When it became obvious a couple of years ago that Obamacare would accelerate health care inflation, the law’s boosters began claiming that cost control was never its primary goal. PPACA’s promoters had previously promised that it would reduce annual health care expenses by $2,500 per family while improving access and quality of care. But the facts forced them to abandon that pledge and adopt a safer party line. As expressed by the New York Times, the new story goes thus: “At its most basic level, the Affordable Care Act was intended to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance.”
A new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation may cause Obamacare partisans to regret retreating to that position. According to the KFF study, 53 percent of ACA eligible adults who remain uninsured cited cost as the main reason: “When asked why they lacked insurance coverage, more than half of adults who appear to be eligible for assistance volunteered that coverage was too expensive.” That’s right. A law that will cost $2 trillion over the next decade is unable to fulfill the one promise “reform’s” advocates still admit to making on its behalf. Obamacare’s last claim to legitimacy has vanished.
We are told by the President and his fourth estate flunkies that millions have enrolled via Obamacare’s exchanges and, presumably, at least a few have actually done so. But this administration’s habit of promulgating fraudulent enrollment figures makes it difficult to know how many legitimate sign-ups there have been. The folks at the Kaiser Family Foundation, on the other hand, have a good handle on how many failed to make the cut. And a lot of Americans lacked coverage when KFF finished its survey in December: “30 million people reported that they were uninsured as of the date of the interview.”
Adding insult to injury, millions of these people will be forced to pay fines for failing to buy health insurance coverage that Obamacare has rendered unaffordable. As the Wall Street Journal explains, “About 2% to 4% of tax filers are expected to have to pay the fine for not having carried insurance in 2014, which is $95 per adult, or 1% of family income.” And the White House is getting nervous. Robert Pear writes in the New York Times, “Obama administration officials… say they worry that the tax-filing season will generate new anger as uninsured consumers learn that they must pay tax penalties.”
Such is the genius of our Beltway masters. They pass a law that distorts the insurance market so badly that coverage becomes unaffordable, then fine people for failing to buy it. Next, of course, these brilliant statesmen will try to escape the consequences of their meddling by giving special dispensations to those whose lives they have disrupted. Robert Pear continues, “The White House has already granted some exemptions and is considering more to avoid a political firestorm.” The Obama administration is like a drunk driver offering money to someone he has sideswiped so she won’t telephone the police.
Meanwhile, beyond the walls of the Washington rehab ward, the Kaiser Foundation survey contains more bad news about the President’s “signature domestic achievement.” Contrary to the claims of Obama and his media mouthpieces, the fortunate few who can still afford coverage have continued to experience problems finding their way through the labyrinthine Obamacare sign-up process: “Nearly two-thirds of uninsured adults who sought ACA coverage said they had some difficulty with finding out how to apply, filling in the information, assembling the paperwork, or submitting the application.”
And mere eligibility combined with the perseverance to navigate the application process is by no means a guarantee that an uninsured individual can sign up for an “affordable” health insurance policy. The Kaiser survey continues, “Among those who did try to get ACA coverage, the most common reason people gave for not having ACA coverage was that they were told they were ineligible.… This pattern holds among those who appear eligible for financial help under the ACA.” In other words, the HHS bureaucrats who “help” enrollees remain as clueless as they were the day Healthcare.gov was launched.
All of which suggests that those “news” reports in the legacy media about the rapidly declining uninsured rate should be taken with several metric tons of salt. The Kaiser survey certainly confirms the wisdom of such skepticism. In fact, no less than 20 percent of the uninsured individuals interviewed by KFF lost their insurance after the implementation of Obamacare: “[O]ne in five uninsured adults actually lost coverage in 2014.” Perhaps this is why public opinion surveys have consistently shown that the vast majority of uninsured Americans view the “Affordable Care Act” with a jaundiced eye.
Which brings us back to the party line. If the point of passing Obamacare was to provide coverage for most of the uninsured, and the KFF survey clearly demonstrates that it isn’t accomplishing that goal, what’s the point of preserving it? It has increased the cost of health care, reduced access, and had no effect at all on quality of care. What are we getting for our $2 trillion? It hasn’t even helped the Democrats who forced it on us. Their party has been decimated by voters outraged at the depredations of the beast. Isn’t it about time to drive a stake through the heart of this monster? Delenda est Obamacare.