Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

When In Doubt, Tell The Truth

June 27, 2013

In 2009, President Obama and congressional Democrats concocted a strategy to pass sweeping health care legislation. Using stealth, speed, and sound bites, they sold a health care law that spent trillions to expand coverage. What they didn’t explain was how their plan increased costs for consumers, employers, and taxpayers. Washington Democrats decided it was ok to secretly draft a bill and rush to enact it into law so they could avoid tough questions, open debate, and public scrutiny. As the Obama Administration begins to implement its health care law, the American people are slowly finding out what was in it. It isn’t the good news they’d been promised.

President Obama vowed that his law would “save families $2,500 in the coming years.” Four years later, the average American family has seen health insurance premium costs rise $3,065. Non-partisan government actuaries estimate that between 2011 and 2021 national health spending will grow at an average rate of 5.7 percent per year. Democrats’ health care law will add “$478 billion in cumulative health spending.” As national spending on health care increases, American families will see their monthly premiums go up.

Even the President’s top health care advisor finally had to admit that some people will see their premium costs rise because of the health care law. More than 30 studies confirm it. But this week, Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at HHS, let slip any even bigger admission. At a Brookings Institution event, he said he is “not surprised” by the wide range of state health insurance rates that have been proposed for next year. This suggests the Administration fully expected to see premium increases as a result of its health care law. If the Administration’s health care policy team today concedes that premiums are going up, then presumably they were predicting it when the President’s health care plan was being debated in Congress. So why didn’t the President and his advisors come clean four years ago and tell people the truth?

Now, the Administration and congressional Democrats have shifted their approach, but they are still not being open. While they no longer deny that premiums will rise, they say that taxpayer-funded subsidies in the bill will make the costs more affordable. They say trust us, don’t worry about it. But one scandal after another has severely damaged how Americans view the integrity of the Obama Administration. Today half of Americans don’t believe the President is honest and trustworthy. President Obama needs to learn this simple lesson: if you want someone’s trust, earn it.

Health Care Headlines

Reuters: “NFL’s Help Sought in Promoting Obama Health Plan as Outreach Begins” The Obama Administration is seeking the help of major U.S. sports organizations, including the National Football League, to persuade young and healthy Americans to sign up for medical insurance coverage later this year, officials said on Monday.

The Hill: “Seeking to Woo Youths, White House Attempts to Make ObamaCare Cool” Administration officials have a daunting task in the weeks ahead: making ObamaCare “cool.” Marketing experts say a hip branding effort is what’s needed to draw people into the new health insurance exchanges set to launch in January.

New York Times: “U.S. Unveils Health Care Web Site and Call Center” The Obama Administration announced new steps to expand coverage under the federal health care law on Monday, less than a week after the Government Accountability Office, found that the federal government and many states were “behind schedule” in setting up marketplaces where Americans are supposed to be able to buy insurance.

Washington Post: “Obamacare starts in 100 days” For years now, Obamacare has been a bit of an abstraction, a law that would take effect in a few years-if the Supreme Court or a Republican president didn't intervene. That ends now: Today marks 100 days until October 1, when millions can begin enrolling in the health care law's insurance expansion. That also means it’s 100 days until the federal government must stand up health insurance marketplaces in dozens of states.

American Action Forum: “Primer: Cadillac Tax (High Cost Plan Excise Tax)” The high cost plan excise tax, which is often referred to as the “Cadillac Tax” is one of the revenue raising provisions in the health care law. The excise tax is calculated by comparing the cost of an employer-sponsored plan (including premiums paid by the employer and employee as well as any contributions into health savings accounts) to a benchmark, which will be adjusted every year based on the Consumer Product Index.

The Hill: “AHIP touts strong enrollment in plans with health savings accounts” Enrollment in health savings account-eligible insurance plans has reached nearly 15.5 million, growing by almost 15 percent since last year. The figures were released Wednesday by the health insurance lobby group America’s Health Insurance Plans, which touted HSAs as a “valuable coverage option for consumers.”