THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION — Before Obamacare was passed six months ago today, former President Bill Clinton promised a leftist horde at the Netroots Nation convention: “The minute the president signs the health care reform bill, approval will go up, because Americans are inherently optimistic.” Fast forward to last Sunday, when, after Meet the Press host David Gregory played a clip of Clinton’s promise, the former President responded: “I was wrong.”
It is rare in Washington that a politician admits they were so very, very wrong about such a huge issue, but the evidence that the American people have completely rejected Obamacare is overwhelming. Rasmussen Reports, Gallup and CNN all put opposition to Obamacare somewhere between 56% and 61%. The law is so toxic that hardcore leftists locked in tough election fights like Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) ignore the law altogether in the health care section of their campaign websites.
Anyone who has been following the news since Obamacare’s passage already knows why the law is so unpopular: billion dollar employer losses, exploding spending estimates, higher health care costs, fewer doctors, fewer choices, fewer jobs, etc. The following are just some of the specific groups that have been hit hardest by Obamacare:
Employers: The White House likes to trumpet the small business tax credits and bailouts for retiree coverage in the bill, but anyone who actually runs, or has ever run, a business is not impressed. Obamacare’s punitive employer mandates, half a trillion dollars in new taxes, and burdensome regulatory compliance regime are already thwarting our nation’s economic recovery.
Doctors: In order to make a trillion dollar new entitlement look deficit neutral, you have to game the system. Obamacare accomplished this by pretending to cut doctor Medicare reimbursement by 23%. Congress already added to the deficit by delaying these cuts through this December. But a massive pay cut is just the beginning of the pain Obamacare has inflicted on physicians. The law also makes it next to impossible for doctors to establish their own hospitals, burdens them with thousands of hours of new reporting requirements and overburdens emergency rooms. Then there is the massive expansion of Medicaid which reimburses doctors at only 56% the rate in private practice. No wonder studies show that Obamacare will be 300,000 nurses and 100,000 doctors short of what is needed by 2020.
Consumers: Remember President Obama’s promise, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan”? Don’t believe it. Do you like your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending accounts (FSAs)? Well those provide you with too much economic health care freedom for Obamacare to work, so Obamacare regulates both out of existence. Do you like your current employer coverage? Sorry, studies show that Obamacare’s regulations are likely to incentivize employers to dump 35 million Americans out of their current health care plan. And once they are in the new marketplace, other Obamacare regulations and mandates are already sending health insurance premiums through the roof.
States: Medicaid spending already represents on average about 21 percent of the typical state budget. Obamacare will significantly expand that number. Of the 34 million Americans who gain health insurance through Obamacare, over half (18 million) will receive it through the welfare program, Medicaid. This impending state budget crisis was what the Cornhusker Kickback was all about. Obamacare attempted to appease states by bailing them out through 2016. But by 2017, state taxpayers will be on the hook for an ever-expanding share of Medicaid dollars. If state Medicaid spending increases by 41 percent as projected, then by next year Medicaid could end up consuming nearly 30 percent of the average state budget. Already, 44 states report that they have exceeded projected Medicaid enrollment and spending targets for this year, and Obamacare will only make those numbers worse.
Seniors: : The President’s own Medicare Actuary projects that the record-breaking payment reductions due to hit hospitals, home health agencies and nursing homes will make 15 percent of these providers unprofitable and possibly “jeopardize” seniors’ access to care. On top of that, payment cuts to Medicare Advantage plans will hit seniors especially hard. Enrollment in these plans is expected to drop from 14.8 to 7.4 million. By 2017, the average annual per-capita cuts for Medicare Advantage enrollees will be about $3,700 — a 27 percent reduction from today’s levels.
When Obamacare first passed six months ago today, Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner promised: “Obamacare is today’s Intolerable Act. And just as the colonists banded together to enact change after those acts were passed, so should America respond to Obamacare. This law must be repealed.” In Heritage’s “Solutions for America,” we note that, “The easiest way to address all these grievances: repeal Obamacare.” That is why it is so encouraging to see conservatives in the House embrace the repeal cause in their new document: Pledge to America. And our sister organization, Heritage Action for America has announced bipartisan support for Discharge Petition #11 which would force a vote on repealing Obamacare. The Road to Repeal is well on its way, thankfully.
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.