So says Fox Business News contributor (and erstwhile actor turned stock investor and money manager) Wayne Rogers, on hearing the news that 111 companies have been given health insurance waivers by the Department of Health and Human Services:
According to the HHS website, as of Nov. 1, the Obama Administration has given waivers to 111 organizations (including dozens of labor union locals, health insurance underwriters, and organized employee benefit funds) exempting them from the mandated changes in health insurance coverage that will go into effect January 1, 2011, when the Affordable Care Act is officially the law of the land.
And of course Wayne Rogers is absolutely correct. Handing out these waivers to large corporations and union-affiliated special interests is a direct admission by the Obama Administration that the Affordable Care Act actually makes health insurance more expensive. Has there been a single health insurance provider who has been able to use the Affordable Care Act requirements to expand coverage while reducing the cost of their premiums? I can't think of any offhand.
The truth is that small to medium sized businesses are not expecting to see any real health care "savings." They are not hiring new employees with the money they will "save" on health-related expenses; in fact, they are are scrambling to cut costs and beef up their cash reserves because they are expecting to be saddled with either huge health insurance premium increases, or heavy fines if they can no longer afford to provide the required coverages for their employees.
It's also pretty fair to also assume that most small and medium sized businesses, particularly those just large enough to fall under the Affordable Care Act's rules, will not have the resources to petition the HHS Secretary and be awarded a waiver. They will be stuck paying the increased costs associated with Obamacare, while Big Business and Big Labor get to play by a different set of rules. (Such an arrangement is a classic textbook definition of "crony capitalism".)
And in related news, remember how we were told we HAD to pass Obamacare because millions of Americans had no access to affordable health insurance due to pre-existing conditions? HHS predicted that within the first year of availability, 375,000 Americans with pre-existing conditions would apply for coverage under the new affordable Obamacare health insurance plans that have no exclusions based on pre-existing conditions.
Well, it turns out that HHS was a little off in their prediction ... like by nearly a factor of 50:
Mr. Obama declared [in July 2010] that "uninsured Americans who've been locked out of the insurance market because of a pre-existing condition will now be able to enroll in a new national insurance pool where they'll finally be able to purchase quality, affordable health care--some for the very first time in their lives."
So far that statement accurately describes a single person in North Dakota. Literally, one person has signed up out of 647,000 state residents. Four people have enrolled in West Virginia. Things are better in Minnesota, where Mr. Obama has rescued 15 out of 5.2 million, and also in Indiana--63 people there. HHS did best among the 24.7 million Texans. Thanks to ObamaCare, 393 of them are now insured.
States had the option of designing their own pre-existing condition insurance with federal dollars in lieu of the HHS plan, and 27 chose to do so. But they haven't had much more success. Combined federal-state enrollment is merely 8,011 nationwide as of November 1, according to HHS.(emphasis added)
If you are a regular WizBang reader, you already know why so few people have signed up for our Glorious New People's Health Insurance Plans -- their catastrophic coverage is lackluster and their cost is anything but "affordable" particularly in today's hard times, with insurance premiums starting anywhere from $200 - $300 per month and topping out at over $700 per month.
Far from being the panacea of economy and efficiency that we were promised, ObamaCare has already revealed itself to be a yet another burdensome, inefficient, and unnecessarily expensive big government scheme. Is there any wonder that 6 out of 10 Americans want the bill either completely overturned or significantly modified?
ADDED: A hat tip to commenter GarandFan, who reminded me of yet another ObamaCare deception -- a huge chunk of the bill's "cost savings" are tied directly to the 1997 Sustainable Growth Rate rules for government expenditures that, if enacted, would result in an immediate 23% across the board cut in payments for medical treatments covered by Medicare.
Of course Congress has been postponing these cuts for the past 13 years, and in the next few weeks they will probably pass a resolution to postpone them again. I'm not arguing that the SGR cuts must be enacted (if they were suddenly put into place the consequences for Medicare and Tricare providers would be disastrous). I am simply saying that without the SGR Medicare cuts, most of ObamaCare's "cost savings" vanish. The Democrats lied to us when they deliberately chose to ignore this fact and claimed that ObamaCare would substantially lower the cost of health care.