Jon Stewart Talks about Obamacare’s “Big Dump”

Appearing on The Daily Show last night, Secretary Sebelius answered a series of questions from host Jon Stewart about employers dropping coverage that can best be described as awkward.  In the extended interview posted online, Stewart asked whether or not there would be a “big dump” of employees into Exchanges under the law.  The full exchange occurs beginning at around 3:15 of the second segment; here are the highlights:

STEWART:  “Can they [i.e., employers] dump you into the exchange?”

SEBELIUS:  “Well, at the end of the day, there is no mandate now.  In 2014, if employers don’t cover health insurance, they will pay a penalty, and they’ll pay for every employee who goes into the Exchange.”

STEWART:  “Is the penalty more than the [cost of] insurance?”

SEBELIUS:  [Long pause] “The penalty will help pay for the tax credit that the employee will get in the insurance [sic]….”

STEWART:  “Is there a consequence other than a fine or shame – cause I know the shame thing’s not gonna work.  [Laughter.]”

STEWART:  “Let’s say I’m paying, for a family plan, $1200 a month.  And my employer says, oh, we’ve got these exchanges now, I’m going to dump you into that.  And you’re going to get a tax credit.  Will my tax credit be the equivalent of the money that the employer was paying, or is that now going to come out of [unintelligible]”

SEBELIUS:  “It’s really…it’s hard to tell because employers are all over the board….”

STEWART:  “Do you think ultimately this is, a bunch of people dump to the Exchange, and it becomes sort of, a back door, of government, not a takeover necessarily, but of a government responsibility for the health care, employees, and it decouples it – I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – but decouples it from employment, and people will get it through the government – through tax credits, rather than through their employers – and then suddenly, obviously then, we’re Sweden.  Do you think that’s the case?”

Sebelius claimed that the law is “filling in the gaps in the private market.”  But the reality, as Stewart laid out and other studies have confirmed, is that it’s much cheaper for employers to drop their workers’ health plans and dump them into the Exchanges – costing the federal government trillions of dollars and turning us into Sweden (or Greece).  It also raises an obvious question:  If even liberals like Jon Stewart believe the health law will cause Americans to lose their health plans, who actually believes they will be able to keep their current coverage under Obamacare?