NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

October 1, 2013

Our view: Obamacare heading off the tracks

Obamacare: Train wreck or triumph?

We’re about to find out as major provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect this month.

We’re betting on, but not hoping for, a train wreck.

The ACA, a bill that virtually no one read, was railroaded through Congress with no real debate on a strictly partisan vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously told her members at the time, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

And if anyone knows about fog, it’s the Democrat from San Francisco.

Now the fog is beginning to lift and what we see is not pretty. In fact, it’s looking so ugly that some principal backers of Obamacare are turning away.

That includes members of Congress. While not technically exempt from the law they passed, Senate and House members will be given special treatment not available to the rest of us, including generous subsidies.

They also don’t have to worry about having their hours cut to part-time so they lose their health insurance. And even if we fire them in 2014, we’ll continue to pay their benefits.

Another shining example of the “Good for thee, but not for me” principle is Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

The governor has twice applied for a permanent waiver from Obamacare and has twice been denied.

Because Massachusetts has Romneycare, Massachusetts has a three-year exemption from the more onerous and intrusive Obamacare, but the Patrick administration wanted a full waiver.

The reason is simple: While Obamacare might reduce insurance rates for some small businesses, it would increase them for more than half.

In a letter to Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Patrick said the waiver was needed to “avoid increases in health insurance premiums for a large segment of our small employer population and their employees.”

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