Michael Boskin: Get Ready for Obamacare's 'Rude Awakening'

Monday, 16 Dec 2013 11:53 AM

By Courtney Coren

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Americans are in for a "rude awakening" as the economic and political Obamacare "shocks" are likely to "get much worse next year and beyond," says former President George H.W. Bush's chief economic advisor.

Former Council of Economic Advisers Chairman, Michael Boskin detailed what he called the Obamcare "troubles" that Americans should be prepared for in an op-ed piece Sunday in The Wall Street Journal.

As the "sticker shock" of higher premiums associated with Obamacare-approved healthcare plans sets in, "the costs borne by individuals will be even more obvious next year as more people start having to pay higher deductibles and co-pays," Boskin explains.

The next shock he predicts will come as more individuals start finding out they won't be able to keep their doctors, as was promised by President Barack Obama.

To try to keep plans as affordable as possible, "insurance companies in many cases are offering plans that have very restrictive networks, with lower-cost providers that exclude some of the best physicians and hospitals," Boskin says.

He also notes that while the front-end of the HealthCare.gov website may be up and running for the "vast majority" of users, there are still extensive problems with the back-end of the website that "is still under construction," where the government is supposed to calculate subsidies and connect with insurance companies.

"Be prepared for eligibility, coverage gap, billing, claims, insurer payment, and patient information-protection debacles," the Stanford University economics professor warns.

Even those who don't have to purchase insurance through one of the exchanges will face longer waits at hospitals and doctors' offices, he adds.

In addition, businesses will also soon be faced with the decision of offering "Obamacare's expensive, mandated benefits" or dropping their plans and — except the smallest firms — paying a fine, Boskin also notes.

Despite all its problems, Boskin says Republican who want to repeal Obamacare will need "to articulate a compelling alternative to the cost and coverage problems that beset healthcare" overall.

"A good start would be a sliding-scale subsidies to help people buy a low-cost catastrophic plan, purchasable across state lines, equalized tax treatment of those buying insurance on their own with those on employer plans, and expanded high-risk pools," he concludes.

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