Thursday, June 17, 2010

While We Are Distracted...

By the BP oil spill crisis, and it is certainly worthy of our attention, don't think things have stopped going on in Washington, DC.

Actually, come to think of it, there is a connection between the BP oil crisis and one major issue in DC, the Obamacare program. That connection is - wait for it - labor unions.

Yep, Obama still refuses to waive the Jones Act, which would allow foreign ships and oil skimmers to come in so as not to upset the labor unions. The oil continues to gush from the earth's surface, harming our marine life, our ocean, and too many people's livelihoods at a time when jobs are already hard enough to come by (newest unemployment data for today skyrocketed to 472,000 jobless claims this week).

Add to that the moratorium Obama put on deepwater drilling, despite Salazar's advisers advising against the moratorium, and many more people will be struggling before too long, especially in the Gulf. Like they need any more hardship. Obama even admitted as much, yet he is determined to go forward with his plan, halting any more drilling.

But how are the unions related to Obamacare promises that our health care, if we have it, will remain unchanged? Well, as it turns out - SURPRISE - most of us WILL have our current health care changed by Obamacare. Which group will not? You know the answer, labor unions:

That's right, unions will be grandfathered in as this article highlights, "New Rules Could Make 66 Percent Of Employer Plans Lose ‘Grandfathered’ Status." Gee, none of us who were following this massive takeover saw that coming, did we? Oh, right - we DID, and were told we were just haters for it. Well, we're hating now:
New rules from the Obama administration that regulate health care plans that existed before the reform bill was passed highlight the difficulty the administration faces in both reforming the system and allowing people to keep the plans they like.

Under new regulations issued Monday, anywhere from 39 percent to 66 percent of employer plans will lose their “grandfathered status” by 2013, according to estimates included with the rules.

For plans that do not fall under the grandfathered status, employers would have to find a plan that complies with the health care bill passed March 23. Whether or not costs for the new plans will be less than grandfathered plans has yet to be seen.

Small businesses would be harder hit than large employers, losing grandfathered status for as few as 49 percent and as many as 80 percent of plans. Employers may keep their plan if it does not raise its prices beyond “reasonable changes” and if it does not cut substantially cut benefits for a particular condition.

Oh, there's a big surprise. Small businesses, the backbone of our economy, are going to be taking the biggest hit here. Golly, too bad no one said anything about this before. That's snark, just in case you missed it. Hell to the yes we were saying it. Again, we were roundly discounted. How many times do I have to say this? We were RIGHT:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated a saying that President Obama said many times during the health care debate: “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it,” Sebelius said at a press conference Tuesday.

But experts say the new regulations reflect the limits to which that promise can be kept.

“Given the direction that President Obama wanted to go with health care, his promise that people could keep their existing plans was always a dicey one,” said Tevi Troy, former HHS deputy secretary under President Bush and visiting senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

The administration said that it would “take into account reasonable changes” that insurers routinely make in response to changes in cost and availability but would not outline details about what “reasonable changes” might be.

The regulations stipulate that insurers may make changes to their plans, but only to increase benefits or adapt to consumer protections outlined in the health care bill.

“They give all Americans with health insurance some important protections this year and create a path to the consumer-friendly health insurance marketplace of the future,” Sebelius said.

The new rules mandate that new individuals may not be added to grandfathered health plans after a business merger or restructuring so that grandfather status is not traded as a commodity. Thus companies will likely have employees with two different types of health care coverage, if the companies stay with their current plan.

Troy anticipates that insurance companies will try to freeze their plans to retain their grandfathered status for as long as possible.

“Freezing is not sustainable,” Troy told the Daily Caller. “The majority of plans will lose their grandfathered status in relatively short order, which I suspect was the unstated intent of both the legislators and the regulators.”

Here's the bottom line. MANY of us knew this was going to happen. Many of us knew this was a hugely flawed bill from the get-go, not the least because the vast majority of the people voting on it hadn't read the damn thing. With its jumping off point being big giveaways to Big Pharma, it could only go downhill from there, and did.

At what point do the people who buy every single word coming out of Obama's mouth finally accept that they are being had? How many times must we say, "We told you so" before they will remove their blinders, their rose-colored glasses, or whatever it is that is keeping them from seeing the truth of who this man is? Despite his strong words, he is selling out the Gulf to the unions. Despite his claims to the contrary, those of us not in unions are likely to be screwed when it comes to health care, while the only ones NOT feeling the pain will be the unions.

Obama is not working in OUR best interest, but in the UNION'S best interest. As I have said before, they are sure getting their money's worth with him. And what are we getting? Oh, you know that, too - the shaft.

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