For millions of Americans, the question looms: “Is the Affordable Care Act really that bad?” They read liberal media reports that claim to debunk arguments against the law, drawing on numbers that show better insurance participation, a lack of impact on the economy, and a general hunky-dory effect on the American people.
But what goes unspoken – or at least underplayed – in these articles is that the worst of Obamacare’s effects haven’t even hit yet. Insofar that the law can be defended, it is being defended based on limited real-world deployment. It is not until this year that we will see the law’s true colors. If we get to 2016 (and Obamacare survives its legislative and judicial challenges) and things are still great, Obama’s defenders will have something to crow about. But that seems extraordinarily unlikely.
You really have to appreciate the political genius that went into designing Obamacare. The bill’s architects have already admitted that deception was a big part of putting it through, but the real genius was in putting off the law’s most poisonous pills until after Obama had secured re-election and had moved into his lame duck tenure. Those delayed provisions are ready to shine, though, and many who supported Obamacare are in for a rude awakening.
The Employer Mandate
On January 1st, the controversial employer mandate went into effect. This provision compels employers with 100 or more full-time employees to provide essential coverage to at least 70 percent of their workforce or face massive fines from the IRS. This will almost surely have a deleterious effect on premiums for those who get their insurance through work, and it has already had a weakening effect on employment. Deductibles and co-payments are rising, forcing many insured Americans to pay full price when they go to the doctor.
If the employer mandate wasn’t bad enough, Americans may soon find it difficult to go to the doctor even if they want to. Primary care physicians everywhere are feeling the crunch, and they are drastically cutting back on their patient load. What a shock. You start introducing socialized medicine to America, and you start getting the results we see in countries with socialized medicine. Best of all, you still get to pay full price for the pleasure. It’s all the negative effects of universal healthcare with none of the benefits.
It was hard to get too upset about the first-year penalty imposed by the IRS. 95 bucks? No sweat. But now those penalties are rising, and there may be no end in sight. When Americans find themselves paying hundreds of dollars in fines to the IRS, they may take a different view of Obamacare’s individual mandate.
It remains to be seen what the future holds for Obamacare, but now at least the law will be judged on its true form. If Americans like what they see, bully for the president. If they don’t (and most voters already hate it), then it will be up to Republicans to propose an alternative, sell it to the public, and get rid of this abomination once and for all.