It’s been a couple of interesting weeks on the Obamacare front.
First, Obama Inc. told the Catholic Church that they had to offer contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans. I covered that little episode here.
Obama Inc. made a poorly camouflaged attempt to acquiesce without actually changing anything. Their proposal was to not require the Catholic Church, but to require their insurers to provide the contraception at no cost.
After 22.5 seconds of consideration, the Church came back with their response..NYET! In fact, not only NYET but if you force us, we’ll close our hospitals and other institutions.
Also recently, a study was released that showed some interesting early information on the reality of costs associated with Obamacare. You may remember President Obama telling us time and again how Obamacare would bend the cost curve on health care. Well, it turns out he was probably right. The problem is that the cost curve appears to be bent up not down, and at a very steep angle. According to this analysis and report, the first year costs for the high risk pool that covers people with preexisting conditions are running at a rate that is twice what was planned!
Finally, some had theorized that Obama may use the Blunt amendment as a way to let the Catholic Church off the hook while saving face on his administrations earlier edict. Unfortunately, the Blunt amendment was defeated on a mostly partly line vote today so the Catholic Church’s reason to close it’s facilities remains intact.
What are we to make of all this?
Some pundits, including the esteemed Ed Morrissey believe this is a high stakes game of chicken and that in the end, Obama will blink. I don’t buy it. Let’s look at the implications of the various actions I’ve previously noted.
When I looked at the premiums being charge for the high cost fund I noted that my family of 4 would be covered for about $800 per month. That may seem like a lot. However, for similar coverage from the high cost fund when we lived in Minnesota, we were paying nearly $1,500/month and that was two years ago. My point is that not only is the Obamacare high cost fund costing a lot more than it’s counterparts, it is also charging a lot less than its state counterparts. Last I looked, high costs and low revenue didn’t make a successful business. The outcome, if this is allowed to continue, is that insurance companies will be saddled with higher costs and lower revenues. This, over time, will force weaker insurance companies out of the business. Fewer insurance companies will lead to fewer choices which in turn, will lead to higher insurance costs.
I don’t think Obama will blink for the Catholic Church. As I noted earlier, he had the perfect opportunity to get a way out via the Blunt amendment. The amendment would have allowed church organizations to object and not provide certain coverages but would have required all other businesses to continue to provide whatever mandate Obama Inc. came up with. The tell for me is that this was voted down on nearly a party line vote. There are numerous Democrats in “swing” states who are up for election this year. There’s no way this is going to work in their favor. Had Obama wanted an out for the Catholic Church, there is no doubt in my mind that Harry Reid would have allowed just enough Democrats to vote for the amendment and “grudgingly” allowed it to pass. The fact that it didn’t means Obama is playing for keeps.
Finally, the Catholic Church threat. According to Morrissey, nearly 16% of admissions are served by Catholic hospitals. Nearly a third of those hospitals are in lesser served rural areas. If the Church does indeed pull their hospitals and other organizations, it will create a health care shortage of significant proportions in many areas of the U.S..
Contrary to the notion that Obama will blink, I think Obama is setting up exactly what he wants in health care.
If insurance costs skyrocket due to fewer providers and higher costs and access to care becomes scarcer due to a boycott by the Catholic Church, Obama, should he win a second election, will have the perfect pretense to declare a crisis and push, declare, impose or legislate for a national health care, single payer system…which is what he has wanted all along.
I will admit that it is possible that I’m wrong but I haven’t been wrong about much with this President. If I’m wrong, look for one of the following things to occur:
1. The Blunt amendment is brought back (it was tabled) and narrowly passes.
2. The Supreme Court rules that the health care mandate is unconstitutional before the election.
Any of these things could indicate that Obama won’t or isn’t able to eat the entire loaf. However, I don’t think either of these will happen. Rather, I think that Obama has planned this approach and as the Catholic Church threatened, if you listen closely you will hear Obama saying, “Thank you, Thank you very much!”