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Obamacare - An Unintended Consequence?

Bruce Krasting's picture




 

 

Obamacare officially kicks off in nine days. What the heck is going to happen? I don't believe that anyone really knows.

I'm concerned that there will be many 'unintended' consequences. Information has being coming out in recent days about how much Obamacare is going to cost individuals. As near as I can determine, the cost of Obamacare is going to be substantially lower than what it was thought to be. The liberal press has been having a field day over these cost estimates. Yesterday Obama and Clinton were on TV touting how cheap the new insurance will be. Obama made the point that the cost of health insurance for younger people will be less than a cell phone bill.

 

obamaclinton

 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its Obamacare cost estimates this week. (Link) If these numbers are what we end up getting across the country, then there is proof that the cost of health care insurance is going down. The HHS report has numbers for different ages and family size, and by city and state. The following are the state by state averages:

 

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Okay, this all sounds good, but what about the unintended consequences?? Consider this report from the CBO that estimated the consequences of Obamacare. Look at the line 'Employer' and note that the CBO has forecast zero change in 2014 for the number of individuals who now have private insurance who will be forced onto the exchanges.That line decreases by 2m in 2015. The working assumption is that Obamacare will have a negligible consequence on those individuals who now have private insurance.

 

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But we know for a fact that the CBO estimates are dead wrong. Obamacare has not even started, and these four companies have announced that they will be forcing some of their workers to get Obamacare:

 

 

ibm

walgreens

home depot

ups

 

I think the number of workers that will be forced into Obamacare is going to soar over the next few years. The economics will force this to happen. Look again at the pricing structure from HHS. Then check to see how much you are paying for health insurance, and how much your employer is kicking in. If the total of the contributions (self and employer) is greater than the Obamacare cost, then you are in trouble.

Many employers are going to follow the lead set by IBM, Walgreen, UPS and Home Depot. They will compensate employees for the cost of Obamacare, and pocket the difference. An additional incentive is that for employers (large and small), it reduces/eliminates the overhead and problems of company sponsored insurance plans.

What if Obamacare results in substantial forced 'outsourcing' of health insurance? The CBO estimates are way off the mark, but by how much? What happens if the forced migration over the first few years of Obamacare is 20 million, versus the forecast of only 2m? If this is to be the result, then some will call it a great success. This outcome would move the country much closer to the 'single payer' system that many liberals believe should happen.

But what about those who are forced into Obamacare? What about the promise by Obama that in his 'plan' anyone who now has private insurance, could keep it?

 

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I do not have answers to how this will play out. I'm comfortable saying (1) the migration from private insurance to Obamacare is going to be much larger than has been estimated, and (2) large groups of folks will get burnt in the process.

 

A question for readers:

Are there any muni workers reading? A cop/fireman, town clerk or teacher? Can you share some of the info on what you and your employer's monthly Ins. cost is? Compare that cost to the estimates for Obamacare in your area HHS report Link.

Would your muni save money if it moved you to an exchange? If the answer is "yes" then muni workers are going to be in for a rude awakening. There is not a muni in the country that is not desperate to cut the health care costs it provides for its workers.

Anyone who now has private insurance that is forced onto the insurance exchanges is going to be unhappy. Based on what has happened so far, it appears that the negative consequences of the forced migration is being felt largely by the Democratic base. This unintended consequence of Obamacare may prove to be the 'wild card' that swings the Bi and Presidential elections. It's possible that the liberal's ultimate objective of achieving a single payer system, might well prove to be their undoing. That would be a very interesting unintended consequence.

 

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