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Bad News Continues to Roll In for Obamacare Nightmare

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Whatever we do, let's not allow ourselves to be distracted from the continuing nightmare of Obamacare by the other nightmare of President Obama's latest abuse of power in furtherance of a terrible policy decision — this time on immigration.

I would be remiss if I didn't provide my periodic update on the Affordable Care Act, lest you grow complacent to its unspeakable egregiousness. So let's review some recent tidbits, shall we?

First the good news. Customers who enrolled in the most popular Obamacare plans for 2015 shouldn't expect to see major hikes in their out-of-pocket health expenses compared with 2014, according to a new analysis. But wait. Those individual and family plan customers will still have substantially greater deductibles than people with employer-provided plans — and more limited networks. So even for these customers, things are still terrible; it's just that they're not expected to get too terribly more terrible next year.

So we see that Obama's bait-and-switch continues. He wants you to believe that his law insures everyone. Even if that were remotely true, which it is not, of how much benefit is insurance coverage when you have to pay high deductibles before you even get to access it — and, adding insult to injury, still lose your doctors, your hospital and possibly your range of coverage?

Enough with the "good news." Now for the not-so-wonderful news.

Last week, a report was released showing the administration, in the words of CNBC, "pulled a fast-one with enrollment numbers for Obamacare, boosting a tally by including up to 400,000 dental plans — without publicly disclosing that fact at the time." In September, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said there were 7.3 million "Americans enrolled in health insurance marketplace coverage," not disclosing that hundreds of thousands of dental plan numbers were included in that figure and that without them, the total would have been less than 7 million.

But how did the administration react? As it always does, pretending to be surprised and outraged — as if it were not the primary player in this bad act. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell jumped on Twitter within hours of this report and called the discrepancy "unacceptable." She later promised to take action "to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again."

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, three times, four times ... 50 times and I ought to be flogged for my ignorance and passivity. But there just may be a limit to the public's willful blind spot with Obama, as the November elections showed.

Burwell knows this wasn't a mere mistake, and thank goodness House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa called her on it.

"After touting 8 million initial sign-ups for medical plans," said Issa, "four months later they engaged in a concerted effort to obscure a heavy drop-off rate of perhaps a million or more enrollees by quietly adding in dental sign-ups to exchange numbers. Faced with large numbers of Americans running for an exit from Obamacare, instead of offering the public an accurate accounting, the administration offered numbers that obscured and downplayed the number of dropouts. Now they're saying this was just a 'mistake.' The claim that this was only (accidental) stretches credulity."

That is exactly right. It does stretch credulity for the administration to pretend this was an innocent mistake. Like everything else from this bunch, it was a premeditated act of deceit, motivated by their desire to continue fooling the American people by minimizing how bad Obamacare is.

There's more. CNBC reports that though small-business owners may have avoided Obamacare's regulations and penalties in its first year, they'll not be able to do that in the second year and beyond. In a recent survey conducted by payroll processing firm ADP, small businesses indicated that health care costs and complexities and the enormity of government regulations are their greatest concerns. One-third of business owners are fined annually for failing to comply with some sort of government regulation. Half of the companies paying fines don't even know the details of the fines they're required to pay.

There's still more. The Department of Health and Human Services is considering changing Obamacare's auto-renewal rules such that if you don't take action during the open enrollment window, you may be enrolled into a lower-cost plan. That isn't so good as it will sound to some, because if you happen to want to stay in your existing plan under these circumstances — and keep your doctors, clinics, cost structures and benefit options — you may be precluded from doing so under the reassignment. And you probably can't switch back once enrollment is closed. As Reason magazine's Peter Suderman observed, "a hassle? Maybe. But have faith: They know what's best."

And there's still more. A new report from Avalere Health reveals that insurers have increased premiums for the most popular plans sold on the exchanges after underpricing the policies last year. The average price for the 2015 exchange plans is increasing by 10 percent.

The bad news for Obama and his socialized-medicine disciples continues to pile up. A Gallup poll finds for the third consecutive year that the majority of Americans believe that it's not the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care.

The more people find out about the horrors of socialism in practice the more they reject it. That is axiomatic — even in today's America.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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