The Littlest Victims of Obamacare
by Michelle Malkin
It’s time for America’s youth to buckle up and take a rough ride on Reality Highway. For the past two years, President Obama has promised our children the moon, stars, rainbows, unicorns and universal health care for all. But the White House Santa’s cradle-to-grave entitlement mandates are a spectacularly predictable bust.
Don’t take it from me. Take it from Obamacare’s own biggest cheerleaders.
Late last month, the Service Employees International Union informed dues-paying members of its behemoth 1199 affiliate in New York that it was dropping its health care coverage for children. That’s right. A radical leftist union, not an evil Republican corporation, is abandoning the young ‘uns to cut costs.
More than 30,000 low-wage families will be affected, according to The Wall Street Journal. Who’s to blame? SEIU 1199 benefits manager Mitra Behroozi singled out oppressive new state and federal regulations, including the much-ballyhooed Obamacare rule forcing insurers to cover dependents well into their 20s:
“…(N)ew federal health-care reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26,” Behroozi explained in an Oct. 22 letter to members. “Our limited resources are already stretched as far as possible, and meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible.”
In a related development, over the past several months several insurers across California, Colorado, Ohio and Missouri have dropped child-only plans because of Obamacare-induced premium increases. Untold tens of thousands of families who purchase their plans in the private individual health market will be affected.
Let us pause for a moment to ruminate on this wholly man-caused disaster. To sell Obamacare and manufacture support, desperate Democrats pandered to the college set and their parents. Former SEIU chief Andy Stern specifically touted the unfunded kiddie insurance mandate as a strategic selling point, telling the Washington Post early this year that the lobbying and public relations campaign would be “helped by which parts of the bill go into effect immediately. It’s hard to talk about things that’ll happen in 2019. But if you can say to people that if your kid is 26 years old, you can keep him on your insurance plan? … They get that.”
Some 20 states had already passed legislation requiring insurers to cover adult children before the federal rule was imposed. Citing results in New Jersey, Wisconsin and elsewhere, many critics pointed to how such top-down benefits mandates were driving up the cost of insurance and limiting access instead of expanding it. In response, top SEIU thug Dennis Rivera accused Obamacare opponents of “terrorist tactics” in a conference call earlier this spring with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Now, confronted with the thorny allocation of scarce resources, profligate money managers at the SEIU are dropping thousands of kids’ health coverage because they, too, can’t afford to foot the bill imposed by the president whom their union bosses spent more than $60 million to elect. And SEIU’s Rivera is nowhere to be found.
The SEIU also pumped tens of millions of dollars in union funds directly into the campaign for Obamacare. Workers regurgitated White House talking points hyping increased access, lower premiums and peace of mind for the working class. SEIU 1199 — which is now cutting off health care coverage to children whose parents work in the health care industry of all industries — was at the forefront of those D.C.-directed “reform” rallies. The same militant leaders of SEIU 1199 sent hordes of their workers on buses to an anti-tea party rally convened by Comedy Central clowns in October, while their benefits and pension funds eroded.
Yes, the union road to hell is paved with workers’ own hard-earned dues money. All hail progressivism!
How far we’ve come from the halcyon moment when President Obama rallied young college students at George Mason University in Virginia in March. To wild applause, he pledged: “If you buy a new plan, there won’t be lifetime or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care you receive from your insurance companies. (Applause.) And by the way, to all the young people here today, starting this year if you don’t have insurance, all new plans will allow you to stay on your parents’ plan until you are 26 years old. (Applause.)”
Cue bitter laughter here. As I reported two weeks ago, more than 111 unions (including two SEIU affiliates), companies and insurers have now secured federal waivers to escape the first provision Obama mentioned to the George Mason University students. And more financially strapped union affiliates like SEIU 1199 will undoubtedly be canceling children’s coverage to escape the costs tied to Obama’s second vow.
For the kiddie human shields who helped the Democrats dig their own ditch, reality bites. Live and learn.