Not What the Doctor Ordered: 20 Million Could Lose Employer Coverage

Obama Signs Health CareIn all the hand-wringing over the last two months for Obamacare by “liberal” apologists, little has actually been said about the actual effects of the law. True, whether or not Obamacare is beneficial has little if anything to do with its constitutionality. (And the actual Constitutional issues involved, however valid, have little to do with the cynical politics behind the Supreme Court’s right-wing block in the case.) But you’d think if someone was gonna go to bat for a law, they’d at least acknowledge the law’s merits.

Hence one story that caught my eye in March: “20 million could lose employer coverage under Obama health care overhaul.” The source, the World Socialist Web Site, may not be acceptable to the media establishment, but the primary source for the WSWS certainly is: the Congressional Budget Office. Here’s what the CBO concludes:

As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored coverage in 2019 under the health care legislation signed into law by President Obama in March 2010…
The CBO’s most optimistic estimate, which the federal agency says is subject to a “tremendous amount of uncertainty,” is that 3 million to 5 million could lose their employer health coverage each year from 2019 through 2022.
The new projections for loss of employee coverage are a substantial increase over last year’s estimates, when the CBO’s best prediction was that only 1 million people would lose employer-sponsored coverage.
The new study is the latest indication that the health care overhaul will result in a deterioration of health care for the majority of Americans, and not the improvement touted by the Obama administration. Working families and those in low-wage jobs stand to suffer the most from companies eliminating coverage.

As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored coverage in 2019 under the health care legislation signed into law by President Obama in March 2010…

The CBO’s most optimistic estimate, which the federal agency says is subject to a “tremendous amount of uncertainty,” is that 3 million to 5 million could lose their employer health coverage each year from 2019 through 2022.

The new projections for loss of employee coverage are a substantial increase over last year’s estimates, when the CBO’s best prediction was that only 1 million people would lose employer-sponsored coverage.

The new study is the latest indication that the health care overhaul will result in a deterioration of health care for the majority of Americans, and not the improvement touted by the Obama administration. Working families and those in low-wage jobs stand to suffer the most from companies eliminating coverage.

Of course, this one very disturbing study is hardly the Alpha or Omega on Obamacare. But it certainly shows one major part of the sales job for the bill was a complete con. In June 2009, President Obama declared before the American Medical Association: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”  This declaration wasn’t an aberration but the decided norm.  When pressed, Obama would admit even then the statement was only true using weasel talk: that he meant Obamacare wouldn’t require anyone be dropped from a health plan.  But as the CBO now concludes, the framework of Obamacare will certainly encourage — and pretty much subsidize — businesses dumping their workers into inferior health care plans for profit.

Perhaps you have a different conclusion of Obamacare based on the evidence.  (The CBO itself oddly declares “a sharp decline in employment-based health insurance as a result of the ACA is unlikely” when summarizing its own findings.)  Fair enough. But even if you do, a CBO study warning 20 million Americans could lose their health plan shouldn’t be ignored, and for the most part, it has. The de facto censoring of this report is part of a larger pattern of deception: while Obamacare has been sold as supposed universal healthcare program, in reality it is a gigantic windfall for the already crooked and bloated insurance companies at the expense of the public at large. The irony is this masquerade is promoted by progressives that will be left holding the bag as Obamacare continues to be a unpopular political disaster.

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Okay, how much of the CBO report did the author of this piece really read?  Quote from the CBO’s summary:

    “CBO and JCT continue to expect that the ACA will lead to a small reduction in employment-based health insurance. That projection arises from the agencies’ modeling of the many changes in opportunities and incentives facing employers and employees under the ACA, and it is consistent with the findings of other analysts who have carefully modeled the nation’s health insurance system.”

    In short, “nothing new here”.  The expected declines are modelled effects of market adjustments–NOT direct provisions of the ACA itself.  Essentially, this is the libertarian’s same argument against any type of legislation:  “Employers won’t like it and shove costs back onto the market.”

    Well, if that’s Robalini’s argument, why doesn’t he/she just ask us to repeal ALL regulations the Koch brothers don’t like?  Hell, why doesn’t he demand they be crowned under the principle of Divine Right?

    Just think of it!  No more worker safety legislation–having to dodge sharp iron machinery did a lot of good for those little kids’ reflexes who were working in cotton mills back in the 19th century.  That’s the real cause of childhood obesity today–not poor FDA standards or subsidies for maize.

    • Liam_McGonagle

      P.S.  In future, I’d recommend Robalini just say what he/she means to say.  If that is that universal single payer will take financial pressure off employers that is still present under both the ACA and current models, just say so.

      There is a difference between creatively constructing empathetic channels of communication with political opposition and handing them a cudgel to beat you with.  They will simply ignore the perfunctory warning against unreliable market manipulators in the last paragraph, and bandy about the bits they like.

    • Robalini

      Here is the first paragraph of the CBO’s own report:

      “As reflected in CBO’s latest baseline projections, the two agencies now anticipate that, because of the ACA, about 3 million to 5 million fewer people, on net, will obtain coverage through their employer each year from 2019 through 2022 than would have been the case under prior law.”

      http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/03-15-ACA_and_Insurance_2.pdf

      So your supposed argument doesn’t make much sense: “The expected declines are modelled effects of market adjustments–NOT direct provisions of the ACA itself.”  Whether it be “market adjustments” or “direct provisions of the ACA itself” makes little difference, either way the 20 million figure is a direct consequence of Obamacare.

      Indeed, when I first read the news, I assumed some portion of the 20 million would lose employee coverage no matter what.  That is not the case in the report, which, believe it or not, I actually read.

      The report does indeed claim “the ACA will lead to a small reduction in employment-based health insurance.”  But how they equate “up to 20 million” with “a small reduction” is a curious value judment in my book.  This is an example where the wisdom of Charlie Sheen would be worth noting: “Stats don’t lie.”

      Of course, even a 20 million person loss of employee coverage may be viewed acceptable to some (which apparently includes you) if it is offset by an impressive net increase of insured individuals, and/or if the non-employee coverage pool is of a comparable quality.  It is an interesting argument if someone wants to make it, but the silence surrounding this report is pretty astounding.  And this is an argument that should have been made before Obamacare was passed.  Instead, Barack Obama used weasel arguments to evade this debate, evasions that are proving to be patently false.

      Finally, I’m not known as someone who hides his opinions on subjects.  But rather waste my energy here spelling out my opinions on Obamacare, I’d be interested in you spelling out yours.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Your writing style is very obtuse.  Mine much less so.  I clearly stated in my 2nd follow up post that I believe universal single payer to be the best policy.  What you actually believe the reader can only make a tentative guess.

        I will repeat that my objection to your article is its counterproductive rhetorical obscurity.  In what I admit is almost sure to fly over your head (yet again), here is another go:

        1.  The only objection to ACA that you specifically raise is the old libertarian chestnut that the markets must not be tampered with, as firms will only pass costs on to the public.

        2.  You make no real attempt to explore even that single, slender thread.  Completely ignored in your analysis:
             a.  Logical extremes to which the argument will almost certainly be taken.
             b.  Historical precedent running counter to your poorly fleshed out thesis.
             c.  Moral implications of endorsing such a narrowly, short-term pragmatic argument.
             d.  The fact that your poorly articulated argument will, beyond any doubt, be taken  
                  out of context by perverts to justify precisely the type of anti-democratic,
                  plutocratic hegemony you (ambiguously) seem to object to.

        3.  Nowhere do you yourself say which policy you actually favor.

        In short, your article is a carelessly shap-dash affair whose true purposes are likely to remain a mystery to the mindful reader.  Certain features suggest that you’re attempting some sort of stealth rhetoric to achieve short-term agreement on a single point in furtherance of some longer-term campaign, but your poor writing style renders that a mere guess.  Very Obama-like, I’d say.

        And almost certain to fail for the reasons I’ve articulated pretty d*mned clearly now.  For the 3rd time.

        • TennesseeCyberian

          Spoken like a true gentleman.  And so humble. 

          Still waiting on that next mind-blowing article, Liam.

  • http://www.jaycob.co.nf/ Scruffy

    Sigh… the US uses the money from their health insurance industry to help fund their military. If GM, Google, blah blah blah corporations fail the US military cant fund their programs, and North Korea sends teams of little ninja rapists from space into the US.

  • Irish Potato Gun

    What other business besides insurance can sell a product but in order for that business to stay profitable and sustainable they have to not deliver on that product.  Seems like massive scam to begin with.

    • http://www.jaycob.co.nf/ Scruffy

      The entire economic system’s built on a scam.

  • Rob Brownaswood

    Who the hell still uses “Obamacare” who isn’t on right wing news? It’s a flawed, half-step in the right direction by a president and his team (assistants, lawyers, spinners etc.). The health factors around 2019 will be hugely different from now anyway so who gives a shit. Unless there is clear stipulations about insurance companies not denying payouts and not dropping customers because of particular health concerns deemed undesirable by the company then any US person will still be screwed. Pollution ain’t stopping so there is much more to worry about health coverage than whether business remains profitable. How about stop coddling business and businessmen.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6JJHSYHD2VCRTWYCP2UOR7KKSI Jhary

      I, and almost all my friends use it, only one of whom is Republican and one a Libertarian. It’s an easier and concise description of something that allows people to know what you are talking about from the get go. Deal with it.

  • luther

    Robalini, you simply have no idea how to read the CBO report or ACA. Nobody “loses” health coverage they simply won’t have it through the employer.  But the lost employer bit will still be subsidized.
    You are reading “loss” incorrectly.  Maybe you shouldn’t right about this stuff. It reflects badly on you and this site.

    • Robalini

      I never stated, nor did I intend to imply, that the 20 million wouldn’t have any insurance at all.  I do have very good reason to believe that the insurance plan they will be put into will be inferior to the one they would have under an employer.  Hence the following line:  ”But as the CBO now concludes, the framework of Obamacare will certainly encourage — and pretty much subsidize — businesses dumping their workers into inferior health care plans for profit.”  And the number of people that are going to be dumped appears to be far greater than was ever sold to the public.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

         Come on now. The headline itself says “Could lose coverage.” Not “will have to switch coverage to an inferior health care plan.”

        If that headline doesn’t accurately convey what you’re trying to say, you should change the headline.

        • Robalini

          What the headline here says is “20 Million Could Lose Employer Coverage” – which was the opening to the title of the article I was sourcing here.  (The full title of the WSWS article was “20 million could lose employer coverage under Obama health care overhaul” – which doesn’t make the distinction you demand.)  Take it up with WSWS – I’m pretty sure WSWS stands by their story and headline,  Glad you are more upset about Disinfo headlines than – in your own words – getting mugged by the Democratic Party.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

             If it was wrong when the WSJ said it, it was wrong when you said it. Don’t blame it on the WSJ; take accountability and responsibility for the headline on *your* article.

            The CBO has quite a different take on things then you do, so I’m going with the CBO.

          • Robalini

            Read again and get your facts straight.  It wasn’t a Wall Street Journal article, it was an article by the World Socialist Web Site.  That you didn’t even know this (though I make it clear in my own piece) suggests you didn’t even bother to seriously read anything that was presented.  My guess is that you just assumed this article was a right wing hit job backed by a WSJ editorial.  In fact, it is a socialist analysis of just one of the many serious flaws in Obamacare, a health care policy that was designed by right wing think tanks.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

            I should get my facts straight?? LOL.

            I stand corrected – you got the faulty headline you admit was wrong but refuse to change, from the World Socialist Web Site.

            So, are you willing yet to correct the headline on YOUR ARTICLE, that you have already admitted was innaccurate?

            You know, take responsibility and accountability for the information you are sharing, rather than try to shift blame and distract from admitting you are wrong?

          • Robalini

            I never “admitted” the headline was inaccurate, although I don’t take credit for it simply because it was from the source article.  In fact, I think the headline perfectly captures the serious issue being suppressed in press coverage here.  What I do admit is if someone is lazy and doesn’t bother to read this article or the source article from WSWS, they may imagine in their head conclusions that were never there nor implied.  That is their problem, not mine.

          • jim_x23

            Wow. So I have to go in and slice words this fine? OK, sure.

            When you said:

            “What the headline here says is “20 Million Could Lose Employer Coverage”
            – which was the opening to the title of the article I was sourcing
            here….Take it up with WSWS – I’m pretty sure
            WSWS stands by their story and headline

            …you were deflecting any criticism of YOUR headline to someone else’s headline, rather than answer the actual criticism.

            IF you want your position to be genuinely respected and respectable, you should either a) DIRECTLY refute the criticism, or b) DIRECTLY change your headline.

  • Vincent Vega II

    who propped this fool up?  Who gave the go ahead for this guy to b e th e wiz?  Hmmm?

    answer that an d you know whjts going on.

    Hawaii the other Kenya.   BARF!    I wish I could BARF bigger on this plate.  

    Oh praise obama,/. Barack Hussein Obama.   He is ssssssssssssssssssssoooooooooo great. why hes he is.Cast votes? no, cast b…….;l e t          sssssssssssssssshje is such a great man. you should all worshp this maN.Ym ym

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

       The GOP gave him the go-ahead, by giving us a precursor like Bush and a completely unacceptable alternative like McCain/Palin.

      If the Democrats offer a mugging and the GOP alternative is a rape-murder, and no other candidates have a prayer let alone any real leadership experience where we can match what they say with what we do, then the only option is to take the mugging.

  • Vincent Vega

    Cast boolits.

    Thas rite……..

  • Gregory Wyrdmaven

    This article has no validity due to the usage of the word “Obamacare”…that revealed the bias and so you fail.

    fiat lux