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EDITORIAL

Scary unfolding of the Affordable Health Care Act

Monday, June 10, 2013 - 8:26 am

We don't know yet how many millions it will end up hurting.

It was a little shocking – but only a little – when the Fort Wayne Community Schools administration announced late last month it was cutting the hours of about 600 part-time employees from 30 hours a week to 25 to avoid having to offer them a health care insurance option. The move will save the district about $10 million a year, according to Kathy Friend, FWCS chief financial officer.

Now we’re learning that the same thing is happening in school systems across the state, affecting thousands of teaching assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other aides. The situation is more than a little ironic given that the whole purpose of the health care law was to provide health insurance for those not covered and is called the Affordable Health Care Act. People on the bottom rung of the economic ladder that the act was supposed to help are going to have pay cuts and not be offered health insurance.

And that’s just the unintended consequence that will be suffered by one set of people in one profession. We haven’t even learned yet how many people will be affected in how many ways, although it is pretty clear by now that the claims of wider coverage, lower costs and the ability of people to keep their current health plans and doctors were false promises. Just last month, The Associated Press reported that millions who now have individual coverage will see their policies canceled and will be forced to buy far more expensive policies in one of the Obamacare exchanges. Small businesses will see their costs explode, and millions of workers are likely to be dumped by employers into the government-run exchanges.

What is happening now, reports pollster and columnist Scott Rasmussen (see column below) is that “insurance companies, benefits consultants and others are actually reading the 2,000-page law to see what it says.” Actually. For a law that was passed more than three years ago and mostly goes into effect next year. Heck of a way to run a railroad.

It was always a bad idea to nationalize such a major portion of the economy, and deciding to do it with a 2,000-page maze of bureaucratic gobbledygook just emphasized the insanity. Congress and the president have managed to preserve what was worst about the old health care system – the heavy hand of regulatory zeal – and add more misery for more people.

Rasmussen predicts that the American consumer will effectively repeal a major portion of the law by opting for less coverage and more take-home pay (when they have that option, of course). Perhaps that is the best we can hope for.