One year from today — and perhaps much sooner Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and other Republican “extremists” will look like heroes. For trying recently to defund the (un)Affordable Care Act, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid smeared them as “anarchists,” and both liberals and some weak-kneed Republicans have offered their own denunciations.
But as the S.S. Obamacare traverses dangerous seas, these brave conservatives will look increasingly like dockhands who begged passengers to avoid a reputedly invincible craft. “Stay off the ship,” they shouted before it embarked. “It’s going to sink!”
While the GOP’s role in this month’s partial federal shutdown has cut its public support, Republicans who stood athwart this program yelling, “Stop!” will look prescient as the Obamacare’s staterooms grow sopping wet. Its engine room already is armpit-deep in ice water. Rather than powerful pistons to propel the massive liner, healthcare.gov resembles an outboard motor that wheezes, coughs, and mainly conks out.
Consumer Reports advises: “Stay away from HealthCare.gov for at least another month, if you can.”
The gashes in ObamaCare’s hull will scream for attention as its maiden journey becomes a voyage of the damned.
• Plenty more Americans will get letters like the one I received Monday:
“Your existing policy will end and be replaced with a new policy,” reads my insurer’s notice. “These changes are required by federal health care reform, called the Affordable Care Act.”
According to Kaiser Health News, Pittsburgh’s Highmark insurance and Philadelphia’s Independence Blue Cross are canceling “guaranteed issue” policies, mainly for those with pre-existing conditions. In California, Blue Shield ended coverage for 119,000 individuals, and Kaiser Permanente tossed 160,000 people. Florida Blue terminated 300,000 men and women or 80 percent of its individual market.
“Sixteen million people are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage,” explained Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates.
Nope. Federal diktat. Obamacare mandates that all individual and small-group plans feature “essential health benefits,” including services for substance abuse, mental health and maternity. Plans lacking such features will be illegal and are being jettisoned.
• Many Americans should expect to pay lots more for coverage.
As the Manhattan Institute recently reported, women in the individual market can expect premiums to soar 62 percent next year. A 99 percent hike awaits men.
The Heritage Foundation forecast that nongroup premiums will fall in Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Virtually everywhere else, however, Americans will suffer.
A family of four Texans can expect to pay 29.5 percent more for an average Obamacare plan, versus today’s typical coverage. A 50-year old Vermonter will face 61 percent higher premiums, while a Floridian that age will pay 75 percent more. And a 27-year-old Arizonan paying 157 percent extra for Obamacare will cry for a similar Virginian whose coverage will climb 252.5 percent.
For taxpayers, Obamacare’s 10-year cost has ballooned from $900 billion at enactment in March 2010 to $2.6 trillion today.
This ever-expanding outlay will swell the national debt, now at $17 trillion, and growing.
• This entire juggernaut needs some 2.7 million generally lower-income young people (who usually need little medicine) to subsidize older people (who tend to have more money and need more care). When young Americans weigh this “deal,” many and probably most will remain on their parents’ plans until age 26 (which the immeasurably brilliant Obama foolishly demanded) or pay modest noncoverage penalties and savor their presumed immortality.
Thus, the rivets will pop, the decks will buckle, and Obama’s mighty steamer will slide into the sea.
From steerage to the smokestacks, panicked passengers increasingly will say: “We should have heeded those stevedores who insisted we remain ashore. We should have ignored the crew’s promises that we would stay afloat, no matter what.”
And, by November 2014, the S.S. Obamacare’s passengers will focus their rage on the captain and his officers on the doomed vessel’s bridge.