June 13, 2013

Obamacare Spends Trillions; Leaves Millions Uninsured

Last week in California, President Obama gave another campaign-style speech; this time promoting his health care law. Ironically, the President’s remarks came one day after a national poll showed the law’s unpopularity soaring. The number of people now calling the health care law a “bad idea” reached a high of 49 percent. Americans understand the health care law costs too much and disappointingly doesn’t work the way Washington Democrats promised. 

But now the President finds himself in a pickle. For the last four years, he has sold the health care law as something it isn’t. He made promises that objective data prove he can’t keep. President Obama claimed the health care law would cover more people for less money. That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it. The President’s response when confronted with the law’s negative effects on patients, providers, taxpayers, and states is “trust me.”

It’s a tough sell. A recent survey found that 64 percent of people who do not currently have health insurance don’t know if they will purchase government mandated and approved coverage by the January 1, 2014 deadline. This surprised one insurance analyst who said there are a “high number of people who really have no clue what they’re going to do next year.”

Yet the results shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s estimated that by 2023 the health care law will leave as many people uninsured as it helps obtain insurance coverage. In a report last month, CBO projected that 20 percent of all U.S. residents will be uninsured this year. By 2014, 16 percent will remain uninsured. In fact, 10 years from now, CBO predicts, 11 percent of all U.S. residents will still be uninsured. The health care law will not reduce the number of uninsured below 30 million people over the next decade.  

uninsured never drops below 30 million people

As President Obama travels the country this summer to convince people that his health care law is a good deal, there are some facts that conveniently won’t make it into his stump speeches:

  • $1.8 trillion is the health care law’s current 10 year CBO spending estimate. Remember that President Obama pledged not to “sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future.” GAO recently confirmed that the law will, under a realistic set of assumptions, increase the deficit by 0.7 percent of GDP or roughly $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years.
  • 13 million people will be locked into a broken and failing Medicaid program.
  • 5 million people who are expected to buy health insurance are not eligible for a subsidy to help pay for President Obama’s more expensive coverage. Average taxpayer-funded subsidies for people in the exchanges will increase by 49 percent – from $5,290 in 2014 to $7,900 in 2023.
  • 7 million people will lose their employer sponsored health insurance.

It is obvious why President Obama and Washington Democrats are desperately trying to spin the law. Lofty promises have yet to match the health care law’s reality. Rather than own up to the law’s failures, President Obama points fingers and looks for a scapegoat. In a shocking move, last week he claimed: “There may still be folks who are out there feeling increased costs not because of the [health care law] but because those costs are being passed on to workers or insurance companies, in some cases. Even with these laws in place, they’re still jacking up prices unnecessarily.” Clearly the President just doesn’t understand how his health care law affects our economy.

Health Care Headlines

Louisville Courier-Journal: “Indiana Schools’ Dilemma: Offer Health Insurance to Part-Timers or Cut Hours” Schools across Indiana are cutting back the hours of teacher assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other aides to avoid having to offer them health insurance under the federal health care employer mandate that begins next year.

Associated Press: “Coverage may be unaffordable for low-wage workers” It's called the Affordable Care Act, but President Barack Obama's health care law may turn out to be unaffordable for many low-wage workers, including employees at big chain restaurants, retail stores and hotels.

Politico: “Small-business exchanges draw few insurers” Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces for small businesses, which have already stumbled before getting out of the gate, are facing another pressing question just months before millions can sign up for benefits: What happens if insurers don’t show up to sell?

FierceHealthcare: “House investigates claims that IRS seized millions of medical records” A House committee has launched a probe of the Internal Revenue Service’s HIPAA policies and procedures in response to a lawsuit that the agency unlawfully seized 60 million medical records in California.

House Energy and Commerce Committee: Press Release, “Making Medicaid Work – Protecting the Vulnerable, Offering Individualized Care, and Reducing Costs” Medicaid was designed as a safety net for the most vulnerable Americans. While the program covered just four million people in its first year, there were approximately 72 million Americans (nearly 25 percent of the population) enrolled in the program at some point in 2012 − more recipients than any other government health care program, including Medicare. Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could grow enrollment by nearly 26 million – resulting in the largest expansion of the program in history.

Issue Tag: Health Care