Amidst all the words by pen and screen about Obamacare, few have compared President Obama’s signature health care reform legislation to the late ‘80s debacle of “Section 89,” the now-forgotten attempted addition to the IRS code included in the sweeping Tax Reform Act of 1986, which collapsed under its own weight – just before it was to take effect. Section 89 was a federal government’s attempt to require employers to provide non-discriminatory life and health insurance benefits to all employees, without regard to income. But the nightmarish rules and regulatory burden it was poised to foist onto businesses was so onerous and complex that as it neared implementation, there were 13 bills before Congress to change or eliminate it entirely.
Could this same fate befall the so-called Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare?
With many “shoes” having already dropped, and so many straws of exemption placed on the camel’s back, the possibility of Obamacare simply collapsing under the weight of its 906 pages1 and over 15,000 pages of regulations2 is not just a wish of conservatives but a real possibility.
So here are some of the dropped shoes to date:
–Waivers – More than 700 organizations and 2 million Americans have been given waivers3
–Delays – Companies with more than 50 employees have been given a one-year delay4 in implementation
–No income verification – Individual income verification for the insurance exchange changed to the “honor system” for now5
–Missed deadlines – Over 20% (41 out of 82) deadlines for implementation have been missed 6
–Insufficient funding – Some of the 18 separate tax increases7 needed to fund Obamacare are being eliminated or postponed, and some groups are finding ways to avoid them8, which – combined with an overly optimistic initial estimate, may lead to a significant shortfall9 and debt
–Messy rollout – Glitch-filled initial enrollment October 110
Despite the administration’s relentless and daedal efforts to keep pitching this landmark legislation of President Obama and restructuring of the healthcare and insurance for more than 310 million Americans, there are threatening dark clouds on the horizon that may portend its demise.
Perhaps, in the event of the collapse of this “snow globing” of one-sixth of the American economy which fails in its two fundamental stated goals of reducing health care cost and covering the uninsured, the prescient one‑sentence warning from Dr. Barbara Bellar should have been heeded:
“We’re going to be gifted with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it, but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect by the government, which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare — all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke.”