Written by Conn Carroll
"We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it," Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told us just weeks before Congress passed President Barack Obama's health care plan. Well, the nation's post-passage Obamacare education continued yesterday when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the federal government will have to spend an additional $115 billion implementing the law, bringing the total estimated cost to over $1 trillion. The estimate had been requested before passage of the bill by Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), but the CBO was too overwhelmed with the Democrats' other constant revisions to the law to get back to Lewis before the final vote.
This is by far not the only nasty little surprise that has come back to bite Obamacare after passage. Shortly after it became law, U.S. employers began reporting hundreds of millions if dollars in losses thanks to tax changes in the bill. AT&T and Verizon alone pegged their Obamacare tax losses at around $1 billion each. At first, Democrats in Congress were outraged by the announcements and threatened to hold hearings persecuting these companies. But then the Democrats not only found out the companies were obligated by law to report their Obamacare related losses, but that the losses were a signal these companies might have to dump their employees' and retirees' health care coverage all together.
Then the Obama administration's own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final cost projections for Obamacare, finding that, contrary to White House claims, the legislation will increase national health care spending by $311 billion over the next decade. The CMS report also revealed that: 1) 18 million Americans will pay $33 billion in penalties for failing to comply with Obamacare's individual mandate and still receive no health care; 2) U.S. employers will pay $87 billion in employer mandate penalties; 3) 14 million Americans will lose their current employer-based health coverage; 4) 7.4 million seniors will lose their current Medicare Advantage benefits; 5) 15% of all Medicare providers will be made unprofitable, thus "jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries."
Facing this onslaught of reality, the Obama administration has swooped into full spin mode, devoting the Weekly Presidential Address to explaining the "real benefits" Obamacare is "already delivering" to Americans. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius then sent letters to House and Senate leaders touting her "progress" in implementing the law. And then last night White House aides Nancy-Ann DeParle and Stephanie Cutter briefed the House Democratic Caucus on the "tangible benefits" of the law. The sales pitch for all three events was the same: 1) "adults" age 26 and younger can be added to their parents' plan (never mind that this drives up their parents' health care costs); 2) new high-risk pools for Americans with pre-existing conditions (never mind that 19 states have rejected working with HHS since Obamacare massively underfunded the pools); 3) supplementing insurance for early retirees (never mind that the Medicare Advantage cuts and tax changes mentioned above are a big reason why seniors will need supplemental coverage).
Democrats know that Americans simply are not buying what they are selling. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) tells Politico: "It's just like trying to explain the Encyclopedia Britannica." And John Spratt (D-SC) adds: "You need to know what you're talking about and this is extremely complex. It's really difficult to remember, 'was this in this bill, or was this in the bill Senate side.'" Maybe Spratt should have figured out what was and wasn't in the bill before he voted for it.
Since the left can't even figure out what is in the bill they are trying to defend, the latest Rasmussen Reports shows that 63% of likely voters now believe it will increase the federal deficit, and 56% now favor repeal. Not waiting for this November's elections to change the leadership in Congress, states are leading the way on the road to repeal. According to The Washington Post 33 states have mounted legal and legislative challenges to the new law. Clint Bolick, litigation director of the Goldwater Institute, tells the Post: "This is going to be a long, protracted war of attrition and we haven't even seen the first wave of regulations yet. ... The initial challenges to McCain-Feingold were rejected. But since then, litigators found the vulnerabilities. Likewise, here I think you're going to see a thousand flowers bloom in terms of lawsuits. I'm hoping that this will die a death of a thousand cuts."