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Obama Admits Healthcare Waivers Are to Hold Back Flood of Companies Dropping Insurance

John on August 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm

This is from the President’s appearance in Decorah, Iowa. A man in the audience asks “You talk about universal healthcare…if it’s so good why are you allowing so many large companies to opt out?” Listen carefully to the President’s answer:

Anytime you’re changing big systems like this there’s going to be a transition period. So, the overall healthcare reform does not fully take effect until 2013. That’s when we have the exchanges set up, which means that if you don’t have health insurance or if you’re a small business that only has a few employees and you can’t get a good rate, you’re going to be able to go into the exchange and essentially be part of a big pool just like a big company or federal workers are and get a better deal from your insurance companies. But those exchanges are just now being set up. Took about couple years to get it set up.

So in the mean time the question is how do you manage that transition in a way in which a bunch of companies don’t say to themselves well we’re just going to eliminate healthcare that’s not great but it’s better than nothing. And our basic attitude has been we’re willing to give some waivers to some companies that are doing something when it comes to healthcare because those employees don’t have a better option right now but as we build up this better option then they’ll be able to take advantage of that better option. So the whole issue here has to do with how do we transition to the point where all these exchanges across the country are up and running.

All during the debate over Obamacare, Republicans argued that companies facing steeper costs would simply eliminate health care and dump people into the exchanges. Here’s how the Heritage Foundation described it earlier this year:

As it turns out, many businesses will likely dump employees into the subsidized exchanges, passing the cost of providing coverage from the business to the federal taxpayer. A company that does not offer health coverage will be able to increase its work force’s wages, with the employees receiving generous subsidies to buy insurance in the exchanges. It is a true win-win scenario (workers get higher wages and subsidized coverage while employers get drastically reduced costs for employee health insurance) if we forget about the taxpayer.

Meanwhile, progressives like those at Think Progress were busy arguing that this would not happen to any significant degree.

But President Obama just admitted that the waivers his administration has issued are an attempt to staunch the flood of companies dropping employer healthcare just until the exchanges are set up. Maybe there’s another way to parse it, but that’s how it sounds to me. Once the exchanges are set up the waivers end (already built into the law) and employees will have a “better option,” i.e. taxpayer subsidized plans.

The entire effort to promote Obamacare has been a case of deceit and misdirection by the President and his allies. As the reality of the plan draws nearer, he continues to reveal more of the reality as opposed to the carefully crafted sales pitch.

 

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