As the disenchantment with Obamacare unfolds across the political landscape, it’s hard not to indulge in a bit of unseemly schadenfreude, or at least a bit of we-told-you-so.
This is, however, only the beginning. We have yet to see all of the unintended consequences of the various mandates and taxes, although we are certainly getting a taste. Employers are already cutting back the hours of part-timers, premiums are already moving higher, and even supporters are starting to realize that simply because Obama made them a promise that doesn’t make it so.
The latest group to get a taste of this promise vs. reality is (deliciously and ironically enough) organized labor. Via the Weekly Standard:
"I heard [Obama] say, 'If you like your health plan, you can keep it,’ " John Wilhelm, chairman of Unite Here Health, representing 260,000 union workers, recently told the Wall Street Journal. "If I’m wrong, and the president does not intend to keep his word, I would have severe second thoughts about the law." Besides Wilhelm, some of the nation’s largest union bosses have taken to publicly criticizing the Affordable Care Act….
Initially, unions were supposed to be exempt from the Cadillac tax until 2018, while expensive plans for nonunion workers would be taxed starting this year. Exempting just unions from the tax would cost an extra $60 billion during Obama-care’s first few years of implementation. But rather than appear to do an expensive favor for just one key special interest, Democrats delayed the tax for everyone until 2018.
The problem for unions is that 2018 isn’t that far off. Five years may seem like a lot of time to lobby for another exemption, but union members have to agree to employment contracts years in advance…
The other problem is Obamacare’s sticker shock. In the run-up to the law’s passage, the White House was dismissive toward anyone who claimed the law’s morass of new rules would raise insurance premiums. Now no one really denies this is happening. Even though the Cadillac tax’s $10,200 and $27,500 premium thresholds were seen as defining exorbitant insurance plans, plans that don’t offer lavish benefits are becoming expensive enough to be subject to the tax.
Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people.
The nation’s big health insurers say they expect premiums — or the cost for insurance coverage — to rise from 20 to 100 percent for millions of people due to changes that will occur when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out in January 2014.
Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna Inc., one of the nation’s largest insurers, calls the price hikes "premium rate shock."
Employers are bracing for a little-noticed fee in the federal health-care law that will charge them $63 for each person they insure next year, one of the clearest cost increases companies face when the law takes full effect.
Companies and other plan providers will together pay $25 billion over three years to create a fund for insurance companies to offset the cost of covering people with high medical bills.
The fees will hit most large U.S. employers, and several have been lobbying to change the program, contending the levy is unfair because it subsidizes individually purchased plans that won't cover ...
EXIT QUESTION: How can a $25 billion tax on employers be "little noticed"? Did the Democrats not notice it when they were ramming through the bill? Or did they just not want to tell us about it until after the election?
It’s part of a new 2.3-percent federal excise tax on certain medical devices that just went into effect. The tax will help fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, intended for people, not pets. Manufacturers pay the tax, but a recent survey found more than half plan to pass it along.
Some vets say they can’t afford it. Dr. Mike Hatcher is one of them. He explained, "I’m extremely concerned how this is going to be a hidden tax to our consumers that is going to be passed on."
One final thought: if it’s looking this bad in March 2013, imagine what it will look like when the feds actually try to set up the exchanges and the reforms are implemented in all their glory in 2014.