The White House postponed the enforcement of the employer mandate until 2015, but that doesn’t mean that the coverage mandates in ObamaCare haven’t had an impact on employer-based group plans already. Debra Fishericks managed her kidney cancer through employer-based coverage, and both she and her employer were satisfied with the coverage and pricing. Now, however, the changes have forced Atkinson Realty to give up on covering their employees, and Fishericks can’t find anything comparable to replace it at anything close to the price she and her employer paid previously:
“At her office in Virginia Beach, Debra Fishericks often sneeks a peek at her 3 year old grandson. … Debra is battling kidney cancer. During the 10 years she’s worked at Atkinson Realty, the company has provided group health insurance with manageable premiums,” says reporter Susan McGinnis.
“We were happy,” says the business owner. “We had great insurance. We had continuing care for our employees.”
Says the owner, “Great–until owner Betsy Atkinson learned the policy would be terminated because it doesn’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.”
Democrats want Barack Obama to fix the website, but as this shows, that’s the just the tip of the massive iceberg:
President Obama has to get healthcare working smoothly if he is to have any chance of breathing life into his second term, according to Democratic strategists and other observers.
The Democrats were speaking before the announcement of an interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program over the weekend, and they also acknowledged that Obama cannot ignore the rest of his agenda, including climate change, immigration reform and efforts to improve the economy. But, once the initial flurry of coverage over the Geneva accord subsides, it remains likely that healthcare will overshadow everything once again.
“Until this thing is working better, the conversation is naturally going to go to, ‘Is this thing working? When is it going to work?’” said Steve McMahon, a veteran of Democratic campaigns including Howard Dean’s 2004 White House bid.
Making the website work better won’t improve the situation of Fishericks and millions like her who will get dumped from their insurance plans this year, and the tens of millions who have that happen just before the midterms next year. In fact, it might accelerate the process and make the political situation even worse. The problem is the law itself, not just the website. For instance, here’s the experience of a couple of Obama voters with the ObamaCare regime:
I went to a friend and colleague—let’s call him Peter—for advice. He also had his individual medical policy cancelled because of Obamacare. “I’m stuck on the same question—income,” he told me. Peter does a little writing, a little farming, a little this and that to keep the ship afloat. “I got through to the exchange, and the woman there told me to just estimate what my income would be this year.” In other words: Make it up. If he overestimated, he’d be screwing himself out of a subsidy, Peter said. If he underestimated, he’d be hit with a big fat bill. He wasn’t sure he wouldn’t also be accused of fraud. So he called his accountant, who’s also a lawyer.
That only got him so far. At a certain point in the conversation, the accountant/lawyer had to get off the phone. “I have to stop answering your questions,” he told Peter. “I can’t ethically advise you, because honestly I don’t know the right thing to do. Nobody does. There are no answers. Right now it’s a complete clusterfuck.”
Last week the frustration of people like Peter and me—Obamacare supporters who lost their current plans—was heard by the White House, which promptly panicked. On Thursday, President Obama announced a policy change that would allow insurance companies like Regence to keep customers like me on the old Wood plan for one more year. To that I say: Hah! Thanks for nothing. …
Out here in the Land of the Brand of You, we don’t want cheap twelve-month extensions. We’re willing to suck it up and pay our fair share for health insurance. We want the exchanges to work. We’re not demanding a last-minute reprieve that threatens the stability of the entire system. What we’re asking for is clarity and competence.
If this is an iceberg, then the Democrats are the Titanic, and they’re still steaming right into it.