TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

It's 'I told you so" time for ObamaCare

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Jonah Goldberg
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

“What we've learned through the course of this program is that this is really not a sensible way for the health care system to be run.”

That was Gary Cohen, director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. He was talking about the apparently surprising need to halt enrollments in a program designed as a temporary bridge for people with pre-existing conditions who couldn't wait to be covered by ObamaCare when it fully kicks in next year. The program was allocated $5 billion but some estimate it would take $40 billion to fund the effort.

Such surprises are becoming routine. The New York Times has reported that many small and midsize firms might be opting out of ObamaCare entirely. “The new health care law created powerful incentives for smaller employers to self-insure,” Deborah J. Chollet of Mathematica Policy Research told the paper. “This trend could destabilize small-group insurance markets and erode protections provided by the Affordable Care Act.”

It turns out that ObamaCare actually makes self-insurance less of a gamble because you can always throw workers on public exchanges without penalty. Naturally, the administration's response is to look for ways to tighten the ratchet and make self-insurance harder. It's a typical response. The shortcomings of a wildly ambitious law only justify more regulatory strong-arming.

As Yuval Levin of the Ethics and Public Policy Center notes, The New York Times never paused to ask why it's OK that “a design flaw in the law somehow empowers” regulators to punish private employers. But this is typical of so much press coverage of ObamaCare; it's a given that it is the government's job to make sure the law is seen as successful, no matter what.

Although it's true that we collectively spent a lot of time shouting about ObamaCare, we spent precious little time actually debating it. Most of the media covered the discussion as if it were a spectator sport, with the Democrats the hometown favorite. And much of the remainder seemed to assume that health care reporting amounted to explaining why ObamaCare was a good idea. The facade of objectivity was often maintained by citing carefully crafted CBO projections that reflected political assumptions. Garbage in, garbage out.

Reality is teaching the propeller-heads a lesson. Despite President Obama's promise that his plan would not add “one dime” to the deficit, the Government Accountability Office announced last week that it would more likely add 62,000,000,000,000 dimes (or $6.2 trillion) over 75 years.

Obama also promised that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” Estimates for how many Americans will lose their existing plans vary. The CBO says 5 million to 20 million. The consulting firm McKinsey & Co. says about 30 percent of employers will push workers onto the public system.

And while the president rode to re-election hyping a mythical GOP “war on women,” incentives to drop spouses from employee coverage under his plan will only increase, a particular concern for mothers with small kids.

The good news is that if they keep their coverage, it will cover birth control pills.

Jonah Goldberg, editor at large of National Review Online, is the author of “The Tyranny of Clichés.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Reissue of book of album covers by Andy Warhol shows many sides of his art
  2. Dollars and sense: High cost of child care keeps many out of work force
  3. Woman ‘critical’ from fall on Harmar riverbank
  4. Federal judge rules oil and gas lease for Washington County tract is valid
  5. Former Cal U football player cleared of assault charges sues university, police, prosecutor
  6. Steelers QB Roethlisberger desires to be ‘Pittsburgh guy’
  7. Pa. House speaker says overriding Wolf’s budget veto ‘an option’
  8. Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
  9. Watering that garden right during summer’s high temperatures makes a difference
  10. Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
  11. Rough ride for anti-Uber politicians