Obamacare’s Losers Keep Piling Up

The Chicago Tribune warns that next year when the cost of the grandfathered insurance policies businesses offer to employees go up millions more Americans might be forced into the Obamacare exchanges. They went on to note how Obamacare’s losers keep piling up.

• Millions of Americans have seen their individual coverage canceled and are scrambling to find new policies. Many are learning that their new coverage will probably cost more via higher premiums and deductibles … if they can break through the error messages to the HealthCare.gov website. The president’s tepid “fix” last week would allow (but not require) insurers to renew old individual policies for a year, if state regulators are on board with that. …

• People who gain coverage through smaller employers are at risk of getting cancellation notices next year. Here’s why: Many businesses with fewer than 50 employees buy coverage in the small-group market. These plans can temporarily keep offering coverage that didn’t meet expensive Obamacare requirements. When that ends next year, though, many employers may cancel policies because Obamacare coverage will likely boost costs.

• Hospitals are bracing for financial turbulence as out-of-pocket deductibles climb and people find themselves liable for more of their medical bills before insurance kicks in, The Tribune’s Peter Frost reports. (Read More)

Speaking of hospitals and financial turbulence, the top-rated Cleveland Clinic has announced massive cuts to jobs thanks to this horrible law. Remember when President Obama hailed that facility as an example of what works about health care? His law is ruining it. Great.

And don’t forget how Obamacare penalizes marriage and discourages work, two things that will help to keep people in poverty.

Discouraging Work

The way Obamacare calculates federal premium subsidies and cost-sharing subsidies includes several “cliffs.” A person might qualify for a hefty subsidy at his current income, but if he gets a raise and makes a little more, that Obamacare subsidy disappears.

At these cliffs, individuals and families will actually benefit more by working less because additional earnings could cause them to lose thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Families facing these kinds of poverty traps may ask the obvious question: If I will lose so much in government benefits by earning additional income, why work?

Rather than encouraging hard work, initiative, and entrepreneurship, Obamacare instead undermines these essential American values.

Discouraging Marriage

Obamacare contains not one, but two penalties on marriage—one for families with low and moderate incomes and another for families with higher incomes. By continuing failed policies that undermine the institution of marriage, Obamacare will accelerate a root cause of income inequality in the United States. (Read More)

Even those workers whose employers will continue to offer health insurance as a benefit are likely to see their costs rise as more people opt-in to those plans to avoid the dreaded Obamacare exchanges.

But the biggest losers under Obamacare are probably smokers. Many will be priced out of health insurance altogether.

A study by nonpartisan Institute for Health Policy Solutions found some smokers could pay as much as 33 percent of their income in health care premiums, well in excess of what ObamaCare considers “affordable” health care.

The study presented three scenarios:

1. The premium for a young, non-smoker earning roughly the minimum wage will cost $708. The same policy for a smoker would cost $3,308, or up to 400 percent more.

2. Before subsidies, a non-smoker who is 59 or older would also pay $708 for a “silver” or mid-level policy. However, a smoker of the same age would pay $5,908.

3. In a worst-case scenario, an older couple who smokes could be “literally impoverished” by ObamaCare premiums, said the report. That couple could pay an $11,352 health care premium, or one-half their annual income of $23,000. By comparison, a non-smoking person over 59 years old would pay 90 percent less, or just $952 after federal subsidies. (Read More)

Alcoholics, drug addicts, pot smokers and the obese are not charged higher premiums under Obamacare. Neither are people who use tanning beds, although they do pay an extra tax when they use the service.