The writing has been on the wall for some time. Our great fears are coming to pass and no one is taking the steps to fix what is clearly a bad and ill-conceived law.
Even staunch Democratic sponsors of the legislation known as the Affordable Health Care Act have called it a “train wreck” waiting to happen. Well, the wreck has already happened and its true effects will continue to ripple through the country as it destroys the economy and the millions of American families who have lost their insurance coverage and the many more who will be unable to afford coverage under the new plan.
The Affordable Health Care Act proposed and driven into law by President Obama in 2009 has been everything but affordable. The President promised it would be “revenue neutral” and he promised we could keep the plans we had in place as well as our doctor. All false promises, unfortunately aimed at getting votes — not solving problems.
To date, the ACA, which is scheduled to go into full effect later this year, has seen over 30 portions of the legislation delayed primarily due to poor preparation by the Administration. The website continues to be a terrible disappointment and the navigators hired to assist Americans signing up have failed to fill the void.
Ah, but just wait — the high-cost marketing campaigns rolling out will certainly put the Act back on track. These will focus on luring the healthy youth, recently referred to by Mrs. Obama as “Knuckleheads,” to purchase health insurance policies through the marketplace in order to support the many elderly and sick who have taken advantage of the government subsidies.
To top it all off, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has released their report indicating that the Act will add more than $1 trillion to the federal deficit which is already at the critical stage! We’re getting exactly what we asked for when we started believing in campaign promises.
So how is the Act affecting businesses in our region? We received an early glance through our sister publishing company in Central New York that just received their renewal notice for the coming year. The watered-down traditional Excellus EPO plan will see a 21.3 percent rate increase this coming year. The Health Saving Account, which carries a high deductible where employees pay everything upfront, without the benefit of co-pays, will see an increase of approximately 12 percent.
Our policy renewal comes in a few months but we’ve already been told by our insurance broker to expect similar increases. From a small employer’s standpoint, we’ve attended many meetings prompting us to be ready for implementation. We’ve made changes to our plans and we’ve made certain our employees were all enlightened to the pending changes coming our way. The Administration was not ready to implement the law, wasting not only time but billions of dollars. Now they appear to be more concerned about the upcoming elections and the impact the Act is having on their ability to maintain their party seats. It reinforces the point that this was all about votes and it was never about improving the health care system for all Americans.
Looking back, one has to wonder how could we have ever justified making such a major change to the American health care system, clearly seen the best in the world. While not perfect, 85 percent of Americans told pollsters year after year they were satisfied with their health care coverage. Certainly there was room for improvement, but I think we should have realized what would happen in a government takeover of health care system.
Under the Affordable Health Care Act, we are losing our freedom of choice. Health care is very personal to each of us and unless serious modifications are made in the future to this law, it will cast a very long shadow over our freedoms and “fundamentally transform” this country in ways unimaginable only a few short years ago.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.