EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

October 27, 2013

Column: Those sinking with Obamacare had plenty of warning

One year from today — and perhaps much sooner Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and other Republican “extremists” will look like heroes. For trying recently to defund the (un)Affordable Care Act, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid smeared them as “anarchists,” and both liberals and some weak-kneed Republicans have offered their own denunciations.

But as the S.S. Obamacare traverses dangerous seas, these brave conservatives will look increasingly like dockhands who begged passengers to avoid a reputedly invincible craft. “Stay off the ship,” they shouted before it embarked. “It’s going to sink!”

While the GOP’s role in this month’s partial federal shutdown has cut its public support, Republicans who stood athwart this program yelling, “Stop!” will look prescient as the Obamacare’s staterooms grow sopping wet. Its engine room already is armpit-deep in ice water. Rather than powerful pistons to propel the massive liner, healthcare.gov resembles an outboard motor that wheezes, coughs, and mainly conks out.

Consumer Reports advises: “Stay away from HealthCare.gov for at least another month, if you can.”

The gashes in ObamaCare’s hull will scream for attention as its maiden journey becomes a voyage of the damned.

Plenty more Americans will get letters like the one I received Monday:

“Your existing policy will end and be replaced with a new policy,” reads my insurer’s notice. “These changes are required by federal health care reform, called the Affordable Care Act.”

According to Kaiser Health News, Pittsburgh’s Highmark insurance and Philadelphia’s Independence Blue Cross are canceling “guaranteed issue” policies, mainly for those with pre-existing conditions. In California, Blue Shield ended coverage for 119,000 individuals, and Kaiser Permanente tossed 160,000 people. Florida Blue terminated 300,000 men and women or 80 percent of its individual market.

“Sixteen million people are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage,” explained Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates.

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