piece of legislation. Other than financial services reform, Obamacare is the only major piece of the President’s legislative agenda that passed Congress and was signed into law, and it will be his legacy. Universal healthcare has been the biggest goal of liberals in the modern era. They would love to see a single payer system in the United States, like
Europe, with Obamacare being the latest step toward their ultimate desire. However, this latest revelation ofthe Obama Administration’s deceit might be the biggest reason why they will never achieve such a socialist system.
Obamacare was the first major public policy legislation in American history that was passed by only one party. As a result, the President and Democrats in Congress completely own it. They can’t blame Republicans, although some have tried already.
This is a key as the Obamacare scandal continues to unfold. It represents an issue that frames perfectly the difference between the two parties’ grand views of our government’s relation to our economy. Liberal Democrats believe that the government should make our healthcare decisions, whereas Republicans and most conservative and moderate Democrats believe that individuals should make those choices for themselves.
Indeed, mandating what must in your healthcare plan is essential to making Obamacare viable.
Forcing insurance companies to require coverage across the board means that individual plans that do not meet certain coverage requirements must be cancelled.
This, in turn, forces individuals to buy more expensive plans. That helps provide the revenue needed to cover the uninsured.
And there’s the biggest irony in all this. Universal healthcare is the touchstone of Obamacare, but in order to generate the revenue necessary to cover the roughly 48 million uninsured Americans, most of the 19 million Americans covered by an individual policy will lose their coverage and be forced to find a more expensive alternative in the healthcare exchanges, or face penalties (a tax) for not doing so.
After doing the math, many young, healthy Americans will choose the penalty.
But wait: Obamacare depends on these younger, healthy Americans buying expensive plans. By instead choosing the penalties, however, these young people won’t be providing the government with the needed money to insure the uninsured. This will accelerate the downward spiral of Obamacare by requiring that the purchase of a healthcare plan is even more expensive for those who buy one.
In 2015, when the employer mandate kicks in, many more Americans will lose their employer-provided healthcare. Employers, after doing the math, will choose to take the penalty rather than providing the more expansive mandated coverage’s. This will force their employees to buy healthcare through the exchanges. Other companies will change the status of their employees to part-time, or even lay some workers as a way to avoid the added costs that Obamacare will heap on them. Then those employees will be faced with the same forced choices. The plan keeps unraveling.
Republicans will relish the opportunity to run against Obamacare in the next election. And, because healthcare choices are so important to most voters, Democrats running for office trying to defend Obamacare might be in trouble with those voters.
Former President Clinton has already recognized the trouble his party is in and has called for the President to honor his promises. This might truly be a watershed political moment in our nation’s history.
Brad Carver is a partner with the law firm, Hall Booth Smith and is the Senior Managing
Director of Government Affairs. He is Vice-Chairman of the Fulton County Republican
Party and 1st Vice Chairman of the 11th Congressional District.
This analysis has appeared in James magazine.