In a Ways and Means Committee hearing last week Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, showed up to announce that 4.2 million Americans had enrolled in Obamacare.
Kevin Brady (R-TX) asked her if she was going to delay the individual mandate further. “No sir,” she responded.
The secretary seemed to be unaware that her department had done just that more than a week before. The suspension of the mandate was buried in an unrelated rule. It casually mentions that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended.
Throughout the catastrophic rollout of Obamacare it has been clear that Mrs. Sebelius was either “out of the loop” in the department of which she was the top executive, or she is just a blatant liar. I, frankly, am unsure which is worse.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius listens as she testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the implementation failures of the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The law became effective on October 1. On October 2 it was clear that the program was not ready for prime time. The Republicans in the House passed several bills to repeal it and then to just postpone the effective date. The White House lectured that this was a law passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the president. It was even ratified by the Supreme Court. It is settled law and cannot be changed.
When the stories of cancelled plans rolled out it became clear that this was causing more political pain than could be managed in an election year and the administration decided to change that “settled law” and delay its effective date.
What the president castigated the Republicans for trying to do legally, he did without any legal authority. Last week he extended that deadline again which would get the Democrats, conveniently, beyond another election.
In early February, the president extended the effective date for small businesses for a year. That too has just been extended for two years.
The most recent delay, which the President so ardently opposed when it was offered as a legitimate legislative proposal, applies, according to Speaker John Boehner, “to virtually anyone for any reason.”
US President Barack Obama speaks on healthcare at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 30, 2013. (Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
For all practical purposes Obamacare is no longer.
Secretary Sebelius was also asked in that hearing how many of the 4.2 million “enrollees” she was touting had paid the premium and were thus actually insured.
She had no idea. She explained that the purchasers pay the insurance company direct to the insurance company and there was no way for the government to know who paid and who didn’t. That simply has to be another lie.
The entire purpose of this enterprise was to find a way to insure those who were uninsured. There are many pieces to this puzzle. One of the most important pieces is information. I promise you that if 95 percent had paid for their policy she would have happily told the committee
Obamacare was undertaken ostensibly because about 45 million Americans did not own health insurance. There were many reasons for that. We were told that up to half of our entire population could have trouble buying insurance because of pre-existing conditions. The Census Bureau puts that number at about 1.5 million. It was known at the time of the debate that a significant number of the uninsured had plenty of money. They just chose not to buy insurance.
Photo Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Some had jobs that provided coverage and they opted out. I visited a plant in Athens, Ga. and asked the plant manager if they provided insurance coverage. She said that they did, but only about 42 percent of the employees availed themselves of it. They didn’t want to pay their share of the premium and knew that they could go to the emergency room at any time.
Two of her employees, who were insured, delivered babies in the last year. When they went to the hospital they told the person at the receiving desk that they were uninsured. They didn’t want to pay the co-pay.
Today we are 90 percent of the way through the open enrollment period for Obamacare. A McKinsey study through February concludes that of those signed up about 27 percent were previously uninsured and 13 percent of those had paid the premium. So, 143,000 of the 45 million previously without insurance are now covered.
Thank you Mr. Obama!
Of those who were previously insured, but lost their insurance and went through the hassle of getting new insurance, 86 percent paid their premiums.
We now have 2.4 million newly insured under Obamacare while 4.7 million lost their policies because of the new mandates. That is not success.
So where does that leave us? We have spent billions of dollars to put one-sixth of our economy under the heavy boot of government. Bureaucrats have reordered what was widely seen as the world’s best health care system, thousands of doctors are leaving their practice and we have 2.3 million fewer people insured than were insured six months ago.
How’s this working out for you so far?
John Linder served in Congress for 18 years from Georgia. He and his wife, Lynne, have retired to a farm in Northeast Mississippi. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
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