Thursday, September 20, 2012

More 'bad news and broken promises' from ObamaCare

The Congressional Budget Office has reported that nearly six million Americans will face a tax penalty under President Barack Obama's "ObamaCare" for not getting insurance. Most of these penalties would be on the middle class.

According to a report in the Associated Press, the numbers from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office are 50 percent higher than a previous projection by the same office in 2010, shortly after the law passed. The earlier estimate found that four million people would be affected in 2016, when the penalty is fully in effect.

The CBO analysis found that nearly 80 percent of those who'll face the penalty would be making $55,850 or less for an individual and $115,250 or less for a family of four. The average penalty these people would face is $1,200 each. 

So much for Obama's 2008 campaign promise when he pledged he would not raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000. Since the Supreme Court ruled ObamaCare Constitutional as a tax, the $1,200 is, of course, a tax increase. The budget office said about $6.9 billion in penalties will be levied against citizens in 2016 alone. The individual mandate penalty will be collected by IRS agents as a tax -- and over 16,000 agents have already been hired with our tax dollars specifically to enforce ObamaCare. How will this humongous bulge in public payroll - not to mention the enormous additional expenses placed on the middle class -- reduce the costs of anything?

Representative Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who wants to repeal the law, said, "The bad news and broken promises from Obamacare just keep piling up." 

Virtually every legal resident of the U.S. will be required to carry health insurance by 2014 or face this tax penalty. For now, most people won't be affected since they already have coverage through employers, Medicare or their own policies. But a recent survey by Deloitte that showed one in ten employers will drop employee health coverage once ObamaCare goes into full effect spells trouble for a significant portion of the population.

The CBO said most of the increase it estimated is because of changes in underlying projections about the economy, the effects of new federal legislation, higher unemployment and lower wages. This hardly seems like the time to put more financial burden on those struggling to put food on the table. Some people say they might decide to remain uninsured because they feel the penalty is much less expensive than health insurance. How compassionate of our own government to force its citizens to choose between paying the bills or basically committing a crime.

Meanwhile, candidate Mitt Romney, who promises to repeal ObamaCare, acknowledges the individual mandate was part of his own healthcare plan in Massachusetts, but that such mandates should be left to each state to decide, not the federal government.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the CBO's report is more evidence that Obama's law is a "costly disaster." She added, "Even more of the middle-class families who President Obama promised would see no tax increase will in fact see a massive tax increase thanks to Obamacare."

What's more, since ObamaCare lifts the cap on what insurance companies can pay on any one claim -- from five million dollars to no limit whatsover -- you can bet the money insurance companies will need to keep available will come through much higher insurance premiums for the rest of us. So much for ObamaCare lowering our premiums and other health costs.

Other features of ObamaCare currently in effect are already failing. For instance, the high risk pools that ObamaCare creates as a way to provide those with pre-existing conditions to get insurance are significantly under-subscribed and way over budget. There are also ideas in ObamaCare to pool funds and distribute them as pay to healthcare providers. In other words, doctors would be government employees. How's that for incentive? Of course, most of ObamaCare's elements are, by design, not scheduled to go into effect until after the November elections.

This leads to one other question. If ObamaCare is so great, why is President Obama doing everything he can to avoid mentioning it in his own re-election campaign?

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