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THE CONTINUING INSANITY OF OBAMACARE

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Monday (3/23) was the fifth anniversary of passage of Obamacare. Seven Democrat senators marked it by asking for delay of yet another provision of the law.

Putting companies with 51 to 100 employees in the costlier "small group" market could be "harmful and disruptive," they said in a letter to HHS Secretary Silvia Burwell.

The uninsured should be given another chance to avoid the fine for not having health insurance, three House Democrats said in a letter to President Obama in February.

"If ObamaCare is so great, why do Democrats repeatedly try to hide its more unpleasant features?" Investors Business Daily asked then.

Before the law was passed, President Obama assured us:

* "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." Tens of thousands – chiefly seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage — have learned they can’t. Only 32 percent of 3,072 physicians surveyed by medical HR firm Jackson Coker say they’ll join the Obamacare network.

* "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your plan."  Hundreds of thousands– most recently in Colorado – have had their plans cancelled. Up to 20 million eventually may, the Congressional Budget Office estimated.

* "Premiums for the average family will be cut by up to $2,500." Premiums in the non-group marketplace were 24.4 percent higher last year than they would have been without Obamacare, said the National Bureau of Economic Research.

 * "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits," the Liar-in-Chief said. Obamacare will increase the deficit by $1.35 trillion over the next decade, CBO estimated in January.

* "This law means more choice, more competition," said the LinC. The year before Obamacare went into effect, 1,232 carriers offered insurance coverage in the individual market, said the Government Accountability Office. This year, only 310 do.

Since — according to Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber — these promises were lies, the law’s defenders strive, frantically, to move the goalposts.

Obamacare is a success because more people have health insurance, they say. Because you have to pay a fine if you don’t have insurance, this "accomplishment" is lame — especially since so many uninsured  choose to pay the fine rather than buy overpriced insurance.

Most of the 11.4 million Obamacare "signups" of which the administration boasts previously had health insurance. Only 6.7 million of the 8 million "signups" claimed for last year actually enrolled.

CBO predicted when Obamacare was passed that this year 26 million more Americans would have health insurance. This month, CBO scaled that estimate back by more than 10 million.

Premiums will rise about 8.5 percent this year and next, CBO estimates. In the two years before Obamacare was enacted, premiums rose just  0.6 percent and 1.3 percent.

Obamacare’s true cost is disguised by subsidies for insurance companies due to expire in 2017, said Stephen Parente, professor of health finance at the University of Minnesota. When they do, premiums for "Bronze" plans will soar as much as 45 percent.

Obamacare clobbers employment, say surveys by Federal Reserve banks in New York and Philadelphia. It’s crippling small business, said the National Center for Policy Analysis. When the oft-delayed employer mandate finally kicks in, thousands more will lose their jobs.

Obamacare has been underwater in 200 consecutive polls, by increasing margins since implementation began. As more Americans discover their "inexpensive" policy has an enormous deductible, or get a nasty surprise from the IRS, I wouldn’t bet on it becoming more popular.

Obamacare has cost more than $50,000 for each additional insured. "There’s no way we can afford it," said author Stephen Brill, who said Obamacare benefits mostly insurance companies and lobbyists.

If it isn’t already in one, Obamacare will be in a "death spiral" in a year or two when premiums and fines soar.

It’s understandable why President Obama clings to his "signature achievement." But why do nearly all other Democrats cling to it too? Some who voted for Obamacare must have thought it would help their constituents. Now that it’s clear it hurts them, why haven’t they been willing to fix their mistake?

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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