President Obama’s core health care oath was bogus. That’s the evaluation of the Economist, which calls the President’s oft-repeated vow, “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it,” an “empty promise”:
In 2014 the main provisions of Obamacare will come into force. The biggest uncertainty is whether the law will prompt employers, which currently provide most working Americans and their families with health insurance, to stop doing so. Surveys suggest most firms that currently provide their staff with insurance will not drop it straight away. But some will. And even for those that keep insurance, big changes are inevitable.
A growing percentage of companies plan to dump their healthcare plans, pay the law’s fine, and let employees buy plans on their own. This is likely to mean much higher costs for the Treasury, as many of these people will need government subsidies to purchase insurance plans. For many people, it will also mean a serious decrease in their perceived quality of life.
The struggle over Obamacare only really began when the Supreme Court ruled that the law rested on a lie, but a legal one. (The lie, oft-repeated by the law’s backers, was that the insurance mandate was not a tax; the court held that it was only constitutional if it was a tax, and lying about its being a tax didn’t change the facts.)
With that decision behind us, the roll-out of Obamacare will determine whether the public views the new system as a great triumph, showing that more government can be good government and that the Democrats have a workable plan for the future, or as a big failure, teaching us that we must never go down that road again.
The law was so complex and mysterious that virtually none of the legislators who voted for (or against) it really had any clear idea about what the law would do or how it would work. “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it,” said then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We will now find out what’s in it, one surprise at a time.