The promises of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, have failed to materialize and there is no indication that this abominable piece of legislation can ever deliver anything but negative unintended consequences.
President Obama postured that this would cover most of the 30+ million uninsured while reality is that only 10 million have been covered, many of whom would have already been covered by Medicare or state plans, but chose not to be. They enrolled because there was a penalty for not doing so.
Those that did enroll were enticed by government subsidies that reduced their cost while at the same time penalizing those with coverage by increasing their copays, adding huge annual deductibles, and mandating services for which they had no use (why would a single 24 year old male in good health need well-baby, maternity, and substance abuse coverage?). Why would Warren Buffet, Angelina Jolie, or LeBron James need to purchase health insurance when they could pay cash? Why can’t individuals buy a catastrophic insurance policy that would cover a major health event like cancer or major surgery and opt to pay everything else out-of-pocket if they wish?
Jonathan Gruber, who is the acknowledged architect of the ACA, was paid huge sums of money to travel the country selling the promises of the ACA that were the talking points for President Obama. These false promises ( if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, the Act would be revenue neutral, it would reduce premiums, lower costs, reduce annual increases, and save the typical American family about $2500 per year were patently false and won Obama the “lie of the year“. Add the fact that the law specifically excludes illegal immigrants but that California’s Jerry Brown is now trying to pass legislation to allow them to do just that and you can see how badly this is going. Some are getting subsidies in spite of the law expressly denying them. Gee, who could have ever foreseen that happening!
In order to implement this legislation the Senate passed it in the dead of night, with no discussion, and not a single Republican vote in favor. Many argue that it was unconstitutional since the Bill was never originated in the House but, rather, was a Senate amendment to a spending bill that was totally unrelated. Somehow a law that is passed (as Speaker Pelosi said) that is so complex (“we need to pass the bill to see what is in it”) was certainly not representative of the will of the people or the subject of rigorous debate.
Sarah Palin was admonished when she suggested that the oversight boards enshrined in the act to control costs would morph into “death panels“. She was not far from the truth as this structure was exposed as the way to control costs. Aging patients were to be denied certain treatments that would not have a viable “return on investment” via a cost-benefit analysis by government bureaucrats (your 80 year old grandmother really doesn’t need that hip replacement).
The current reality of the ACA is proving that this legislation was adopted with very little forethought, was a construct of the Democratic over-reach for control of one seventh of the US economy, and produced the oft realized unintended consequences so typical of the partisan political processes in Government. Not only was the rollout of the government Exchange a monumental disaster (costs, Serco), but the program is rampant with fraud (more) , has failed to serve those in need, and has resulted in an alarming increase in premiums, copays, and annual out-of-pocket obligations.
Added to this list of failures is the illegal reimbursement of health care providers to subsidize their losses (risk corridors, reinsurance), the steady drip of co-ops and exchanges that fail or drop out (co-op flop, fails, more, more) and the many carve outs to special interests as well as exempting Congress under the guise that they are a “small employer group” and by forcing them to participate would be too costly.
A lack of competition has been cited by Republicans as one of the reasons healthcare continues to increase in cost year over year (in most states the increases are 4x what they were prior to the ACA on an annual basis) . They would propose allowing consumers to purchase across state lines (currently many states restrict competition from nationwide providers). Additionally, they call for establishing patient-owned Health Savings Accounts and legal reforms that limit patient “pain and suffering” awards by juries that result in huge insurance premiums for doctors and hospitals.
There are common sense solutions to healthcare that need to be explored and debated without partisanship. Americans deserve to benefit from the best healthcare system in the world. They should not be restricted in choice, be subjected to another Government program that cannot deliver (how is healthcare delivery working for the VA?) and have an expectation that and adverse health condition does not bankrupt them (catastrophic insurance).
The overwhelming evidence shows Obamacare to be a disaster and needs to be repealed and replaced.
For a concise overview of the ACA you can go here.