Obamacare and Unattainable Promises

The interesting thing about Obamacare is that it is a quintessential embodiment of liberalism.  First, it’s a manifestation of liberal politicians’ desire – especially Barack Obama’s – to control.  Heritage Foundation President Edwin J. Feulner posed the question last year:

Who should be in charge of your health care – you, or the government? That, in a nutshell, is what the debate over Obamacare is about.

Second, it just doesn’t work because it’s based on the erroneous concept that government control is better than freedom and bureaucratic manipulation of markets is better than the free market.  Obama’s care for us translated into 2,000-plus pages of promises he had no intention of keeping.

Countless articles have been written decrying the failure that Obamacare has already been.  The Wall Street Journal piles on today with a piece entitled “ObamaCare’s Broken Promises,” which outlines four such broken promises – promises “which have become increasingly implausible.”

They are worth reading in their entirety, but briefly:

• Lower health-care costs. One key talking point for ObamaCare was that it would reduce the cost of insurance, especially for non-group insurance. The president… claimed that improved care coordination, investments in information technology, and more efficient marketing through exchanges would save the typical family $2,500 per year.

That was then. Now, even advocates for the law acknowledge that premiums are going up…

• Smaller deficits. Increases in the estimated impact of the law on private insurance premiums, along with increases in the estimated cost of health care more generally, have led the Congressional Budget Office to increase its estimate of the budget cost of the law’s coverage expansion. In 2010, CBO estimated the cost per year of expanding coverage at $154 billion; by 2012, the estimated cost grew to $186 billion. Yet CBO still scores the law as reducing the deficit…

• Preservation of existing insurance. After the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of health reform in June 2012, President Obama said, “If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your insurance.” This theme ran throughout the selling of ObamaCare: People who have insurance would not have their current arrangements disrupted.

This claim is obviously false. Indeed, disruption of people’s existing insurance is one of the law’s stated goals. On one hand, the law seeks to increase the generosity of policies that it deems too stingy, by limiting deductibles and mandating coverage that the secretary of Health and Human Services thinks is “essential,” whether or not the policyholder can afford it…

That’s just the intended consequences. One of the law’s unintended consequences is that some employers will drop coverage in response to new regulations and the availability of subsidized insurance in the new exchanges…

• Increased productivity. In 2009, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers concluded that health reform would reduce unemployment, raise labor supply, and improve the functioning of labor markets. According to its reasoning, expanding insurance coverage would reduce absenteeism, disability and mortality, thereby encouraging and enabling work.

This reasoning is flawed. The evidence that a broad coverage expansion would improve health is questionable… [A]ccording to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured, “evidence is lacking that health insurance improves the health of non-elderly adults.”

These failures are not an earth shattering surprise.  But the body of evidence of Obamacare’s failures will only continue to pile up, and it will continue to harm our country until reforms like the ones proposed in the Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream plan are implemented.

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