Video: We gotta fix Obamacare’s crushing costs, says … Chelsea Clinton

posted at 7:21 pm on March 24, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats insist that ObamaCare has proven to be a great success, but they also keep wanting to fix it, too. More experienced hands than Chelsea Clinton have tried to square that circle and have wound up looking like an apologist for socialism’s failures; Bernie Sanders avoided it by going full single-payer and producing an $18 trillion price tag for the program. The younger Clinton promised that her mother would fix the “crushing costs” — through the same kind of executive action that largely created the problem in the first place (via Shoshana Weissmann):

A video shows Chelsea Clinton blasting the “crushing costs” of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. In the video, Chelsea Clinton tells a crowd that her mother, Hillary Clinton, is open to using executive action to reduce “crushing costs” of Obamacare.

“…cap on out of pocket expenses. This was part of my mom’s original plan back in ’93 and ’94, as well as premium costs. We can either do that directly or through tax credits. And, kind of figuring out whether she could do that through executive action, or she would need to do that through tax credits working with Congress. She thinks either of those will help solve the challenge of kind of the crushing costs that still exist for too many people, who even are part of the Affordable Care Act and buying insurance…”

Yes, and part of that is not just the crushing cost of the insurance, but the crushing costs involved in getting past the huge deductibles in order to access it. When challenged about the former, ObamaCare’s defenders always insist that subsidies reduce the cost, which is actually inaccurate. They might reduce the effective price to the consumer, but the rest of the costs get borne by everyone else through taxation, so premium price hikes matter — a lot. When the subject of deductibles comes up, ObamaCare defenders usually just change the subject a lot rather than deal with the reality that they’ve made health insurance almost useless for most people in the system, but still saddled them with its costs.

Robert Moffit explained earlier this week that ObamaCare doesn’t just exacerbate the “crushing costs” of insurance, but of all health care:

Courtesy of the Affordable Care Act, public spending is outpacing private spending. For 2015, the Congressional Budget Office reports that the federal government spent a total of $936 billion on health programs (for example, Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act), a 13 percent increase over the 2014 level.

For 2015, the Congressional Budget Office reports that Medicare spending increased almost 7 percent, the fastest rate of growth since 2007; and, over the period 2013 to 2015. They also report that Medicaid spending alone jumped by 32 percent. …

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data show that total per capitahealth insurance spending will rise from $7,786 in 2016 to $11,681 in 2024. Looking at the future of employer-based health insurance costs, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that job-based premiums are poised to increase by almost 60 percent between now and 2025.

Obamacare’s cheerleaders have allowed their exuberance to outrun their supply lines. Medicare trustee Charles Blahous best summarized the problem:

“Given how the ACA’s advocates touted the law as ‘bending the cost curve down and reducing the deficit’ while occasionally in the same sentence crediting it with expanding coverage to ‘more than 94 percent of Americans’, many Americans could be forgiven for not understanding that those two goals were in conflict.”

Small businesses were promised that ObamaCare would have tax incentives that would lower their costs. How has that worked out? The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) states that their members have discovered it doesn’t:

“The tax credit is exceedingly complicated to verify eligibility and claim the credit. The IRS estimates that record keeping requirements to claim the credit average just under 11 hours for most filers. The education component is estimated to take about 1½ hours. And finally the time spent preparing and filing is estimated to take an average of 2 hours and 46 minutes. While most small employers use a tax preparer for their business, the costs associated with claiming the tax credit will deter many from going through the process in the first place.

“Since 2010, NFIB has received numerous complaints from small business owners regarding the complexity of the tax credit. Some owners called to say that even their tax preparer told them the credit was not worth the extra costs associated with determining eligibility and filling out the paperwork.”

What’s more, the Obamacare tax credit’s “design is exceedingly restrictive, complicated, and only offers limited and temporary relief,” Wade told the House subcommittee. …

“Small business owners rank the cost of health insurance as their most severe problem in operating their business out of 75 potential issues, with 56 percent of small business owners finding it a “critical” problem.”

And now Chelsea wants people to keep backing ObamaCare despite all of this, on the promise that more top-down executive action to further extend central control over a market will make it healthier. It’s basically the “hair of the dog” approach — drinking more alcohol to avoid getting the hangover that comes with sobriety after a binge.

 

 

 


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