Worker's Of America: Your "Free" Health Care Is Going To Cost More Than Originally Expected

I know I should be writing about Speaker Boehner's "dramatic" walk-away from debt ceiling talks (and Obama's equally "dramatic" call for the congressional leadership to come to the White House at 11 AM tomorrow), but I wanted to make sure to highlight the latest example of just how f*ckd up Obamacare has turned out to be:

A major provision of the healthcare reform law designed to prevent businesses from dropping coverage for their workers could inadvertently leave families without access to subsidized health insurance.

The problem is a huge headache for the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, because it could leave families unable to buy affordable health insurance when the healthcare law requires that everyone be insured starting in 2014.

Some of the administration’s closest allies on healthcare reform warn this situation could dramatically undercut support for the law, which already is unpopular with many voters and contributed to Democrats losing the House in the 2010 midterm elections.

Yes, the top-down legislated mandate that health insurance be affordable may render insurance unaffordable for the regular folks whom liberals claim to be acting. The reason is a little complicated but The Hill summarizes it well:
At issue is a so-called firewall in the law that denies subsidies to workers whose employers offer quality, affordable coverage.

The firewall applies to plans with premiums that cost less than 9.5 percent of a worker’s income. If a worker has to dole out more than that amount to buy coverage, the employer coverage is considered unaffordable and the worker is eligible for subsidies to buy coverage on the new exchanges.

Initially, advocates thought the threshold also applied to family coverage. If premium costs paid to cover a worker’s family cost 20 percent of a worker’s income, for example, the worker and his or her family should be eligible for subsidies.

But in calculating the bill’s cost last year, Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) took the law to mean that employers and their families aren’t eligible for subsidies as long as the individual plan is affordable — regardless of the price of the family plan.

This means the costs to an employee for covering his or her family could be too high to afford for many working families.

If you’ve got employer-based coverage that’s affordable for the employee only, Guyer said, the family is expected to take the employer coverage even if its totally unaffordable and no one in the family is eligible for the exchange subsidies.

And, of course, you can't go shopping for something more affordable because Obamacare has thoughtfully grandfathered you in to the insurance you had prior to its passage. That was the promise after all: if you like your current plan, you can keep it.

There's the inevitable talk in the article that Congress or Obama will have to "fix" this, and I suppose they will. But, I'm guessing that Obamacare was able to be scored as deficit neutral by way of the assumption laid out above; namely that families would pay for the employer coverage even if they couldn't afford it.

And, this is one of many landmines contained in the Obamacare bill. The Free Will Wife, who is a psychologist by trade, was just complaining yesterday that she has had a difficult time becoming a provider for many insurance companies because most of them stopped taking on new providers after the health care law went into effect. This makes it difficult for her to attract clients since many of them want to use their insurance to pay for sessions. You bet she's beyond irritated. As soon as she gets her citizenship, I guarantee she won't be registering as a Democrat.

I won't even mention the death panels which have gone from "Palinesque hysterics" to approved Krugman talking point to official policy in short order.

This is one of many elements of government spending that Democrats have declared to be sacrosanct, an interesting position given how unpopular Obamacare already is, and how unpopular it will become as Americans at all income levels find their health care becoming more expensive even as it becomes more difficult to obtain. We have now seen what's in the bill, and it's worse than we could have imagined.

But, the Republican Establishment, not to say moderate Democrats, seem to have already decided that repeal is impossible.

And we are the radical fringe.

And Michelle Bachmann has migraines.

We are in a race against time here, and victory in next year's presidential election is the only acceptable result.

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