ObamaCare’s Sixth Anniversary – A Look Back – Part II

 

Anniversaries are usually a time for nostalgia. We look back with fond memories of times past. Not so much with ObamaCare.

Broken Promises

If we look back six years and remember the promises we were given before the passage of ObamaCare, we can see now how those promises turned out.

Promise #1 – Universal Coverage

Obama’s Promise: “I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American” (June 23, 2007).

Reality: President Obama did sign into law The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) on March 23, 2010. But it has fallen far short of providing healthcare coverage “that will cover every American.”

In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that without ObamaCare, 186 million Americans would be covered by private health insurance by 2016 – 160 million on employer-sponsored plans, 26 million on individual plans. They projected with ObamaCare, there would be 201 million people with private insurance.

Now, in 2016, the CBO says that with ObamaCare, 177 million people will be covered by private health insurance this year – 155 million on employer-sponsored plans, 12 million on ObamaCare exchange plans, and 9 million on other individually purchased plans. That is 24 million fewer people on private coverage than projected in 2013.

Jeffrey H. Anderson, writing in The Weekly Standard, says that also means a net 9 million people have lost their private health plans, thanks to ObamaCare – 5 million on employer plans and 4 million on individual plans.

To be sure, Anderson points out there are more people with healthcare coverage since ObamaCare – it’s just not private coverage. CBO estimated in 2013 that 34 million people would be on Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) in 2016. The actual numbers in 2016 are 68 million. So ObamaCare, in reality, is a massive Medicaid expansion.

But even with this massive Medicaid expansion there are still 33 million Americans who lack healthcare insurance according to the latest Census Bureau statistics available in 2015. This is still a long way from “universal coverage.”

Promise #2 No new taxes on the middle class

Obama’s promise: “I can make a firm pledge under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” (September 12, 2008)

Reality: “By 2022, ObamaCare will have imposed just over $1 Trillion in new taxes. It’s true that $318 Billion of this will come in the form of taxes on payroll, dividends, capital gains, and other investment income specifically targeting taxpayers earning over $200,000 (singles) or $250,000 (married).” – Chris Conover, Duke University economist.

Simply doing the math you can see that about $700 Billion in new taxes will come from those individuals earning less than $250,000, the ceiling that Obama said would protect middle and low-income taxpayers. That’s 70% of the new taxes. According to columnist Robert Allen Bonelli, ObamaCare imposes twenty hidden new taxes. Seven of these affect all taxpayers regardless of income.

Promise #3 Annual premium savings of $2500

Obama’s promise: “We’ll lower premiums by up to $2500 for a typical family per year. . . We’ll do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States.” (June 5, 2008)

Reality: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey, average premiums for family coverage were $13,375 in 2009 and $16,531 in 2013. This means average premiums for family coverage rose by $2,976 by the end of President Obama’s first term. Therefore the direction and the magnitude of the impact on family insurance premiums was the opposite of what the president promised.

Now the Kaiser Family Foundation reports these premiums are rising even faster today. Insurance premiums in 2016 rose 38.4% in Tennessee, 31.4% in Alaska, 32.2% in Colorado, and 25.5% in North Carolina, just to name a few. There is no doubt this promise of the president is unfulfilled.

Promise #4 – No increase in the federal deficit

Obama’s promise: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits.” (September 9, 2009)

Reality: This pledge actually was not given in a campaign speech but rather to a joint session of Congress. He based this fiction on the scoring of the law by the CBO, which was forced to use misleading statistical information to produce the desired financial result.

The CBO was told to score the economic impact on the federal deficit using ten years of income but only six years of expenses. Congressman Paul Ryan, current Speaker of the House, described the Obama plan as “full of gimmicks and smoke-and-mirrors” many weeks before the bill passed. His analysis showed the law would cost $2.3 Trillion over the next ten years instead of the slightly less than $1 Trillion the CBO had concluded based on the faulty data.

The national debt as of this minute is $19,206,081,375,089 ($19.2 Trillion) and rising fast. ObamaCare has only made it worse.

Promise #5 – If you like your plan you can keep it

Obama’s promise: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” (June 15, 2009)

Reality: President Obama has been recorded on video tape repeating this promise on over forty occasions. It was no “off the cuff” remark and he did not “misspeak” as some of his supporters have tried to suggest. It was clearly his intention to make this statement with no room for exceptions or caveats.

The new CBO statistics quoted earlier show that a net 9 million Americans were unable to keep their private insurance plan despite Obama’s promise.

Promise #6 – If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor

This claim is also patently false. If your health insurance plan changes, there is no certainty your doctor will be a provider on your new plan. Many insurance companies are narrowing their provider panels to lower their costs. Doctors who continue to practice will make their own decisions whether or not to accept the payment rates of these new plans.

Many doctors will decline to participate. Many will also retire, seek work in a non-clinical medical field, or leave the health care profession entirely. Repeated polling has consistently shown 40% of doctors plan to follow one of those three paths as a result of the implementation of ObamaCare.

In 2016 we are seeing this happen. Making this situation even worse are increasingly narrow networks offered on the ObamaCare exchanges as insurers try to lower costs with lower reimbursement rates to doctors.

Promise #7 – Bend the Cost Curve

President Obama promised that ObamaCare would bend the cost curve of health care spending down. On December 15, 2009, he asserted that the Senate bill, which passed nine days later, would “finally reduce the costs of health care.”

The rate of growth of healthcare spending was actually declining from 2000 to 2008 before ObamaCare. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) the growth of healthcare spending was 9.7% in 2002 and declining steadily to 3.9% in 2009. This decline is attributed to the growth of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and the passage of The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which created Medicare Advantage plans and the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.

Since 2010, when ObamaCare was passed, the rate of growth of healthcare spending has increased again. In 2014 healthcare spending grew 5.3% after the first full year of the implementation of ObamaCare. CMS in 2016 projects it will continue to grow at an average rate of 5.8% from 2014 to 2024. ObamaCare has therefore exacerbated our healthcare-spending problem.

It should be clear by now that ObamaCare was sold to Congress and the American people with promises that could never be fulfilled. It was a major con pitched by progressives to a trusting, but naïve, public as unintentionally disclosed by ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber – for the purpose of gaining government control of healthcare.

It’s time the people realize the only solution to this problem is replacement of ObamaCare with a new healthcare system, free of that government control, which actually delivers the healthcare that Americans deserve at a price they and the country can afford.

 

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