Obamacare 2.0: Bad Medicine from Hillary

by Betsy McCaughey | September 30, 2015 12:05 am

Last week brought more disturbing revelations about Hillary Clinton’s emails. A majority of Americans think she’s lying about what she did as secretary of state and what she’s done since to cover up, according to a new Fox News poll. As the scandal hounds her, she’s trying to lose the scent by announcing a plan to expand and improve Obamacare. Trouble is, her health claims are whoppers, too.


Praising Obamacare, she told a Baton Rouge campaign audience, “Fewer people without insurance leads to fewer visits to the emergency room.” That’s untrue. Emergency room use is rising, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians, because people enrolled in Obamacare or added to Medicaid rolls still can’t find a doctor.

Or their deductible is so gigantic they can’t afford to actually go to the doctor. For an “affordable” Obamacare bronze plan, the average deductible is $5,200 for a single person and $10,500 for a family. A healthy 30-something guy has to shell out $5,200 of his own money after paying premiums before he’s covered. Even higher-priced silver plans have staggering deductibles: $2,900 for individuals and $6,000 for family plans.

People who get coverage through an employer are getting clobbered with higher deductibles, too. The health law makes employer provided health insurance more expensive. It makes preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies “free” (no copays). Also it forces insurers to cover “essential benefits” — costly items such as substance abuse treatment and pregnancy coverage that many people don’t need. To pay for these provisions, insurers have raised deductibles a huge 67 percent since 2010.

All told, Obamacare has made going to the doctor pricey, even though you’re technically “covered.”

Enter Clinton with a pie-in-the-sky solution that would actually drive up costs. She proposes forcing plans to cover three doctors visits before your deductible kicks in. Three “free” visits. Sorry, they’re not free. The cost will get added on everyone’s premiums. You’ll be paying for those visits whether you need a doctor or not. The more your plan covers, the higher your premium. Clinton assumes we’re too stupid to figure that out.

The same is true of her proposal to limit out-of-pocket prescription drug costs to $250 a month. The tooth fairy won’t be paying the rest. You will, through a higher premium.

Hillary Clinton needs a dose of truth serum before she rolls out her promised plan to expand Obamacare. About 9.9 million Americans are enrolled. That leaves an estimated 10.5 million uninsured people who are eligible but won’t sign up. They’d rather make a car payment or just see it as a lousy deal.

The Obama administration is using street fairs, television ads and penalties to coax people into enrolling. But the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 90 percent of the uninsured will weasel out of any penalties thanks to dozens of exemptions the administration recognizes. The Obama administration is allowing people to say “no” to insurance.

Don’t expect that from a Hillary Clinton administration. In 1994, when she proposed her Health Security Act, she said anyone who showed up at a doctor’s office without insurance would be automatically enrolled. People who failed to pay the premium could have their wages garnished.

In 2007, during the Democratic primary contest, Clinton and Barack Obama clashed on this issue. She bragged her plan achieved “universal” coverage because it was mandatory and would have “an enforcement mechanisms.” Then she attacked them-Senator Obama’s plan for allowing millions to stay uninsured.

Count on Clinton, if she gets elected, to be the Health Care Commissar. If her past is any indication, she’ll track down and punish anyone who goes without insurance. But don’t expect her to disclose her intentions before Election Day.

Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and author of “Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution.”

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