Health Care time bombs
What happens when you pass a 3,000 page piece of legislation dealing with perhaps the most complex segment of American society that few legislators bothered to read, and that no one - not the authors of the bill, the Democratic leadership that sought its passage, or anyone in the White House - knows the consequences of the bill's thousands of provisions?
According to NRO's Stephen Spruiell, you get stuff like this:
Now another provision is blowing up in the Democrats' faces: a tax change that exposes companies such as Caterpillar, John Deere, and Verizon to hundreds of millions of dollars in new costs and may lead some of them to drop prescription-drug coverage for retirees.
The provision did not attract much attention during the larger debate over the health-care bill, but now corporate memos are starting to leak in which employees are told to expect changes to their health-care plans as a result of the legislation. The tax change affects a subsidy that was designed to help employers continue offering prescription-drug plans for retirees instead of dumping them into Medicare Part D. The Democrats' health-care bill would make the subsidy "less valuable to employers, like Verizon" - according to an internal Verizon memo obtained by National Review Online - "and as a result, may have significant implications for both retirees and employers." In other words, Verizon and other employers will probably drop their retiree prescription-drug coverage. After all, why pay for something if the government is offering to pick up the tab?
If we do see a large number of employers eliminate prescription-drug coverage from their retiree benefit packages, it will mean two things. First, it will illustrate once again the emptiness of Barack Obama's promise that if you like your health-care plan, you can keep it. Retirees whose companies cut their prescription-drug plans will have to switch to Medicare Part D. According to a study put out by the American Benefits Council, "Employer plans generally provide much better protection than the standard Medicare PDP benefit, but these employers are likely to drop their plans in favor of commercial PDP plans because of the new law's impact on earnings."
This is always the cost of imprudent government; unanticipated and catastrophic consequences. It will be that way with all Obama's efforts to "remake America" because our system was not set up for radicalism.
Gradual, reasonable, logical change has been the hallmark of the American experiment for 200 years. It's isn't liberal or conservative - just good old fashioned American common sense. With all change comes unanticipated developments. That is the very definition of change. And the larger the change, the larger the gap between what we know about how that change will affect society and what we don't know. With a big enough alteration in American society, the potential for suffering by the very people that the change was designed to help grows substantially.
That's where we are with Obamacare. A chasm has opened up beneath our feet and we have no idea about how it will all shake out in the end.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky