Of all the reasons Obamacare could fail, the likeliest are information technology bugs, errors and crashes of the system. One can point to the similar, early days of the Medicare prescription-drug program in 2006. Some seniors who tried to sign up for a plan were mistakenly enrolled in several, while others had the wrong premium amounts deducted from their Social Security checks.
Under rules issued by the U.S. Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services, employers must structure wellness programs so “every individual participating” can “receive the full amount of any reward or incentive, regardless of any health factor” – a requirement that could cause employers to stop offering health coverage.
Starting in 214, Obamacare allows employers to reward employees who participate in workplace wellness programs with subsidies equal to 30 percent of the cost of insurance premiums, or about $1,620 annually per worker. But a RAND Corp study says that such programs have only a modest effect.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) said it is worried that its members will actually lose healthcare coverage they have now once the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is fully implemented early in 2014.
Younger Americans are central to the vision of broader insurance coverage under Obamacare. However, in 2014, Obamacare will cause insurance premiums to rise sharply for the healthy and young, and they may opt out of having any health insurance.
Possible problems with Obamacare: Is the IRS capable of fairly enforcing penalties? Will the government-run exchanges be able to maintain individual privacy? Does the government have enough money to implement ObamaCare? Can the government truly isolate itself from lobbying? Is the government an effective communicator for the health law to succeed?
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Among the IRS and other scandals, the revival of anti-Obamacare sentiment could resuscitate the Tea Party. The House measure will die in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but the law’s most controversial provisions go into full effect in less than a year. That gives conservatives a rallying cry ahead of the midterm elections.
Frustrated by conservative opposition to extending Medicaid even in states where Republican governors have embraced it, the president’s allies will ask voters to accept billions of federal dollars to cover people under Obamacare.
Republicans hope to ride Obamacare’s inevitable glitches and setbacks to electoral success in 2014. Many Democrats say the critiques are overblown, but still worry about the politics and practical problems to rolling out such a complicated law.