UNFORTUNATELY, THE LATTER State legislators eager to escape Obamacare’s restrictive mandates have united behind the interstate healthcare compact, a single piece of state legislation they expect to free them from having to obey federal law. S 836, recently passed in the Senate [update: it has now passed the House], would make South Carolina an official …
When Congress originally passed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the plan was for the federal government to set up a national “health exchange” – a single government-run “market” for health insurance. One small problem: the feds didn’t have the resources to do it. So they made a virtue of necessity and “allowed” states to set up their own health exchanges. Is it possible, then, to create a “market-friendly” health exchange within federal guidelines? Hardly.
A vast number of new federal healthcare regulations are introduced in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), most of which will be enforced through state or federally run health exchanges. The harmless public face of these health exchanges is a web-based “marketplace,” in which the uninsured and small businesses can shop for health insurance plans selected for sale by the government. Behind agency doors, however, these exchanges will act as the primary regulator of the insurance industry within states, approving or rejecting health plans, overseeing new rate and coverage requirements, doling out health insurance subsidies, and enrolling consumers in whichever government program they are eligible for.
In a recent piece on Slate.com, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer calls a pair of South Carolina politicians “hypocritical” for, on the one hand, criticizing Obamacare’s individual health insurance mandate while, on the other, doing nothing to end the state’s auto insurance mandate. Whether South Carolina should end the auto insurance mandate is a question worth debating. For now, though, it’s enough to point out that the difference between (a) paying into a “system” to cover the risks of driving a car and (b) a comprehensive health insurance plan can be summed up in a single word.
What’s the Committee doing? Over the last few months (check out our video coverage), we’ve watched a roomful of policymakers and health care officials struggle to come to grips with the bureaucratic nightmare known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Listening to the governor’s committee attempt to make sense of it is a little like watching Sisyphus roll his boulder up that hill in Hades. Each time the committee members believe they’ve reached consensus on what the law actually means, a new expert or lawyer or consultant contradicts it.
The federal government has given states a choice: either create a “health exchange” to comply with the new federal health care law, or the feds will do it themselves. The Policy Council proposes a third option by outlining what the state can do now to make our health care system more free, more competitive, and more affordable.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), more popularly known as “Obamacare,” is expected to cost trillions and increase the national debt by hundreds of billions of dollars. All in all, taxpayers are looking at $669 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years to pay for the new federal health care mandate. This is in addition to billions of dollars in regulatory fines and fees.