Duke Scholar: 129 Million Americans will lose Current Insurance due to Obamacare

Chris Conover

A renowned researcher at Duke University reported last week that full implementation of the Affordable Care Act will force 68% of Americans with private health insurance, or 129 million people, to lose their current coverage.

Chris Conover with Duke’s Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research and the American Enterprise Institute, shared these findings in a statement released last week in response to comments made by David Axelrod, former Senior Adviser for President Barack Obama.

Responding to a comment Axelrod made that the majority of Americans will keep their existing coverage, Conover stated, “I suppose one could interpret this as a tacit admission that at least for those not in the vast majority, Obamacare violates President Obama’s June 15, 2009 promise that ‘If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.’  But the sad reality is that David Axelrod himself also is dead wrong: it’s more accurate to say that the president’s pledge will be shattered for a solid majority of Americans with private health insurance coverage.”

Conover concluded that 129 million of the 189 million Americans with private health insurance will be forced off their plans as a result of the implementation of regulations and requirements of the Affordable Care Act. His analysis includes the following coverage eliminations:

  • 9.2 to 15.4 million in the non-group market
  • 16.6 million in the small group market
  • 102.7 million in the large group market

“Most of these are individuals involuntarily forced to purchase expensive add-ons to their existing plans,” Conover stated. “But included among these are the many millions now having their non-group policies cancelled along with 9 to 35 million who will lose their existing employer-provided plans entirely. Most admittedly will find other coverage, yet out of this group, 1.5 million will become uninsured, along with 2.3 million from the non-group market who likewise become uninsured because they simply cannot afford the expensive Obamacare upgrades.”

“In short, the ‘vast majority’ are not keeping their health plans. Statements to the contrary are flatly untrue.”

In a recent interview with The Daily Caller, Conover also discussed the significant impact of coverage mandates and how strict interpretation of “grandfather” clauses mentioned during President Obama’s promotion of health care reform would endanger existing health insurance options.

“Technically, every single health plan in the country already has been subject to at least some new Obamacare requirements. That is, even ‘grandfathered’ plans and self-insured plans were required to eliminate lifetime and annual limits and to cover dependents up to age 26 on their parent’s plan. Each of these “improvements” in coverage costs money, just as every feature you add to your car costs money (anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive)…

“So strictly speaking, NO ONE who was entirely satisfied with their pre-Obamacare coverage has been able to keep it.”

Congressman across the country have received calls from their constituents who received letters indicating their existing insurance plans, which they were supposed to be allowed to keep under the Affordable Care Act, have to be cancelled due to noncompliance with regulations.

North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones (R-3rd District) has called for Congressional hearings into the issue of cancellations and other cases where citizens are being forced to pay significant premium increases.

Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC 2nd)

“Individuals in Eastern North Carolina and across the country are being forced to pay exorbitant rate increases for new insurance plans that they do not want while being prohibited from visiting the doctors that they need,” said Congressman Jones in a letter to Congressional leadership.  “This runs directly contrary to the president’s promise that ‘if you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan’ and is further proof that this law is an unaffordable burden to the average American.”

The latest report from the Associated Press indicates that approximatley 160,000 individuals in North Carolina have so far received cancellation notices for their existing policies. As a comparison, a recent report by WNCN television showed that only 1 person had signed-up for coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange.

So far, at least 3.5 million Americans have received cancellation notices.

As part of ongoing damage control resulting from the rollout of Affordable Care Act provisions, including the establishment of health insurance marketplaces and the impending individual insurance coverage mandate, the Obama Administration is asking insurance companies to provide better explanations to current policy holders who are being told their existing policies are being cancelled.


Ellmers, Jones vote against, Butterfield votes for tax hikes

Local members of the House of Representatives voted along ideological lines Tuesday night when faced with an “up-or-down” vote on legislation that passed the Senate early Tuesday morning in an attempt to avoid policy changes referred to as the “fiscal cliff.”

Republicans Renee Ellmers (2nd District, Dunn) and Walter Jones (3rd District, Farmville) both voted against the bill, while Democrat G.K. Butterfield (1st District, Wilson) voted for it. The bill passed the House by a 257-167 vote, with 85 Republicans voting for the plan.

Early Tuesday morning, the Senate pass the plan by an 89-8 vote, with both North Carolina Senators Richard Burr (R) and Kay Hagan (D) voting in the affirmative.

Both Ellmers and Jones expressed deep concerns about the plan, which will raise more than $620 billion in tax revenues over the next ten years, primarily through increases to top marginal tax rates.

Exemptions and deductions were capped for households making more than $250,000 per year, and the top marginal income tax and capital gains tax rates were increased to 39.6% for income and 20% for capital gains for households earning more than $450,000 per year.

While some supporters argued that these new rates are below what would have happened had the “fiscal cliff” been taken effect following expiration of tax rate reductions instituted during the administration of President George W. Bush, the financial impact of the new tax rates still results in an actual tax increase compared to 2012.

From Congresswoman Ellmers:

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers

“Last night, I voted against the Senate’s compromise bill. This was supposed to be a deficit reduction bill, not a deficit increase that adds trillions to our deficit while increasing taxes. I could not support a measure that adds trillions to our deficits while increasing taxes by $41 for every $1 in spending cuts. Additionally, this deal continues to give tax advantages to big businesses while small businesses – the real lifeblood of our economy – are left to shoulder the burden and pay the bills.”

“We must get serious about addressing the true driver of the fiscal mess that our nation is in. Our out-of-control spending does nothing to help American families and only exacerbates the problems facing our country. I look forward to working with my colleagues to address the real sources of this crisis and continuing the fight against government waste in the 113th Congress.”

From Congressman Jones:

Congressman Walter Jones

“I’m tired of seeing Congress and the White House rob our children and grandchildren,” said Congressman Jones.  “America is nearly broke financially because its political leadership keeps passing bills like this that simply kick the can down the road.  $40 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts?  Adding $4 trillion to the debt?  Are you kidding?”

“The way this deal went down reinforces what America hates about the way Washington is being run,” continued Congressman Jones.  “Backroom deals done in the middle of the night at the zero hour are never good for the American people.  This will be no exception.  We’re already hearing that millions in special corporate welfare subsidies were included for Hollywood, algae producers, electric motorcycles and many others.”

Congressman Butterfield did not release a statement regarding his vote in support of the plan and its tax increases.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reported that their analysis concludes 77% of American households will see a tax increase as a result of the plan, which was signed into law today by President Obama. The main impact on most families is the expiration of a temporary 2% reduction in payroll taxes, which was not extended.

The bill, which only included $1 in budget cuts for every $41 of increased taxes, also did not address increasing the Federal debt limit, which was maxed out at the end of 2012 according to the Treasury Department. The bill also did not include additional disaster assistance for those affected by Superstorm Sandy late last October, prompting significant anger by politicians from the worst hit areas of New York and New Jersey.