Pharos-Tribune

Columns

September 25, 2013

PARKER: Still waiting for Obamacare

News con-sumers by now have absorbed the message that Republicans are going to defund Obamacare, shut down the government, ruin the economy and starve the poor.

This is what Democrats would have you believe and, given the GOP’s recent obstructionist history, it would not be a stretch. However, there is an alternative scenario that bears fair consideration.

Not defund, as the House voted to do Friday, but delay.

Democrats and President Obama see delay as just another maneuver to upend Obamacare. “Extortion” is the word Obama recently used. But let’s step back a moment and examine some of the reasoning. Sometimes even partisans are right.

Topping the list is the fact that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is becoming increasingly unpopular. Only 39 percent of Americans currently favor the health care program, compared to 51 percent in January, according to a recent CNN/ORC International poll.

One of the most popular aspects of Obamacare has been that children can remain on their parents’ policy until they’re 26, but there’s nothing magical about 27 if you don’t have a job, are still in school or are otherwise dependent. Expect many under-30s to decline to buy insurance, whereupon America’s youth will be under the thumb of the IRS. Remember, the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate to purchase insurance is a tax.

The other most-popular item was the requirement that pre-existing conditions not preclude insurance coverage. Under a proposed alternative plan unveiled recently by the Republican Study Committee — The American Health Care Reform Act (H.R. 3121) — this provision would be protected and funded through state-based, high-risk pools and other reform measures.

The biggest concern across all demographics is the likely effect on the larger economy. What happens when so many people lose hours and work and, therefore, income?

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