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Obamacare: A Ship Destined to Sink Itself?

OP-ED: As the famed prenatal neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, addressed the National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday on what he called a “logical” approach to healthcare, President Obama sat a few feet away appearing either disinterested or unmoved. But Dr. Carson’s criticism of Obamacare has struck a chord that has more people than ever wondering what we are about to face in 2014.

Dr. Carson is calling for logic and common sense rather than the system we are about to have foisted upon us. In his speech, he championed the idea of health savings accounts, personal responsibility, and hope for something more than becoming an indentured servant to the federal government. Consider the following excerpt from this speech:

Here’s my solution: When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account to which money can be contributed — pretax — from the time you’re born ’til the time you die. When you die, you can pass it on to your family members, so that when you’re 85 years old and you got six diseases, you’re not trying to spend up everything. You’re happy to pass it on and there’s nobody talking about death panels.

And also, for the people who were indigent, who don’t have any money, we can make contributions to their HSA each month because we already have this huge pot of money. Instead of sending it to some bureaucracy, let’s put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care.

Since last week Dr. Carson has been interviewed numerous times where he continues to champion common sense as opposed to the Affordable Health Care Act. And hopefully, it isn’t too late to listen. The bill President Obama and his supporters spent the better part of his first term getting shoved through Washington is already looking more like a sinking ship than the sleek cruise ship of promise it was made to appear.

A quick survey of the latest reports from a number of federal agencies shows that fewer people than promised will get insurance, when they do get that insurance it will be far less affordable than first promised, and ironically millions of people now covered at their place of employment will lose that coverage.

According to the latest estimate from the IRS, the lowest cost for a family plan through Obamacare will be $20,000 a year in 2016. That means a couple with three children will be paying over $1600.00 per month for a medical plan that will only cover 60 percent of their medical bills.

Add to that the fact that fuzzy wording in the bill has made it likely that many families will find their children aren’t covered at all under their employer’s plan. The new law doesn’t explicitly mandate family coverage and now the administration says that it won’t be required. The IRS has announced that insurance exchanges won’t provide subsidies for a child whose parent is covered at work.

Despite promises to solve the issue of the uninsured by making private health plans more affordable, the law expands coverage mostly by forcing states to broaden their Medicaid eligibility. And, in spite of looking like the villain to conservatives, this may be where Chief Justice Roberts opened the way for Obamacare to derail itself. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government cannot force states to provide more Medicaid coverage.

The CBO first said that the court’s ruling would only keep 4 million people from gaining coverage. Now, with more and more states refusing to rubber stamp Washington, it is likely that number has doubled. Also doubling is the estimate of the number of people that will lose the health coverage they now get through work. That forecasted number has risen to 12 million by 2019 and several consulting firms predict the number will be much higher.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to the Affordable Health Care Act is the wording of the law itself. Many states have already refused to set up insurance exchanges to sell the government-mandated plans. The law says that in states that refuse, the federal government can set up an exchange. But the law only gives the power to hand out subsidies to state exchanges, not federal ones.

The Obama administration’s answer to this conundrum is to do what it knows much about. It says it will simply disregard the law and offer subsidies in all 50 states anyway. That is sure to land the whole mess back at the feet of nine men and women, headed by the man who opened the door for the matter to come back their way in the first place. Perhaps Justice Roberts has had time to rethink his decision or perhaps he knew what he was doing all along.

Time will tell.


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