“I just see a huge train wreck coming down.” — Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, April 17, 2013, commenting on Obamacare.
When one of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, publicly expresses concern, it’s time to stop the train and build a new track.
Sen. Baucus joins a growing list of Democrats and Republicans who have lost faith in the successful implementation of Obamacare. Sadly, some on the extreme far-left are blinded by their own arrogance and self-interest to do the right thing and repeal Obamacare. But Obamacare was doomed to fail from the beginning because of three reasons: cost, confusion and confidence.
Cost. President Obama said Obamacare will “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.” However, since the ACA was passed, average Americans have seen the cost of health care increase by $3,000, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Additionally, President Obama promised Obamacare would not add to the current debt crisis. Promises made while campaigning are easily broken when reality kicks in. Over the next 10 years, Obamacare is expected to cost no less than $1 trillion, based on recent CBO reports, and the CBO continues to revise those numbers. Even worse, recent Government Accountability Office numbers suggest $6.2 trillion will be added to our debt because of Obamacare. Folks, we are heading the wrong way.
But what about the private cost? I have already mentioned the impact to the average American with a private health care plan, so what about private business? Every day we read stories of how small businesses are reducing employee hours and laying off people to adjust to Obamacare. A recent Hudson Institute study indicates an estimated 3.2 million jobs could be lost because of Obamacare. The only saving grace is the 2.3 percent Medical Device Tax appears to be dead. It would have taxed medical devices such as pacemakers, wheelchairs and crutches. Medical device companies such as Stryker, Boston Scientific and Medtronic were looking at (and may still face) thousands of layoffs and the reduction of millions of dollars in medical research. The question begs to be answered: How was the Medical Device Tax actually going to improve health care?
Let’s not forget about all the “free” mandates that come with Obamacare. Free has to be paid for by someone, either the taxpayers or those who pay for their health care. One of the more disturbing factors regarding the free mandates is that the Obama administration never justified whether the mandates were necessary, or if the people receiving the benefits were capable of covering the cost themselves.
Confusion. What started as a roughly 3,000-page bill has grown into an more than 17,000-page monstrosity, with no end in sight. Simplicity is the key to success; complexity ensures failure. Patients, doctors, pharmacies, health care providers and the American public have no clue where to start. According to polls from Kaiser/Rasmussen and others, upwards of 68 percent of Americans have no idea how to engage Obamacare and how it will help or hurt them. A vast majority of Americans have not heard whether their state plans to set up health care exchanges or to expand Medicaid (a vital element of providing health care to those who cannot obtain health care elsewhere). Worse, both the federal government and individual states seem confused as well.
All the American public knows is that a major funding tax (the aforementioned Medical Device Tax) is being repealed, that $700 billion was stolen from the Medicare fund to prop up Obamacare, and upwards of 20 million people will lose their health care coverage by 2019 (CBO report). So much for another Obamacare promise (if you want to keep your health care plan, you can). Poor implementation, buried within 17,000 pages (and growing) of regulations has helped to create the “train wreck” called Obamacare.
Confidence. A lack of understanding of the true cost of Obamacare and widespread confusion has led to a complete lack of confidence. Like so many things in our country, most Americans are split on support of Obamacare. But the negative numbers support repeal. Confidence is further eroded when people like Sen. Baucus and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius used words like “train wreck” or statements like “more complicated than we thought” when talking about implementing Obamacare.
Do the American people want to see health care reform? Yes. Do they believe Obamacare is the answer? No. The American people want to see simple legislation to fix the weak areas of our health care system: cost and availability. Obamacare does neither. Completely overhauling a system for the benefit of 2.5 percent of the population, or roughly 8 million Americans, is unreasonable and will lead to a weakened health care system.
Next week we will discuss disciplined, free-market solutions that were never considered, but must be part of the discussion. The free-market may not be a magical solution, but Obamacare is a fairy tale with an unhappy ending.