Rubio: We’ll win on ObamaCare in the long run, because it’s unsustainable

posted at 12:41 pm on October 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

True, but this also prompts the question of why the GOP decided to shut down the government in a futile attempt to dislodge Democrats in the Senate and Barack Obama from their dream legislation.  As Marco Rubio says, it’s going to collapse of its own weight, and probably a lot sooner than anyone expected.  Why not force Democrats to vote down a delay — we already had 39 repeals on the record that Democrats ignored — and set the markers for the 2014 election?

It’s water under the bridge now, and Rubio wants to cheer up the troops:

We have missed a golden opportunity to do something about it. But we haven’t given up the fight. The one thing I want people to understand is: They should not feel depressed about this or discouraged about the long term of it. We are going to prevail on this issue. It is just a matter of time. We will prevail because ObamaCare is going to be a disaster. And it won’t be long before many people in this town will be scrambling to try to fix it.

How so? Well, Gabriel Malor points out that the exchange itself is a disaster that will keep lots of people from complying with the law, and will badly miss the White House’s own expectations:

In the memo, officials estimated that 494,620 people would sign up for health insurance under the program by Oct. 31. And that was portrayed as a slow start.

“We expect enrollment in the initial months to be low,” said the memo titled “Projected Monthly Enrollment Targets for Health Insurance Marketplaces in 2014.”

A big jump was expected after Thanksgiving, since Dec. 15 is the last day people can sign up so their coverage will take effect Jan. 1. Starting in the new year, the health care law requires virtually all Americans to have insurance or face fines. At the same time, insurance companies will be forbidden from turning away people in poor health.

That’s just the mechanism, which is bad enough.  Worse yet for Democrats — and as we’ve discussed for years at Hot Air — the voters who will get skewered the worst are those in the big progressive demographic of twenty-somethings.  Heritage unveiled a study yesterday that shows, unsurprisingly, that the young workers will carry twice the burden while getting nearly nothing from the benefits:

The Obama Administration is desperate for younger people to enroll to prevent an adverse selection death spiral. As pointed out by Sam Cappellanti at the American Action Forum, “The enrollment of these low cost young adults…is essential as they are required to subsidize the costs of insuring the elderly and chronically ill.”[6] However, young adults face a penalty for not enrolling that is projected to be far less than the insurance coverage they could receive.

Our findings confirm that younger populations see larger percentage increases in premiums. A state that exhibits this clearly is Vermont, where the increase for 27-year-olds is 144 percent and the increase for 50-year-olds is still 60 percent, but far less. All states exhibit this relationship.

Many individuals will experience sticker shock when shopping on the exchanges. It is clear that many policies and cross-subsidization within Obamacare will lead to upward shifts in premiums. These policies include the health insurance tax, essential health benefit and actuarial value regulations, less allowed age variability in premiums, community rating, and guaranteed issue.[7] However, real uncertainty, amidst a rocky start, surrounds what enrollment will look like in the exchanges.

Obamacare will leave many people paying more for their health insurance. The healthcare.gov website is learning to crawl, with additional data trickling in. However, based on information already released by HHS, states, and insurance plans, the claims of savings on premiums for the average participant is a fantasy.

Kevin Glass notes that premiums for this demographic more than double in eleven states.  It’s not much better for 50-year-olds, either.  Only in five states do premiums decline, largely because the ACA replaces worse regulation in those states. The same is true for families of four, although the increases are not as sharp, and the decreases in the five states are all less than 7%.

This kind of sticker shock will be epic, and it won’t just occur at the point of sale.  That’s why my column for The Fiscal Times today on the lessons of the shutdown ends on an optimistic note, too:

4 – Cheer up. Despite the undeniable flop of this strategy and the embarrassment of staging a two-week shutdown with nothing to show for it, it’s not the end of the world for Republicans. By avoiding the debt limit and potentially crossing the Rubicon of a default (and there is considerable doubt as to whether that would actually be the case), the damage to the GOP will be minimal.  The 1996 shutdown did less damage to Republicans than conventional wisdom holds, and in this case the next election won’t have an incumbent President on the top of the ticket.

Instead, the focus can now shift to the disastrous impact of the ACA itself, which voters left in place with their choices in 2012. It’s not just the federal exchange, which will eventually get fixed.  Premiums have skyrocketed . Americans will now have to spend thousands of dollars more on health care whether they receive subsidies on the exchanges or not.  The sticker shock on the premium prices will crescendo over the next few weeks, and the out-of-pocket expense growth will continue all year until the midterm elections.

By that time, it won’t matter whether we had a partial government shutdown for a couple of weeks, or who won or lost this skirmish. What will matter is that the electorate will finally realize that the so-called Affordable Care Act turned out to be anything but affordable, and that nothing will change as long as Democrats remain in charge.  That will give Republicans a chance to incrementally improve their position and prepare for the possibility of a repeal in 2017 – if the coalition on the Right can keep from savaging itself over strategies and tactics in between.

The only path to dismantling ObamaCare is to win elections in 2014 and 2016. That will require the Right to keep its political guns turned outward rather than inward.


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