By Mark J Landry
The shiny wrapping paper has been tossed aside, and what is left is the reality of the gift Senator Mary Landrieu personally wrapped with her “Yea” vote on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Landrieu, along with Congressional Democrats and the President, decided the American people could not be responsible for the most personal of decisions, American’s own healthcare choices.
Before going on, it is important to understand how Obamacare works. On every cellphone, landline, and internet connection bill there is a fee called Federal Universal Service Charge. This fee is used -by the government- to provide phone and internet services to those with low income -this fee funds “Obamaphones”. This fee stems from the Telecommunications Act of 1996, where the act’s major goal was to provide telecommunications services throughout the Nation. Obamacare works in a similar way. Those who can afford to buy health insurance will have fees added to their policy cost, and those fees will be used to fund healthcare subsidies and Medicaid expansion. Because the policy fees alone cannot completely fund Obamacare, the mandates on individual and employer, and penalties for those not compliant, along with taxes on medical devices were put in place to fill the funding gap. The Federal government cannot -yet- force people to buy telecommunication services, but the US Supreme Court decided the mandates and penalties were subjected to tax laws.
“If you like your plan, you can keep it,” said over and over by Barack Obama. But Landrieu knew -as she echoed Obama- that people could not keep their plans, since she voted against a Republican-lead resolution, in September of 2010, to block implementation of the grandfather clause which would result in policy cancellations. On November 4, 2013, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner, Jim Donelon confirmed that up to 80,000 residents of Louisiana, who buy their own insurance, can lose their health insurance policies because they did not meet the new Obamacare standards. The Obamacare standards include maternity, abortion, and other female health coverages which are not included in most insurance plans. Those residents losing coverage can be forced to enter the Obamacare Marketplace where they can face increased policy cost, be forced to pay the penalty (tax) for lacking a healthcare plan, or be forced into the Medicaid program.
The lose of insurance policy is only the first drawback to Obamacare. Once the employee mandate comes into effect in 2015, thousands of Louisiana residents could lose work hours if not their jobs. Under the Mandate employers, with more than 50 employees, will be forced to provide healthcare insurance to all employees who made over 30 hours per week, or pay a penalty. For many small businesses the added cost of insurance or the penalty will create a fiscal nightmare, and cause the employer to cut hours or cut workforce. The employer mandate was scheduled to go into effect on January 1 2014, but the Obama administration pushed the mandate back one year in order to help those Democrats,-like Landrieu- who will face reelection in 2014.
Nancy Pelosi said, “...we have to pass the [Obamacare] bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Now the people of Louisiana are finding out what is in the bill. A bill Landrieu voted for because it was politically profitable for her, and not the people of Louisiana. If Landrieu had voted “No” on Obamacare, the bill would have failed to pass the Senate. The retaliation by the Senate Democratic leadership would have cost Landrieu her position on powerful committees like Appropriations, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Energy and Natural Resources, to which Landrieu used to give favors to campaign donors. Landrieu do not pass the bill to see what was in it, rather she passed it to see what was in it for her.
Mary Landrieu’s gift to Louisiana is one of broken promises, lies, and failed leadership by a power hungry politician who will keep her job by any means necessary. Over the next few weeks thousands of people in Louisiana will be receiving letters from their insurance provider to inform them of lose of policies thanks to Obamacare. Those letters might-as-well come on Landrieu’s own Senate letter head, since she is the reason for the lose of policies. How does Landrieu feel about the disaster that is Obamacare? “If I had to vote for the bill again, I’d vote for it tomorrow. There are a lot of good things about this bill,” said Landrieu ( http://youtu.be/VBZ3BI80Afk ).