The newly exposed videos of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber revealing that the “Affordable” Care Act was sold to America with lies is a scandal, but not because it’s a shock.
Instead, they’re a scandal because they confirms something many Americans have been suspecting for a long time – that a lot of Obamacare backers knew the promises were just smoke.
Take the idea that no one would be forced to change plans – “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” as President Obama put it. We now know this was a lie. But at this point, what difference does it make?
It makes this difference: It’s not just that President Obama knew that millions of Americans would be forced off health plans they chose. It’s that his backers now casually admit that Americans will have to get used to shopping for new insurance – and new doctors – every year if they want their care to be affordable.
The New York Times reported this in a matter-of-fact way, saying that of course people should shop for new plans annually if they want to avoid “big price increases.”
So while it’s true that in many places, the lowest-price plan on the government-run “exchanges” is only 3% or 4% more costly than the different plan that was lowest priced last year, “people who just stay in the plan that was cheapest — and most popular — in 2014 are looking at much bigger increases. The average rate increase for those plans across the country is 9.7 percent,” the Times reports. This is in line with what another study, by a high-profile health consultancy, said on Thursday.
The figure is higher in much of Wisconsin, the Times reports. In Milwaukee, renewing what was the cheapest “silver” plan in 2014 will mean a 15.3% rate increase in 2015. In Green Bay, staying with 2014’s insurance plan will mean a 14.4% price increase.
The Times points out that this isn’t an accident. It’s the way Obamacare was designed, as a substitute for introducing real free-market reforms to restrain underlying health care costs. Instead, consumers will pay in many ways:
“Switching plans has its costs — in many cases, it means changing doctors and drug lists. It also may mean mastering new deductibles, co-payments and other benefit structures. But it’s clear that if price is the most important thing, most Americans who bought the most popular plan in 2014 would be better off switching to something new for 2015.”
And, by design, just keeping your plan won’t be easy:
“Even consumers who are sure that renewing their current plan is worth paying a higher premium should still consider returning to the marketplace website to update their information. The subsidies that middle-income shoppers receive to help them pay their premiums are based on their income and the price of a special plan in the marketplace, called the ‘benchmark.’
“People who don’t re-enter their information will receive the same subsidy as last year, regardless of what happens to their income and the benchmark. That means that it’s easy to end up underpaying and getting hit with a big bill at tax time.”
Do you remember being told any of this when Obamacare was being sold? The people who designed the system understood what was coming, at least a little. As the talkative Jonathan Gruber put it on video, they depended on American voters not catching on in time.