Defying its GOP critics, Obamacare AKA The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act topped 8 millions, showing the most hated entitlement in U.S. history is finally catching on. Much to the political frustration of the GOP heading into the November Midterm elections, conservatives must accept that the law of the land is finally working to get some 30 million Americans health insurance. Ripped in the conservative press for “destroying the U.S. health care system," Obamacare has done exactly the opposite, expanded the world’s best health care system. Called “socialized medicine” by the propaganda-minded Koch Bros. lobby, the reality has finally sunk in that the medical and health insurance industry has never done better. According to Zachs, health insurers rose about 32% in the fourth quarter of 2013 and expect to rise 13.9% in 2014, despite gloomy predictions by anti-Obamacare conservatives..
While a well-funded negative ad campaign by the Koch Bros. gave Obamacare a black eye since signed into law March 23, 2010, the public shows signs of warming up, now that the uninsured are finally getting tangible benefits. With Obama winning two terms decisively, the GOP believes running against Obamacare is the best path to the White House in 2016. Strategists at the Republican National Committee still believes that running against the largest government entitlement since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law July 30, 1965 wins elections. Today’s right wing and left wing cable news media continues unrelenting propaganda bearing little resemblance to the truth. Two weeks beyond the close of the open enrollment period, over 8 million citizens have enrolled in either Obamacare or expanded Medicare, exceeding White House expectations.
Offering affordable health insurance hasn’t been easy with Congress unable to regulate insurers taking advantage by hiking rates. With profit margins of health insurers exceeding projections, the industry has taken advantage by hiking rates. Industry executives justify the rate hikes by the added costs needed to insure individuals with preexisting medical conditions, a key provision to the ACA. Insurers offering group plans have always insured individuals with preexisting medical problems. Despite rising profit margins and earnings, insurers excuse rate hikes without any real justification. If conservatives complain about rate hike under Obamacare, they should work with Democrats to limit insurers’ ability to raise rates. Needing 40% of Obamacare enrollees to be between 18 and 34-years-od-age, the White House confirmed that the actual figure has risen in 28%.
As time goes on, the average age of Obamacare enrollees should go down, as many part-time employers offer stipends for coverage rather than issuing with their own plans. Several major nationwide employers like Trader Joe’s, Home Depot and Wall-Mart, have stopped covering part-time employees, giving stipends to sign up for Obamacares. “They [the GOP] were wrong about trying to repeal the law that is working, when they have no alternative,” said Obama, touting the milestone of signing up over 8 million. Yet despite the successes of Obamacare, the GOP plans to sell their brand of repealing Obamacare. “No, we can’t,” said the National Republican Congressional Committee to Obama’s request to see more acceptance of the ACA. “I think we can all agree that it’s well past time to move on,” said Obama, believing that the GOP has staked out a counterproductive political strategy.
Fixing provisions to Obamacare requires both political sides to put their heads together. Since Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, they’re not willing to work toward correcting the program’s major flaws. Allowing insurers selling Obamacare policies continue hiking rates is inexcusable. With profits margins and earnings better than ever, there’s simply no excuse for rate hikes other than price gouging. Republicans face some big surprise in 2016 should former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton run for President. If her health permits, it’s looking more likely that the GOP will face some stiff competition in 2016. If she runs on a platform to repeal Obamacare and replace it with Medicare-for-all, she’ll answer all GOP objections, at the same time, get what Democrats wanted but couldn’t pass in 2009, a true single-payer national health care system.
Hoping for bad news on Obamacare for selfish political reasons, the GOP may watch its fortunes falter as more uninsured folks get covered. Of all the benefits to Obamacare, it forces insurers to end the phony distinction between individual and group insurance, allowing all people the right to qualify for health coverage regardless of past or current medical conditions. Forcing insurers to offers some modicum of basic benefits, Obamcare stopped the shady practice of selling junk insurance policies, offering cheap premiums but shortchanging consumers. Most consumers didn’t know they were insured by essentially fraudulent plans. Now forced to offer a baseline of coverage, insurance plans have hiked rates without justification on just about everyone. “This thing is working,” said Obama, recognizing the problems but knowing more folks have insurance than anytime in U.S. history.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.