Millions likely to lose doctors, pay more for it
It’s not surprising the Democrat candidate for governor, Mary Burke, is ducking questions about whether she supports Obamacare. What’s she supposed to say? Endorse the most disastrous public policy initiative of the 21st century? But if she opposes it, she’ll alienate the left-wing zealots who make up the base of her party. Some Democrats say all of this will pass. They believe that once the website snafus are fixed and the program takes effect, it will gradually be accepted by the public and the backlash against Democrats will end. They’re dreaming.
Many of the people who lost their individual plans and are dumped into the Obamacare exchanges will find themselves in small doctor networks. They will lose their longtime family doctors. Remember when the president said that wouldn’t happen? Because those networks are small, there will be long waits to see your doctor.
Insurers, faced with severe cost pressures because millions of healthy people won’t sign up for Obamacare, will likewise tighten their networks for the group health plans they sell to large employers. This is already happening at one of the biggest, United Healthcare. Again, huge numbers of unsuspecting Americans will lose their doctors.
The one-year delay in the employer mandate merely pushes that disaster down the calendar. When it kicks in late next year, millions of Americans may lose their insurance as the employers dump coverage and pay the fine. These hapless workers will be forced to go into the exchanges, which by then will be melting down. Rates will go up and the provider networks will even further contract. Result: tens of millions will lose both their insurance and their doctors.
As many younger and healthier Americans realize it makes more fiscal sense to avoid buying insurance at all — either through the exchanges or a group plan — the insurance risk pools will go haywire. Insurance companies make money off the premiums of healthy people who don’t make claims. These are the ones who will opt out. This leaves the companies, both on the exchanges and in the group market, with millions of aging baby boomers with aches, pains, phobias and syndromes oozing out of their bones, pores and egos. Not only will rates explode, the entire Obamacare funding structure will be on tilt. The rates charged in the exchanges and the private market by 2015 will almost certainly explode.
All of this will be played out in the lives of the American people. We will end up paying more for health care while insuring fewer. To think the public will simply “accept” this is delusional. If Burke is afraid to answer questions about her stance on Obamacare now, she’ll be mortified by next September. There will be a political price to pay for taking an American health care system that was expensive but provided quality care and replacing it with a system that costs exorbitantly more while delivering a much poorer product.
Or maybe not. Perhaps this will all work out. That’s what happens in fairy tales. So far, however, Obamacare has played out in real life and is somehow much, much worse than even its biggest critics predicted.
* * * Gov. Scott Walker has managed to shield Wisconsin from some of the Obamacare carnage by putting his own health reforms on hold for a few months. The original idea was to improve the state’s version of Medicaid, called BadgerCare, while moving higher income recipients of the program onto the Obamacare exchanges. But with people not even able to sign up for the exchanges and facing personal crises, Walker has put everything on hold.
He may have to think about extending that hold. The governor did the right thing by refusing the increase in federal Medicaid funds offered under Obamacare. That money will dry up in the future as Obamacare disintegrates. But Obamacare is turning out so much worse than even Walker expected, he may need to keep folks on BadgerCare longer to avoid ruining their lives by dumping them into Obamacare.
Many Democrats are demanding Walker do exactly that. Think about what that means. Democrats are insisting that Republican Walker protect Wisconsin from the damage being done by Democrat Obama. * * *