Obamacare: Historic benefit or fiscal black hole?

A new column dedicated to exploring the law that nobody knows. Photo: TLP

WASHINGTON, August 7, 2013 − As of this moment all U.S. citizens, presumably, will begin to register for for America’s version of socialized medicine on October 1, 2013. Coverage under the new system is slated to begin on January 1, 2013.

It is a truth almost universally acknowledge that there are far more questions than answers when it comes to Obamacare, the popular name for the compulsory assemblage of health coverage rules and regulations ordered by Congress and the President otherwise known as the “Affordable Care Act.” 


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Even at this late date, what Obamacare actually is or will be, however, remains largely a mystery when it comes to the vexing details that continue to be worked out by legions of unelected bureaucrats.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was roundly ridiculed when Obamacare was first passed for telling the media that Congress had to pass the bill in order “to see what’s in it.” Turns out this was almost literally true, as Congressional representatives and average American citizens remain largely in the dark when it comes to knowing what to expect as the United States transitions to its great experiment in socialized medicine.

Crucial Obamacare questions include but are not limited to the following:

  • Will all Americans have to enroll? Why have we heard that some groups– like Congress– are effectively exempt from the healthcare mandate? Can we be exempt?
  • How much will the plan cost individuals?
  • Is it really going to be affordable?
  • What if we don’t want it? Do we really have to pay a fine for not buying something we don’t want?
  • If we still like our old, “grandfathered” plans, can we still keep them?
  • If our lives depend on getting an expensive medical treatment or procedure, will the government pay for it? If not, can we appeal?
  • How will coverages under our own state vary from others?
  • Is the privacy of our personal health and healthcare records absolutely secure? Where can we get more information? 

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As the situation currently stands, the list of questions continues to grow while definitive answers are few. Worse, even at this late date, it’s not altogether certain that Obamacare coverage is actually ready to get off the ground on time. 

Among many current and pressing issues:

  • Security systems have not been proven to work. Overwhelmed by the number of states declining to set up their own insurance exchanges (numbering 34), exchanges to be run by the Federal government in these states are still not ready for prime time.
  • At the same time, plans and implementation of exchanges for large businesses has fallen so far behind that the White House itself, in an act of dubious legality, recently pushed off implementation of these plans to January 1, 2015. Was this a practical concern, or was the party currently in power more interested in postponing the chaos until after next year’s Congressional elections?

Getting to the bottom of many of these issues, unearthing answers where they are available and likely outcomes where they are not will not be easy. 


SEE RELATED: Repeal or defund Obamacare: Time is running out


Given that even at this late date, the Federal government largely appears to be unprepared to launch this massive program, this will be an interesting and highly informative ride into an uncertain future.


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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  

 

 

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