Obamacare Turns Six: No Cause for Celebration
March 23 will mark Obamacare’s sixth birthday.
In the past six years, Americans have lost freedom in their health care decisions; had their health plans canceled; and faced higher premiums, higher deductibles, and higher taxes.
A recent survey found that 25 percent of Americans say they have been personally harmed by Obamacare, while only 15 percent say they have personally benefitted.
Obamacare’s sixth birthday is next week. The administration and congressional Democrats won’t be throwing a party. That’s because it’s clear from polls, newspaper articles, and countless heartbreaking stories from people across the country, Obamacare is causing pain.
OBAMACARE IS UNAFFORDABLE
When President Obama was first campaigning for the White House, he promised that his health care plan would reduce premiums for the average family by $2,500 a year. Instead, the average family premium for employer-sponsored coverage rose by $4,170 between 2009 and 2015.
Six years of broken promises
For 2016, premiums for the lowest-cost bronze plans available on HealthCare.gov jumped by an average of 12.7 percent over 2015 rates. Deductibles for these plans rose an average of 7.4 percent. It has become increasingly clear over the past six years that the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable.
“This year my family joined millions of others whose health-insurance premium has become their biggest annual expense. More than our mortgage. More than our property taxes. More than our state income tax. More than our annual food or energy costs.” – Christopher Press, op-ed, Wall Street Journal, 03-07-2016
Costs for cash-strapped states have also increased. In January, CBO boosted its projection for Medicaid spending over the next decade by $187 billion. CBO attributed the increase to new information about Medicaid expansion. The federal government covered the full cost of new Medicaid beneficiaries only for Obamacare’s first three years. State governments will have to pay a rapidly increasing share of this bill starting next January. States will either have to raise taxes or cut spending on other priorities, like education, transportation, and public safety.
OBAMACARE IS BURDENSOME
Obamacare has made life more difficult for Americans. Families have been saddled with new legal requirements, which come with new tax documents and often with new penalties.
“Many people who went without health insurance last year are now seeing fines more than double under President Barack Obama’s health care law, tax preparation company H&R Block said Tuesday. Among its customers who owe a penalty for the 2015 tax year, the average fine is $383, compared with $172 for 2014.” – Associated Press, 03-08-2016
Americans also have had to struggle through canceled plans. In 2013, Politifact named as the Lie of the Year the president’s promise that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” As the law was first going into effect, 4.7 million Americans received notices that their insurance was being cancelled due to Obamacare. The cancellations continued, including for some of the sickest people. Obamacare’s failed co-ops left three-quarters of a million people scrambling to find new plans.
Businesses face significant new requirements under Obamacare as well. Those with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees must offer health insurance that complies with a laundry list of mandates. Under Obamacare, an employee is considered to be full-time if he or she works 30 hours per week. This new requirement has led employers to limit workers’ hours below the 30-hour threshold. Beginning in 2020, businesses also will have to contend with the “Cadillac Tax” on employee health benefits that exceed a set value.
OBAMACARE LIMITS AMERICANS' CHOICES
When Democrats forced Obamacare through Congress six years ago, they moved decisions typically made by families and their doctors under the control of bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS. Obamacare allows the federal government – for the first time in our nation’s history – to penalize Americans for not purchasing something. It gives broad authority to HHS to determine what type of insurance Americans are allowed to purchase.
OBAMACARE ISN'T WORKING, AND AMERICANS DON'T LIKE IT
Obamacare advocates tout the fact that 20 million Americans have gotten health insurance under the law. However, an insurance card doesn’t equal care. For many policyholders, the out-of-pocket costs of their Obamacare plans make the insurance too expensive to use.
More people personally harmed than helped by Obamacare
Also in February, the Kaiser Health Tracking poll found that only 4 in 10 Americans had a favorable view of the law. The anniversary of a law that is still not working, and still not liked, is no cause for celebration.
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