The public’s understanding of just how bad Obamacare is should be named the biggest news story of 2013, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said.

Krauthammer Predicts the Next Big Government Bailout

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“The lie of the year, according to Politifact, is ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’” Krauthammer wrote in his Washington Post column Friday, referring to the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact check website’s dubious honor awarded to President Barack Obama earlier this month. “But the story of the year is a nation waking up to just how radical Obamacare is — which is why it required such outright deception to get it passed in the first place.”

Krauthammer called the unworkable law a government takeover that he predicts will ultimately lead to a massive bailout of the health insurance industry.

“[I]f adverse selection drives insurers into a financial death spiral — too few healthy young people to offset more costly, sicker, older folks — their only recourse will be a government bailout. Do they really want to get on the wrong side of the White House, their only lifeline when facing insolvency?” he wrote. “I don’t care a whit for the insurance companies. They deserve what they get. They collaborated with the White House in concocting this scheme and are now being swallowed by it. But I do care about the citizenry and its access to a functioning, flourishing, choice-driven medical system.”

He added, “The insurance providers, the backbone of the system, are being utterly transformed. They are rapidly becoming mere extensions of the federal government.”

The assertions come as the Obama administration announced yet another delay in the law; Congress raises more concerns about security risks on the website; and the most recent Kaiser Health poll found just 34 percent of the public view the Affordable Care Act favorably.

On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the 5 million people who have had their health insurance plans canceled after the Obamacare implementation would be eligible for a “hardship exemption” from the individual mandate that was set to take effect Jan. 1, 2014. Those qualifying for the exemptions will be allowed to enroll in cheaper plans that do not meet government standards under the law.

Krauthammer said the biggest deception was that the law would maintain a free market health system with minor disruptions, other than caring for the most needy.

“In fact, Obamacare is a full-scale federal takeover,” Krauthammer wrote. “The keep-your-plan-if-you-like-your-plan ruse was a way of saying to the millions of Americans who had insurance and liked what they had: Don’t worry. You’ll be left unmolested. For you, everything goes on as before. That was a fraud from the very beginning. The law was designed to throw people off their private plans and into government-run exchanges where they would be made to overpay — forced to purchase government-mandated services they don’t need — as a way to subsidize others.”

Though the law was never popular, it took the mass cancellations to make Americans see how bad and unaffordable the Affordable Care Act is, Krauthammer wrote.

“It wasn’t until the first cancellation notices went out in late 2013 that the deception began to be understood. And felt. Six million Americans with private insurance have just lost it. And that’s just the beginning,” he wrote. “By the Department of Health and Human Services’ own estimates, about 75 million Americans would have plans that their employers would have the right to cancel. And millions of middle-class workers who will migrate to the exchanges and don’t qualify for government subsidies will see their premiums, deductibles and co-pays go up.”