“If you like your doctor or health care plan,” Barack Obama repeatedly promised, “you can keep it.” Politifact rated that as “half true,” but for at least 2 million Americans, it’s a pants-on-fire lie from the White House. CBS reports this morning that their contacts in the insurance industry confirm that millions have been booted from existing plans, and millions more may follow.
And as for those who claim that this is “anecdotal,” CBS provides an explicit rebuttal:
It’s an unexpected reality of Obamacare being told through anecdotes in local papers and on social media. But the hard numbers reveal the evidence is far more than anecdotal. CBS News has confirmed with insurance companies across the country that more than two million people are getting notices they no longer can keep their existing plans. In California, there are 279,000; in Michigan, 140,000; Florida, 300,000; and in New Jersey, 800,000. And those numbers are certain to go even higher. Some companies who tell CBS News they’ve sent letters won’t say how many.
Industry experts like Larry Levitt, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, say the insurance companies have no choice. “What we’re seeing now is reality coming into play,” he said.
Obamacare forces them to drop many of their plans that don’t meet the law’s 10 minimum standards, including maternity care, emergency visits, mental health treatment and even pediatric dental care.
That means consumers have to sign on to new plans even if they don’t want or need the more generous coverage.
Well, it’s not unexpected for the White House and HHS, which made decisions three years ago that guaranteed millions would be pushed out of existing plans. Levitt estimates that after subsidies are applied, about half will pay less in premiums while half will pay more, but that doesn’t take into account the escalating deductibles on the new plans.
The “subsidies will cover the difference” response also doesn’t address a fundamental truth about ObamaCare: it’s making everything more expensive, not just premiums. Premiums increase as costs go up; that’s a fundamental point in risk-pool economics. The subsidies only hide that cost, and don’t even do that well. The subsidies will come from higher taxes and/or borrowing, and those taxes will be paid by Americans on top of the premiums they are now forced to absorb. The only difference is that the taxes are indirect — either through income-tax increases or on costs associated with higher taxes on medical devices and services.
Other shoes will drop soon. We have yet to start seeing the impact of reduced access to physicians, some of whom will opt out entirely to remodel their business on a small, membership-based clientele. The New York Post points out that this trend has already begun (via Drudge):
New York doctors are treating ObamaCare like the plague, a new survey reveals.
A poll conducted by the New York State Medical Society finds that 44 percent of MDs said they are not participating in the nation’s new health-care plan.
Another 33 percent say they’re still not sure whether to become ObamaCare providers.
Only 23 percent of the 409 physicians queried said they’re taking patients who signed up through health exchanges.
“This is so poorly designed that a lot of doctors are afraid to participate,” said Dr. Sam Unterricht, president of the 29,000-member organization. “There’s a lot of resistance. Doctors don’t know what they’re going to get paid.”
When all of this hits home, Democrats will look back on the Healthcare.gov failures wistfully, as a golden age of their credibility on health-care reform.