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Senate Democrats and the White House reached agreement on another big tax-and-spend bill that would, among other things, extend expanded Obamacare subsidies for three years, well past the next presidential election – how convenient.  The agreement was made possible when Senator Joe Manchin reversed himself on key provisions.  A vote could come next week.  CNN

The subsidies were expanded in March 2021, supposedly temporarily as part of COVID relief.  Continuing jumbo Obamacare subsidies is a bad idea for several reasons.  First, they subsidize wealthy people who make three times the national median income.  They can receive $7,800 a year in taxpayer money to subsidize their health insurance.  Are you kidding me?  Second, the jumbo subsidies hide the true cost of insurance.  Premiums were slated to go up substantially – an average of 10 percent nationally – but they would go up less if the bill is passed.  Democrats were freaking out about huge price increases hitting consumers right before the November elections and they would lose votes as a result, but they won’t have to worry if the bill becomes law.  Third, the jumbo subsidies would cost far more than the Democrats claim.  A CBO analysis shows the subsidies would add $248 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade.  Fourth, 2.3 million people would lose their job-based coverage as employers fob off health insurance costs to the federal government.  It’s never a good idea to deliberately make more people dependent on the government, but that’s what the Democrats live for.

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Obamacare is still a turkey, jumbo subsidies or no.  The Affordable Care Act has steadily become less affordable over time.  In 2015, half of middle-class families paid 7.7 percent or more of their income on the lowest-cost ACA bronze plan. But in 2019, the cost swelled to 11.3 percent and, for 55 to 64-year-olds, 19 percent.  Also, drug spending went up 2 percent a year between 2015 and 2019 for people in large group plans, but 11 percent for those with individual plans because of Obamacare’s guaranteed issue preexisting condition coverage, restrictions on true underwriting, and other regulations.

We have fresh reminders of other problems with Obamacare:  It limits popular short-term health insurance, which prevents some people from getting insurance at all.  It bans physician-owned hospitals, which makes zero sense unless you’re a special interest afraid of competition from people who know what they’re doing.  Finally, the lies used to sell this turkey continue.  Joe Biden recently claimed 100 million people would lose their health insurance if Obamacare’s preexisting condition coverage went away.  That was too much even for the left-wing Washington Post which gave Biden two Pinocchios for his specious claim.  Biden inflated the number by including people who would face price increases, but not lose their coverage.  He also included people on employer plans which typically had preexisting condition coverage before Obamacare ever came along.

Never-ending jumbo subsidies, a string of broken promises and lies, declining affordability, herding people into government dependency – there’s not a lot to like here.  We’ve gone the wrong direction and the Democrats remind me of ‘Wrong Way’ Corrigan who tried to fly from New York to California, but ended up in Ireland.  Wish us the luck of the Irish – we’re going to need it.

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