Three things the Obamacare “Fix” doesn’t fix

Obamacare signups were a mess due to IT problems, and it turns out people could not “keep their policies, period,” so now there’s all manner of fuss and bother going on inside the Beltway to fix the mess. Give states extra time to implement changes, let some people keep their policies for awhile longer: who knows what other “fix” the President and Congress will come up with before the weekend’s over?

It’s all beside the point. I welcome anything that slows the Obamacare juggernaut, but that’s only a start. The basic problem with the Patient “Protection” and “Affordable” Care Act has nothing to do with a poor website launch or premium hikes.

1. The HHS Mandate is still in place.

Whether Obamacare is enacted now or in a delayed manner as currently proposed, it retains all the 15,000+ pages of regulations that were piled onto the two-thousand page bill. That includes the mandate that all health insurance policies cover contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. Despite the carve-outs devised by the President and HHS so far for certain “religious” employers, many employers who provide health insurance for employees and who have religious objections to paying for contraceptive/abortifacient coverage are still stuck. See the latest from The Becket Fund on lawsuits by employers challenging the Mandate.

The business owners going to court aren’t litigation-happy. They didn’t ask for this fight. They want their religious beliefs respected, and they don’t want the President to pick and choose which people and organizations are “religious” enough to qualify for an Obamacare exemption. The law demands that they knuckle under or else face ruinous fines. The courts are their last resort, as long as the executive and legislative branches are deaf to their appeals.

ACLJ gives an example of how the fines could add up. A business with 100 employees, and an employer-provided health plan that is not Obamacare-compliant, would rack up $3.65 million in fines per year. ACLJ goes on to point out that the fine for not offering health coverage at all would be only $140,000. That seems to give the lie to claims that Obamacare is about providing insurance to people who couldn’t otherwise afford it. There seems to be an even more compelling priority for the feds: protecting the HHS mandate.

2. The federal government is still using Obamacare to promote the false idea that women’s fertility is a disease. 

I keep hearing the President and HHS Secretary Sebelius talk about “inferior” plans. They say that Obamacare-compliant health insurance plans, even if more expensive than my current insurance, will be “a better product.” What makes them “better,” in the eyes of our President? The new plans cover so much more than old ones, thanks to Obamacare.

“Thanks” a lot.

Among the “preventive care” services that every Obamacare health insurance policy must include is contraception for women. This includes drugs that can have abortifacient effects – although HHS’s hired guns assure us that a drug that prevents implantation is not really causing an abortion, which defies biology, but never mind that for now. Contraception for men is not considered “preventive.” While women and adolescent girls will be able to get birth control pills with no co-pay, men still have to pay for condoms. Apparently, suppression of women’s fertility is a serious priority under Obamacare.

Senator Shaheen (D-NH) used to talk about the evils of a health care system that treated being a woman as a “pre-existing condition.” Oddly enough, Shaheen has been fully on board with Obamacare, a law that relies on treating women in precisely that way.

Yesterday, after outrage from people who were losing their policies finally hit some kind of tipping point, the President said he’d allow some delay. People can keep their old plans for a little while longer, maybe. Still, delay is not repeal. Any reprieve is temporary. Yesterday’s speech didn’t settle anything.

3. It’s nearly impossible to avoid funding abortion providers under Obamacare.

Can’t Americans averse to abortion just sit this one out, so to speak? No.

Americans United for Life lists some of the ways we’re all affected as Obamacare goes forward.

  • Allowing the use of federal tax dollars for abortion, abortion coverage and abortion inducing drugs and devices.
  • Including a “Covert Abortion Premium Mandate” within Exchange plans that include abortion coverage.
  • Pretending that the Hyde Amendment protections were enough to prohibit direct payment for abortions.
  • Permitting federally subsidized Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) to provide abortion coverage through the state insurance exchanges.
  • Failing to prohibit all multi-state qualified health plans from providing coverage for abortion.
  • Mandating coverage of drugs and devices known to end unborn life through the guise of “preventive care.”
  • Failing to provide comprehensive First Amendment conscience protections for individuals, employers, and insurance companies that have religious or moral objections to abortion.

(Full AUL post here.)

I see that some Planned Parenthood affiliates are getting government grants to be “navigators,” helping people sign up for Obamacare. Given the web site rollout, that’s one project PP might have been wise to skip.

A report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute explains how the number of publicly-subsidized abortions will increase under the law in its current form. Author Charles A. Donovan gets down into the weeds of the “Affordable” Care Act, where unfortunately so much is hidden – much that could have been exposed had then-Speaker Pelosi in Congress allowed time for her colleagues to read the bill before passing it on a straight-party-line vote in 2009.

A few of Obamacare’s lousy consequences have finally become front-page news for days on end, forcing a Presidential apology and a hasty House vote to let people keep their plans. Turns out the President was full of prunes when he said we could keep our health insurance plans if we liked them. The web site with which we were supposed to sign up for plans has been a wreck. Rates are going up because of all the Obamacare mandates (my son learned last night that his rate is going up 60%, if he decides to keep carrying insurance at all).

To the extent that all these issues force reappraisal of the law, good. Solving these issues will not get at the root of the law’s flaws, though. No matter what Obamacare’s partisans may say, providing health coverage to uninsured Americans cannot possibly be the goal of the law – not while the HHS Mandate stands, while business owners have more incentive to drop than to keep insurance for their workers, and while federally-dictated mandates piled onto insurance policies force increased premiums on all of us. In my area, Obamacare will have the effect of reducing access to health care, too, as the sole health insurance underwriter in the state had to trim its network in order to afford accommodating all of Obamacare’s provisions.

If the President’s health care law is really about protecting the poor and the uninsured, ditch the HHS mandate. Ditch the requirement that every health insurance policy perpetuate the lie that women are broken and need to be fixed. Ditch the attacks on religious liberty.

To the extent that the President defends those fundamental flaws while he scrambles to fix a website, he tells me that health care is not his genuine priority.