Move On? Not Just Yet

In his press conference yesterday, President Obama accused Republicans of being obsessed with Obamacare. He said the law is here to stay, and it is time to “move on.” This is silly on a number of levels, some of which Paul pointed out this morning. I want to add just one more.

It is absurd for the Democrats to say that Obamacare is secure and we should stop talking about it, when the law has not even been fully implemented. The employer mandate, in particular, has been put off to 2015. Why do you think the Obama administration unlawfully deferred implementation of various major portions of the ACA? Obviously, because they knew the effects of those provisions would be unpopular.

There is no way anyone can assess the impacts of Obamacare, let alone declare it a success, when an element of the law as important as the employer mandate has not even taken effect. In 2010, the Obama administration predicted that the employer mandate, on account of its restrictive grandfather clause, would cause more than one-half of all employer-sponsored group health insurance plans to terminate. Such plans are, of course, the most common way Americans get health insurance. When half or more of all employer-sponsored plans become illegal under Obamacare, the effects will be felt by tens of millions of people. One of two things will happen: either the employer will simply terminate the plan, pay a much less expensive penalty, and dump employees onto the Obamacare exchanges; or the employer will adopt a new, Obamacare-compliant plan. Such a plan will be more expensive than the prior, non-conforming plan because it will include all ACA-mandated coverages.

So, beginning in late 2014 and continuing through 2015 and 2016, tens of millions of Americans will lose their group health insurance entirely, or else see it become more expensive. Millions will be thrown onto the exchanges, which the Obama administration will no doubt trumpet as another great victory. Whether the millions whose health care arrangements have been disrupted will share that view is doubtful.

So, to those who say Obamacare is riding low in the polls, I say: you ain’t seen nothing yet.