Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Carolina 'Yay/Boo Cheer' Applied to Obamacare

'Yay, Health Care!
'Boo, Costs!'
Everyone was all a-twitter last weekend when a lower level deputy Treasury secretary, not President Obama, announced in his blog, (not the President's) that the onerous employer-mandate section of Obamacare (just that part, nothing else) was going to be suspended for a year.

Until after next year's mid-term elections. (see Wall Street Journal's scathing on-line piece 'Employer Mandate: Never Mind')

Of course. More political gamesmanship from this President on health care. Every time there is a 'cost' associated with Obamacare, that gets pushed to the out-years while the bennies of Obamacare get shoved to the in-years from day 1 (coverage of children til age 26, etc)

Why didn't the President stand up at the Rose Garden, announce this major policy change, take his lumps and bear responsibility for this action?

JFK took full blame for the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba early in his Presidency. Couldn't President Obama have taken the blame for the poor implementation of his own health care program that has now had 3 years to find its sea-legs and try to stand up and walk on its own?

This episode reminds us of the 'Yay/Boo Cheer' that we heard about at Carolina back in the day, although don't remember actually seeing or hearing since it may have happened in the 40's and 50's when Charlie 'Choo-Choo' Justice was tearing up the countryside with his amazing runs from the Tar Heel backfield.

The 'Yay-Boo' went something like this:
'We're going to have a party after the game!'
But you're not invited!
Unless you bring your own booze!
...and so on for days, weeks and years at Chapel Hill, apparently.
Let's take a look at this recent decision to delay the employer-mandate of Obamacare through the eyes of a head Carolina cheerleader leading the 'Yay/Boo Cheer':
  • 'The Employer-Mandate is delayed for 1 year!'. (Yay!)-(No penalty for companies with over 50 employees to pay for 1 more year at least.)
  • 'The deficit is increased by at least $13 Billion'. (Boo!)-(CBO was counting on this much in penalties to be paid by non-compliant companies to help pay for the subsidies for enrollees into Obamacare)
  • 'Companies can start hiring more people again!' (Yay!) (Without the mandate, companies under 50 full-time employees can hire without having to pay the $2000/head penalty if not covered by a company health plan)
  • 'Companies won't hire more permanent employees now only to fire them in 2015' (Boo!) (Companies will only hire more part-time folks since if they keep them as permanent, they will have to pay the $2000 penalty in 2015 if they don't provide health insurance)
  • 'The IRS is not set up to track every company's health coverage plans!' (Yay!)
  • 'Hey, Wait a Cotton-Picking Minute! You mean the Obama Administration wants the IRS to start tracking our health care coverage plans ON TOP OF our taxes??? (Boo! Boo! Double Boo!)

You get the picture. For every positive thing that is now coming out about Obamacare being delayed here or adjusted there, there still remains some very negative downsides to having this bill as law in the first place.

Perhaps the delay of the employer mandate will lead to other provisions of Obamacare being delayed as well. As the Wall Street Journal said:

 '...Delaying (the employer mandate) is like Ford saying its electric car is ready to go, except the electric battery doesn't work.'

There is reason to hope for some moderation of health care costs just in the natural course of daily business from what we have seen and learned lately.

Medicaid costs have been stopped dead in their track of their upwards death spiral in the states of Texas, Mississippi and Kansas due to the adoption and implementation of responsible, patient (client)-focused managed care in each state by the Governor and state legislatures of each state.

People are finally beginning to realize that one way or another, they are going to be paying more for their health insurance coverage regardless of whether Obamacare is fully implemented in 2015, 2016 or 2020. The one tried-and-true way to avoid paying those costs is to take better care of their own health to begin with: stop smoking; stop drinking too much alcohol all the time; get some exercise and eat some leafy greens such as kale and chard instead of fried chicken in lard.

The delay of the employer-mandate in Obamacare might be just the first domino to fall in its repeal and ultimate demise one day. (Yay!)

But don't count on it. (Boo!)

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