Politics

80 million more ObamaCare insurance cancellations

80 million more ObamaCare insurance cancellations

As Fox News recalls, the Administration’s own (carefully suppressed) estimates in 2010 anticipated tens of millions of people would lose their insurance due to ObamaCare, because the old plans don’t meet the expensive new mandates.  A new study from the American Enterprise Institute confirms that 80 million or more policies in the group insurance market could soon fall prey to the same forces currently ravaging the individual market:

Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute said that in addition to the individual cancellations, “at least half the people on employer plans would by 2014 start losing plans as well.” There are approximately 157 million employer health care policy holders.

Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute added, “the administration estimated that approximately 78 million Americans with employer sponsored insurance would lose their existing coverage due to the Affordable Care Act.”

Last week, an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, showed the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predicted up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.

According to projections the administration itself issued back in July 2010, it was clear officials knew the impact of ObamaCare three years ago.

In fact, according to the Federal Register, its mid-range estimate was that by the end of 2014, 76 percent of small group plans would be cancelled, along with 55 percent of large employer plans.

It’s the Armageddon everyone knows is coming, but nobody in the Administration wants to talk about, a desire thus far indulged by the eternally incurious media.  As with the crisis in the individual market, ObamaCare critics accurately predicted the employer market cancellations on Day One.  It’s not difficult to predict that heavy government mandates will wipe out a product, or make it radically more expensive.  The curious thing about the new prediction from AEI is that the secretive Administration forecast was actually worse… and that was made before the Department of Health and Human Services began pumping out those incredibly restrictive rules for terminating existing policies, becoming a death panel for your grandfather plan.  Perhaps the original estimates foresaw these cancellations occurring over a couple of years, but the grandfather rules are accelerating the process.

This would seem like a big problem for the Administration heading into the midterm elections.  How are they going to deal with tens of millions of cancellations, when the fallout from 5 million has thrown Democrats into a panic?  The President has already moved to delay insurance registration until after the midterm elections, which might hold the “sticker shock” at bay a little, although it seems like he’s trying to put out a raging forest fire with a squirt gun.  The tidal wave of cancellations, combined with stories of big premium hikes and lost doctor access in the individual market, could make the fear of November’s sticker shock even worse than the actuality in October might have been.  Unless the White House has a plan to delay the group insurance cancellation tsunami until past the election – perhaps with the assistance of a Republican “fix” bill – there must be a plan B.

There is, and it’s called “Medicaid.”  The Administration’s survival strategy appears to be oriented around playing up the enormous increase in Medicaid enrollments as a result of their ObamaCare expansion… even though Medicaid is a straight-up welfare program that has nothing to do with “health insurance.”

Politico has an article that explains the White House isn’t even trying to defend the ObamaCare debacle any more, which will come as sobering news to the hapless drones who were just armed with talking points by the Obama political machine, and instructed to pick fights with dissident family members over Thanksgiving dinner.  They’ve been drafted into a battle that Obama and his top officials aren’t even planning to fight any more!  Instead, they’re going state-to-state to tout the Medicaid expansion, and issue dire warnings about all the newly-minted beneficiaries who would be left to die, if the rest of the ObamaCare boondoggle gets repealed.  The funny thing is that Obama loves to refer to his opponents as “hostage-takers.”

President Barack Obama has bungled HealthCare.gov so badly that he’s told senior aides to not even try to win positive coverage from the national press.

Instead, they’re going local.

In the past month, Obama and his Cabinet have hit nine of the top 10 cities with the highest concentration of the uninsured, while senior administration officials have held almost daily reporter conference calls in nearly a dozen states to challenge Republican governors who refuse to expand Medicaid.

Obama’s political arm, Organizing for Action, is taking a similar approach, holding protests — some only attended by a dozen or so people — that win coverage on the local pages of the nation’s small-town newspapers.

And we all know that a dozen well-connected left-wing activists can get better media coverage than a vast assembly of, say, pro-life activists.  It will be tricky to find ways of photographing these “events” to conceal the way reporters outnumber the activists, but I’m sure plenty of cameramen will be up to the task.

The centerpiece of the local strategy is the White House’s campaign against Republican governors or legislatures in 24 states that have declined to accept federal money to open up Medicaid to 5.4 million people. With a faulty website, the White House has lost much of the high ground to push back on Obamacare attacks over the last two months, but the one exception is the GOP resistance to expand Medicaid access, said a senior administration official.

Republicans have made a big deal of the canceled policies on the individual market, the official said, but the GOP is responsible for leaving millions of Americans in limbo. This population earns too much to sign up for Medicaid and too little to qualify for tax subsidies to purchase private insurance in the exchanges.

On the local media calls, administration officials quantify the impact state-by-state. In Nebraska, for example, the White House targeted Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, saying his refusal to expand Medicaid leaves 48,000 residents without access to affordable coverage.

“They can score short-term political points by attacking the Affordable Care Act and blocking Medicaid expansion,” Earnest told Nebraska media last week. “Or on the other hand, they can actually save taxpayer dollars and ensure that thousands of their residents … would have access to quality, affordable health care.”

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post writes approvingly of the strategy to use Medicaid recipients as hostages to protect ObamaCare, and warns Republicans not to underestimate its effectiveness.  It won’t matter how much the rest of us suffer, as long as a motivated base of voters is getting “free” stuff at our expense, right?

If the website gets fixed, Democrats will be helping those people get coverage, and in many cases they may find they like it better. Meanwhile, Republicans will be faced with a choice between continued Total War against the law, including the Medicaid expansion, and the “moral imperative they face to direct these constituents toward new options.” Worse, Republicans will continue to face pressure from the right not to accommodate the Medicaid expansion, an issue that is already dividing GOP governorsand even emerging as an issue in GOP primaries.

Will Dems campaign aggressively on the Medicaid expansion? For them, the politics of the issue may well turn on how it’s framed. Polls show that majorities of Americans think the health law will help poor people and those without insurance, but not that it will help them or the country overall. Dems may well worry that if the Medicaid expansion gets framed solely as expanding a government program for the poor — the handout that McConnell describes — it could put them at risk. Dems will probably emphasize that the expansion is sound budgetary policy, arguing that it makes sense for states to accept huge amounts of federal money.  (Terry McAuliffe won in the purple state of Virginia while emphasizing both of those framings.)

At first red state Dems may shy away from the Medicaid expansion a bit. But ultimately, if Obamacare works over time, Republicans may be the ones who are really left struggling to explain their stance on it.

Yes, everything is “free” when the happy elves of the federal government print up bales of money and hand it off to states.  Pennies from heaven?  That’s the most sound budgetary policy imaginable!  Say, where does Washington get all its money, again?  Oh, well, never mind, they can just invent it out of thin air for a couple of years, get the Democrats through a couple of tough elections, and then tell everyone how gigantic tax increases are now inevitable to fight the monster federal deficit, and if you disagree you’re like a deadbeat diner trying to skip out on your check after somebody else ate all your food, or something.

It’s somewhat refreshing to see liberal gangster government backed into a corner, abandoning all that high-minded gabble about technocratic insurance reform and playing its old, ugly game of buying votes with other peoples’ money.  Perhaps these Democrats would like to explain why, if Medicaid expansion was the answer to all problems, they didn’t just propose that, and let the rest of us keep our health care plans.  We could have had a giant Medicaid expansion without the other 70,000 pages of ObamaCare regulation, the billions of dollars spent on poorly-screened “navigators” and a busted website, Constitution-shredding mandates, and all the jobs lost because businesses are afraid to hire employee number 50.  But of course, back in 2010, those technocratic pretensions and false promises of affordable care for everyone were necessary to conceal a welfare expansion that might have encountered a good deal of resistance from the people expected to pay for it.  ObamaCare is a very complicated con job, and the last of the suckers has yet to notice that his wallet is missing.

Update: I thought it was fairly well-known at this point, but CBS News is making headlines by reporting that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have known big employer insurance cancellations were coming since 2010.  The report was delivered over the legend “Broken Promises,” which has got to be making some people in the Obama political operation grind their teeth.

This report talks about 14 million employees losing their health insurance, another grim reminder of Obama’s Big Lie, and bad news for some smaller lies White House spokesman Jay Carney has been peddling during his frantic damage-control efforts.  I wonder if the 14 million figure is meant to represent a net loss, after a much larger number of policies are canceled, and replaced with more expensive employer-provided coverage that meets the Affordable Care Act mandates.

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