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Health reform may be unhealthy for politicians

Editorial

The Affordable Care Act is getting closer to implementation, less than half a year. But there are a great many questions still lingering and no clear road map from the Obama administration as the clock ticks.

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the moving forces behind the health care reform law passed in 2010, said that given the federal government’s efforts so far to communicate the law with Americans, the act could be headed for a “huge train wreck.”

So far, the White House has been tightlipped about its plans to roll out promotional information on the act, which has some Democratic Party lawmakers nervous. With enrollment in health coverage plans set to start Oct. 1, there is some worry that whatever plan the administration has for starting its push this summer may be too little too late. Beginning on that date, health care coverage markets called exchanges will begin offering federally subsidized private individual and family coverage to those with low to moderate incomes.

The act is expected to expand coverage to about 15 million Americans in the coming federal fiscal year, with millions more expected to join in the seven years after that.

Meanwhile, surveys show that Americans have little idea about how the health insurance exchanges set to be created by the act will be set up and operated. They also suggest that younger Americans — those who will be needed to offset the expected influx of older individuals who have more health issues — will not be persuaded to buy coverage just because of the penalties — $95 in the first year — that will be imposed for not purchasing coverage.

The participation of younger, healthier individuals who are less likely to need expensive health care is needed to keep the costs of the coverage down.

Plus, only just over a third of the states are building their own exchanges. The other 33 — including Georgia — will be covered with exchanges built by the Obama administration.

What it boils down to is there is a great deal of work to be done in a scant five months. President Barack Obama has said he expected there will be “bumps” in the road.

For an individual, a “bump” on the federal level in the cost of a premium or coverage can be a mountain on a personal level. And that has some Democratic lawmakers worried about their own political health.

Baucus doesn’t have to worry. Last month, he became the sixth Democratic senator to announce that he was retiring from the Senate. A bumpy start to Obama’s signature legislation, especially if premiums on the exchanges are seen as too expensive, could be retaliation at the ballot box, leading some to speculate that Democrats, which now have 53 Senate seats (two independents caucus with them), could lose control of that body.

If Republicans were to take a majority in the Senate in 2016, the Affordable Care Act might have an unintended side effect. Those on the Left who bemoan the “outdated” filibuster might well find a renewed appreciation for it.

Comments

Trustbuster 1 year, 4 months ago

This law will lead to even a greater expansion of govt. by creating more entitlements. The costs already exceed the projections that Obama 's people stated would be back in 2010. The unintended consequences will become higher debt and less choices for the consumer. Most medical insurance premiums have already increased 110% since 2000. Just wait for more sticker shock after 10 years of Obamacare. Sanford Bishop should have been fired by the voters in his district in the last election cycle because he voted to increase the costs of living in S. Georgia. The Supreme Court was correct when it declared the law a tax bill. A huge tax bill for the nation!

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Sister_Ruby_Two 1 year, 4 months ago

Not to worry, SOWEGANS, Sanford Bishop will remain an avid supporter of O'BamaCare. "His voters" are all for more free stuff.

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ObjectiveEyes 1 year, 4 months ago

Sanford Bishop voted for this boondoggle and defends it to this day. I just read where the IRS will be responsible for enforcing some 47 tax provisions included in ObamaCare. So, I guess we'll get the efficiency of the US Postal service coupled with the compassion of the IRS. Sounds like a great deal! He also assisted in the Pigford scandal (which is getting bigger each day). Why do we, collectively, continue to trot him back to DC? He's been there for over 20 years and has authored about a dozen pieces of legislation...none of any real consequence. He is WHY DC is a broken, dysfunctional mess. He is not a part of the solution.

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n6sorrel 1 year, 4 months ago

I'd be interested to know where the above naysayers presently obtain their healthcare insurance...

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