On 23 March 2010, President Barack Obama signed “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)” bill into law, which ironically is neither affordable nor does it protect the patient. It is just an Obama sized dose of Orwellian doublespeak meant to deceive the masses into socialism, and later a communist dictatorship. This decree went into effect in 2014 and mandates that all Americans must purchase and maintain government-approved health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS. Before Obamacare, as it is more widely known, was passed, Obama said: “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people… If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” But once it was passed, the Congressional Budget Office said Obamacare would cause up to 20 million to lose their insurance. Before Obamacare was passed, Obama promised: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period. And to prove that I’m serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don’t materialize.” However, not long after Obama signed it, the Washington Post reported Obamacare would add over $340 billion to the deficit over the next decade. Another unkeepable promise: Obamacare “will create 4 million jobs, 400,000 jobs almost immediately.”
Was Obamacare a Deception from the Beginning?
In November 2014, Democrats began desperately distancing themselves from Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber following leaks of several videos where he is describing how Obamacare was a grand deception passed in due to the lack of transparency about its contents and the stupidity of the American people. He “never worked on our staff,” President Obama said in Brisbane, Australia, (even though Gruber was paid almost $400,000 by his administration, is the intellectual author of the individual mandate and met in the Oval Office with Obama and the head of the Congressional Budget Office to pore over the bill). “I don’t know who he is,” Nancy Pelosi declared on Capitol Hill (even though she repeatedly cited him by name during the Obamacare debate).
Gruber explains that the Obama administration passed the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-value employer health plans “by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people, when we know it’s a tax on people who hold these insurance plans.” Americans would not support a tax on individuals, so “We just tax the insurance companies, they pass on the higher prices . . . it ends up being the same thing.” The ruse, Gruber says, was “a very clever . . . basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”
Gruber says the Obama administration knew the individual mandate was a tax, but that if Americans knew the truth “the bill dies.” So the bill “was written in a tortured way to make sure [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes.” He adds that “the lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” and that “the stupidity of the American voter . . . was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”
Gruber boasts about how the Obama administration fooled Americans into paying to cover the uninsured by using sleight of hand, focusing on their concern over rising health costs. “Barack Obama’s not a stupid man, okay? He knew when he was running for president that quite frankly the American public doesn’t actually care that much about the uninsured. . . . What the American public cares about is costs. And that’s why even though the bill that they made is 90 percent health insurance coverage and 10 percent about cost control, all you ever hear people talk about is cost control.”
After Obamacare passed, his administration cynically turned around and argued before the Supreme Court that it was in fact a tax. At one point, Justice Stephen Breyer asked Obama’s solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, “Why do you keep saying tax?,” drawing peals of laughter.
The reason he called it a tax is because — as Jonathan Gruber now admits — members of the Obama team knew all along that it was a tax. They intentionally deceived Americans about it because if they had called it a tax, Obamacare would never have become law. It’s one thing for Americans to suspect that their president lies to them. It’s quite another to hear a key Obama adviser boast of it.
Was Justice Roberts intimidated into voting in favor of Obamacare?
After Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts voted to uphold ObamaCare, many wondered if there could be a yet-unknown reason why the Republican-nominated justice made the unexpected decision.
On the Glenn Beck radio program on June 18, 2013, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) explained why he believes Roberts was intimidated into changing his vote late in the process, as laid out in his new book Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare.
Lee said, there are indications that Roberts originally intended to vote against the act, but that a public “campaign of intimidation” made him change his mind.
First, the senator claimed “the opinion was written in a way to suggest he switched his vote,” and that the dissenting opinion reads like it was originally written as the majority. He added that several news outlets reported that Roberts did change his vote, based on insider information.
Not only that, he said, but the court performed an unusual feat of “legal gymnastics” in upholding the legislation, particularly with regard to whether the fines incurred are or are not taxes. They had to re-write sections of the the bill not once, but twice.
Lee continued to say that he has “no evidence” that Roberts was being blackmailed, but said that doesn’t mean Roberts wasn’t under any kind of “direct pressure.”
But even if he wasn’t, Lee reminded the Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers were open in their warnings to the court, “denigrating the authority of the house,” and saying the Supreme Court would become irrelevant if it failed to uphold ObamaCare.
The argument that Roberts changed his vote has been made in the past, but is certainly lent additional credibility when a U.S. senator writes a book making the case.
Is the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act even Affordable?
As David Catron points out in the American Spectator:
On the (sixth) anniversary of its passage, the White House issued a statement from Obama containing all manner of hilarious claims including the following howler: “Thanks in part to this law, health care prices have risen at the lowest rate in 50 years … premiums for a family with job-based coverage are almost $2,600 lower than if trends from the decade before the law had continued.” As Emily Zanotti pointed out in this space, not even Chelsea Clinton buys that whopper.
The president’s claim that job-based family coverage costs less than it would had he refrained from meddling with health care flunks the laugh test. Employer-based health insurance premiums have continued to rise unabated. And, as the Kaiser Family Foundation reports, “Since 2010, both the share of workers with deductibles and the size of those deductibles have increased sharply. These two trends together result in a 67 percent increase in deductibles since 2010.” In his statement, however, Obama makes a specious claim about premiums while studiously ignoring skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs.
The cost of using the mandated policies have been prohibitive because of the large deductibles and co-pays which left many Americans not only with a policy they couldn’t afford, but also with one they couldn’t afford to use. Those who cannot afford the insurance, even with a subsidy, are faced with a costly penalty, and in many cases, this, too, becomes difficult, if not impossible, to pay. As each year’s subsidy is based on last year’s income, there will be a substantial year-end tax liability for those who must repay the subsidy in whole or part because their income increased during the year. The stress alone from such a regressive scheme is, without a doubt, not conducive to good health and well-being.
The demand that Obamacare places on household budgets in which there is no slack makes one wonder where the president’s economists were while the insurance lobby crafted the product that serves the profits of insurance companies. Two well-known economic facts are that real family income has been stagnant or declining for a number of years and Americans are over their heads in debt.
Politico’s ‘Lie of the Year: “If You Like Your Healthcare plan, You Can Keep It”
When Obama was pitching Obamacare, he realized people would be concerned about losing their current insurance and paying higher prices. If the American public believed this, Obamacare would be dead on arrival. So, he repeatedly insisted that this would NOT be the case.
The bill mandated that all policies increase their coverage and the federal government would establish what a minimum health insurance would have to include. Existing plans that did not meet the minimums would be illegal.
Amid rising drug and health care costs and roiling market dynamics, the spokesperson for the nation’s health insurers is predicting substantial increases for 2017 in Obamacare premiums and related costs.
Without venturing a specific percentage increase, Marilyn Tavenner, the president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), said in an interview with Morning Consult that the culmination of market shifts and rising health care costs will force stark increases in health insurance rates in the coming year.
“I’ve been asked, what are the premiums going to look like?” she said. “I don’t know because it also varies by state, market, even within markets. But I think the overall trend is going to be higher than we saw previous years. That’s my big prediction.”
If Tavenner is right, Obamacare will jump dramatically—last year’s premium for the popular silver-level plan surged 11 percent on average. Although Tavenner didn’t mention deductibles, in 2016, some states saw jumps of 76 percent, while the average deductible for a 27-year-old male on a silver plan was 8 percent.
Tavenner outlined several factors that she could put considerable pressure on premium prices next year. Those include:
- A general rise in the nation’s health care tab. Overall, U.S. health care spending grew by 5.3 percent in 2014 – reaching an historic level of $3 trillion, after years of relative cost stability. Medical costs rise from year to year and will certainly affect the next round of premium hikes.
- Soaring prescription drug prices. Insurers as well as government health care programs have been struggling to keep pace with rising drug prices, especially newer specialty drugs to treat the Hepatitis-C virus and cancer. Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., Allergan PLC and other companies have raised U.S. prices for scores of branded drugs since late December, with many of the increases between 9 percent and 10 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- The combination of market forces and limitations imposed by the Affordable Care Act will put enormous pressure on insurers to up their premiums. Under the law, there is a cap on insurers’ profits, companies are obliged to insure anyone regardless of their general health or pre-existing conditions, and the insurance plans must be structured in a certain way that often lead to losses.
- Finally, two of three federal “risk mitigation” programs created under Obamacare are due to expire in 2017. Those programs were set up to protect insurers from huge, unexpected losses from providing health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. UnitedHealth and other major insurers have found it difficult to accurately anticipate their costs in providing coverage to sicker or older Americans, and set premiums that were inadequate to cover their risks. Without those programs to fall back on, many companies likely will seek to jack up their premiums.
Does the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act even Protect Patients?
No. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections about things to come: “Over the next few years, more employers are expected to respond to the availability of coverage through the marketplaces by declining to offer insurance to their employees. As employers change their insurance offerings, some of their employees are expected to enroll in coverage through [Obamacare exchanges].”
Is Obamacare Good for Jobs or Bad for Jobs?
Another unkeepable promise: Obamacare “will create 4 million jobs, 400,000 jobs almost immediately.” The Congressional Budget Office’s budget director estimated the law would actually destroy 800,000 jobs. In a February 2016 article in Forbes magazine, Michael Cannon says it has done just that:
“There is plenty of evidence to show Obamacare has indeed caused layoffs and reduced hours worked and incomes.” With the help of his intern, they “turned up reports from nearly every state showing that Obamacare is forcing employers to eliminate jobs, reduce hiring, and reduce workers’ hours to below 30 per week (the threshold above which ObamaCare’s employer mandate applies)
On June 3, 2016 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the worst jobs report in almost six years. The US economy only added 38,000 jobs, less than a tenth of the estimated 458,000 Americans who left the workforce. In fact, thanks to revisions made to the March and April reports, that exceeds the number of jobs created in the past three months (348,000) by more than 100,000. The workforce participation rate dropped back to 62.6 percent, near a 40-year low, and more than three full points below its level at the start of the recovery in June 2009 (65.7 percent). And the part that may be even worse is that these numbers are inflated in Obama’s favor. In an August 2015 article by Justin Haskins at The Blaze.com, he says, “whoever said ‘numbers don’t lie’, probably didn’t spend much time working at the BLS,” as he goes on yo point out many ways the numbers are manipulated. If you’ve ‘given up on looking for a job’, are ‘close to retirement’ then you don’t count regardless of whether you want a job or not. This is how you get to a 2,3% increase in jobs in 2015 while adding more than 6 million people to welfare.
In addition, according to the TheFiscalTimes.com:
An economist at Johns Hopkins called into question the seasonal adjustment calculations used by the BLS. Jonathan Wright recalculated the data and concluded that the economy had lost 4,000 jobs. Instead of a three-month average jobs gain of 116,000 – well below the 131,000-jobs – added level needed to keep up with population growth at a workforce participation rate of 62.6 percent — the three-month average was actually 107,000, and 114,000 for all of 2016.
On top of that, the second estimate of first-quarter GDP growth came in at an annualized rate of 0.8 percent, just short of contraction. The jobs market and the economy have both stalled. We have not experienced annual GDP growth above 2.5 percent in any year since recovery began in June 2009, making this the weakest recovery in the post-