The Orwellian tone of the landmark legislation's title - the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - rings ever louder. Just listen to the logical dissonance of this revelation from the Los Angeles Times:
"The large subsidies for health insurance that helped fuel the successful drive to sign up approximately 8 million Americans for coverage under the Affordable Care Act are on track to cost billions of dollars this year, a new federal report indicates. Nearly nine in 10 Americans who bought health care coverage on the federal government's health care marketplaces received government assistance to offset their premiums."
In other words, those sign-up numbers that the Obama administration bragged about didn't come cheaply.
The administration's own Department of Health and Human Services has now reported at least $11 billion will be spent for those subsidies.
And, as the Times reported on June 17: "That total does not count the additional cost of providing coverage to millions of additional consumers who bought coverage in states that ran their own marketplaces, including California, Connecticut, Maryland and New York. About a third of the 8 million people who signed up for coverage this year used a state-run marketplace."
HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell issued a statement last week accentuating the positive - and ignoring the obviously negative: "What we're finding is the marketplace is working. Consumers have more choices, and they're paying less for their premiums."
Well sure, when consumers' "choices" include sweet insurance deals largely paid for by the government, more of them will rush to take a mostly free (for them) ride.
Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office estimated in April that the annual cost of subsidies will climb to $23 billion next year - and keep going all the way up to $95 billion in 2024.
Yes, the CBO also predicts offsetting costs from cuts that Obamcare mandates in other federal health care spending.
But as long demonstrated by Congress, writing such reductions into law is much easier than following through on them. Federal lawmakers have consistently changed their minds on mandated Medicare cuts as cutting time drew near.
In the same way, President Obama has routinely bypassed Congress to delay politically painful mandates in the increasingly unaffordable Affordable Care Act.
The president sold Obamacare on the far-fetched - and now predictably broken - promise that if you liked your insurance plan and doctor you could keep them under this law.
But when the Obamacare exchange program sells its policies by giving customers sweet subsidy deals, the taxpayers pay a heavy price.
Notice about comments:
The Post and Courier is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point.