LOS ANGELES, July 29, 2014—Despite the left’s and Democrat attempts at crafting the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Halbig v. Burwell court decisions as something else — the War on Women, a war on contraception, judicial fiat, and a misreading of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare statute language —both decisions are major blows to Obamacare.
All of the posturing, scrambling, and work to mitigate, spin, and overturn these decisions with new laws is nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
The Obamacare ship is going down; it is now just a matter of when.
The Halbig decision is particularly damning: a slap in the face of a Congress that rushed to get the ACA bill instituted as law, without bothering to read the actual language. Now that language is coming back to bite them, and rightfully so.
The attorneys who did bother to read, crafted their arguments according to the letter of the law, and won on those merits.
In 2012, Jonathan Gruber, economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the paid architect of the Obamacare exchanges, not once, but twice laid out on tape that the restriction of subsidies to States with their own exchanges was the operating method to coerce State governors into creating their own exchanges rather than shifting the burden back to the federal government. So there can be no plausible deniability, or “speak-o” (like a “typo”) as Gruber excused.
The Obama administration and the other engineers knew what they had written and they simply expected to get away with it.
So Americans look on as rats — the Congressional Democrats who voted in this nightmare — swim away from the sinking vessel, while they try to distract us from their voting record in the hopes we’ll have forgotten by November 2014.
Meanwhile the steerage passengers — the individuals who lost their insurance policies, who are laboring under higher premiums, or who are suffering under limited networks and the inability to find a decent doctor— are drowning among the wreckage.
Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News reports:
“Consumer groups argue many enrollees were misled. In California, consumers filed class-action lawsuits against some insurers, alleging they were given inaccurate information about their plans’ limitations and about which doctors and hospitals participate in them.
“Nationally, regulators and insurance agents are inundated with complaints, while lawmakers are considering rules to ensure consumers’ access to doctors. For plans being submitted for sale next year, the federal Department of Health and Human Services said it will more closely scrutinize whether networks are adequate.”
The DHHS cannot even build an adequate website, and at this point, have more loss than gain in the court cases challenging its mandates. So it’s a long shot to expect they will do anything about making networks adequate. Americans won’t be holding their breath, but will continue to file lawsuits, while those who went without insurance before Obamacare, will continue in that vein, as the system that was supposed to make insurance “affordable and easy” turns out to be anything but. So, the very people that this law was supposed to help—the uninsured, the sick, and the poor—are still treading water, and more than likely will drown before it’s all worked out.
Then there are the first class passengers—the well-off who can afford to pay higher premiums—they are taking the life boats called concierge care.
Dr. John C. Goodman, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, wrote about this in 2013:
“Those who can afford to get to the head of the line will find a way to do so. For a little less than $2,000 a year, for example, seniors on Medicare can contract with a concierge doctor. These doctors promise prompt access to care and usually talk with their patients by telephone and email. They serve as an advocate for their patients, much as an attorney is an advocate for his client.”
It is no wonder the Obama administration seeks to malign and punish the rich — they’re the only ones who would have a fighting chance of escaping this sinking ship relatively unscathed.
The Obama Administration spent over 600 million on a website that is an insult to any web developer. The bugs and fixes to this supposed site still did not resolve the big picture issues: Healthcare.gov is still wide open for fraud and security breaches, the data that the site spits out to insurers is still inconsistent, and often incorrect.
The Washington Times reported in June that “Americans for Tax Reform discovered that site errors on the Obamacare website left 22,000 applications untouched.”
Even today, Healthcare.gov still lacks the “back end” needed to determine how many enrollees actually have coverage and are paying their premiums. So even the numbers given by DHHS (based on surveys, rather than actual verifiable data) is nothing but educated guesses, coupled with smoke and mirrors.
And what happens when you need to renew your insurance through the federal exchange? According to the Associated Press the “Insurance exchange customers who opt for convenience by automatically renewing their coverage for 2015 are likely to receive dated and inaccurate financial aid amounts from the government, say industry officials, advocates and other experts.”
So, if you have a subsidized plan, you may well have to go through the hoops process at Healthcare.gov all over again in order to renew it for 2015 at an affordable price.
The State exchanges are faring no better, and some — like Minnesota — aren’t even up and running.
Oregon, Nevada, and Maryland spent millions on their exchanges, then decided to scrap them, offloading their citizens to the federal exchange. This is more wasted taxpayer capital on a supposedly “affordable” system.
From The Washington Times: “Writing on The Federalist blog, Phil Kerpen calculates that seven states spent $1.2 billion building faulty and abandoned Obamacare sites. As the implementation of Obamacare continues in fits, starts, burps and hiccups, it has become clear that the program is a black hole, swallowing resources, and is a nightmare for enrollees and an embarrassment for the administration.”
At this point, even bilge pumps and boards cannot mitigate the damage to the hull of this ship. Obamacare may be one more iceberg-sized lawsuit away from going completely under.