That’s the message U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) gave a group of business leaders gathered for lunch at Vinings Bank on Thursday.
In the next six months, many people will learn that their premiums will be much higher than expected, Price said.
Many will also see higher deductibles than they’ve seen before. Deductibles have usually been between $1,000 and $2,000.
“These deductibles for most individuals start in the $5- to $6,000 range and for a family of four to $12,500. That’s out of pocket,” Price said. “Those are deductibles that the American people by and large have never seen before unless you had a high-deductible catastrophic plan that you selected yourself.”
A “dirty little secret” of those deductibles is that if the individual decides to see a doctor outside their network of coverage, that visit will not apply to the deductible, he said.
Insurance companies are expected to announce in the April to June time frame what their premiums will be for 2015.
The problem for insurance companies is that healthy, young people who are needed to sign up to make Obamacare’s financial model work are not doing so. They are not signing up despite the law requiring it and issuing a $95 penalty. Many would rather pay the penalty.
“Our son looks at a $95 penalty and a $1,500 premium and a $6,000 deductible and says, ‘Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll pay the $95.’ Young healthy people are not signing up,” Price said.
Private health data is vulnerable
Price also predicts identity theft violations occurring in the next six months.
“Security on the website and security of this system is clearly not up to par, and I think that we will begin to see some of the stories roll out about folks’ identities being stolen because of the system,” he said.
President Obama delayed the employer mandate part of the law for a year. That mandate, Price said, stipulates any business that employs more than 50 people must provide health coverage that meets “Washington’s standards.”
“That’s the problem because the standards are much more lavish than many businesses currently utilize to cover their employees. So all of the health savings accounts, all of the high-deductible catastrophic plans, all of the minimum plans that many businesses use, all of those will be illegal when the employer mandate takes effect (Jan. 1).”
The employer mandate was delayed for a year because employers told the president that if enforced they would not be able to keep their businesses open. Nothing, Price said, will have changed when Jan. 1, 2015, rolls around.
“I don’t see how this ever comes to pass,” he said. “I don’t think it will, and if it does it will be because of the pure recklessness of this administration to crash the economy because of his signature issue.”
Price was asked if he agreed with the theory that Obamacare was designed to fail so as to
move the country into a single-payer system. About 20 percent of Congress wants a socialized health care system, he said.
Obama said was his preference, as did the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I think that’s where they’d like to take it when this continues to crumble,” he said. “The reason that I’m optimistic about that not occurring is that the American people, you and everybody else, are getting a pretty doggone good lesson right now on what government health care looks like.”
Politifact awarded its “Lie of the Year” to Obama for his claim that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.”
Obamacare has caused 6 million people, Price said, to lose their insurance. Obama has pledged to ensure those people regain their insurance, but Price doesn’t believe he has the power to do that without congressional approval.
“I think in this and many areas he has usurped power that is not executive power,” Price said. “But you remember the individual who is supposed to hold him to account and say, ‘No, Mr. President, by the way, you have to go to Congress to get that thing taken care of’ is the Attorney General Eric Holder, who clearly is a political individual acting in the administration and not a lawyer for the administration in recommending based upon the law.”
Among those who attended the luncheon was WellStar Health System CEO Reynold Jennings, who shared the greatest challenge the health care law presents to WellStar.
“Our greatest challenge is that with a growing population we have to make multiyear decisions that include a lot of investment, and when you’re not sure your sources of revenues and the predictability of those revenues it is a pacing issue that we could get behind getting ready for the things our local citizens need so that’s the biggest challenge we have right now,” Jennings said. “Many of the other things of course are difficult, but we think we can work our way through them as they happen, but it’s the long-range planning that gets compromised when you go into uncertainty.”