ObamaCare for the Vast Majority
ObamaCare was sold to the nation as a compassionate response to the approximately 47 million uninsured Americans. Yet, 30 million Americans will still not be insured even after the frenetic misrepresentation and bribery required to pass the bill and the botched rollout. Plus, the policies of millions of insured Americans are being cancelled and replaced with HHS "approved" policies that have higher premiums. Then, following the wipeout in the individual market, millions of Americans currently covered by employer-provided plans will have their policies cancelled because they are deemed inadequate and unacceptable under the ObamaCare regulations issued by HHS.
Health Journal reports, "The ACA will leave tens of millions uncovered. It will do little to alter racial disparities in coverage. It will also perpetuate disparities in access based on state of residence. The ACA, whatever its merits, will fall well short of its stated goal of providing affordable care for all Americans."
The situation makes a travesty of the president's oft-repeated promise that the "vast majority" of Americans will be able to keep their current health insurance coverage. Instead, the "vast majority" of Americans will be paying for mandated services they don't need or want; millions will find they cannot access their doctors; and their satisfaction with their health care services will diminish drastically. Instead of "stronger, better, more secure" insurance coverage, there are reports of widespread security issues on the ObamaCare website and sweeping changes that are leaving policy-holders reeling.
Politicians have long worried about the financial sustainability of the Medicare/Medicaid programs, but, since employees pay into the programs in order to have benefits in their senior years, most politicians wouldn't dare suggest making cuts to these programs. Drastic changes to Medicare and Medicaid are buried in ObamaCare; its provisions will bring an estimated one-in-five Americans into government-run medical welfare by increasing Medicaid by nearly 16 million individuals. Further, ObamaCare "strips more than 10 million extremely satisfied seniors of their Medicare Advantage." Diane Furchtgott-Roth and other economists have carefully laid out how Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries will inevitably get lower standards of care under ObamaCare. These changes primarily (Who is waging a 'War on Women'?) affect women, who make up 69 percent of Medicaid recipients and will be "disadvantaged" by being required to accept Medicaid rather than a refundable tax credit to purchase a private plan.
There were plenty of warnings (see for example my CWA report, Obamanomics: Summary of the Analyses and Commentary Related to the Financial Impact of ObamaCare on Women and Families) that the new law would raise health-care costs substantially and lead to reduced quality of medical services. Now we know that ObamaCare includes $156 billion in cuts to plans and services provided to the seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. One large provider, UnitedHealth Group, claims that it has dropped thousands of doctors because of "substantial funding pressure" from the federal government. These cuts are occurring at the same time that ObamaCare is dramatically expanding enrollment of the poorest and most vulnerable Americans into the Medicaid program. We heard speech after speech about how ObamaCare was going to bend the cost curve down, but it's hard to understand how anyone would fail to see that a massive increase in demand combined with shrinkage in supply would push up costs.
Among the "vast majority" who will experience negative consequences from ObamaCare are small business owners. Several economists have pointed out that small business owners, who hire predominantly low-income workers, will be penalized and their employees are "disproportionately likely to be high school dropouts, minority, and female." Further, up to 80 percent of small-business owners could lose their health-care plans because they don't comply with the mandates of ObamaCare.
Medium-size businesses -- which we desperately need more of to provide employment opportunities for the millions looking for work -- are instead reducing personnel to get below 50 full-time employees in order to avoid having to provide health insurance. The ramifications don't look good for unemployment figures that are already disastrously low. The "vast majority" of Americans will pay for these ramifications, including an add-on estimated at about $63 per employee that goes into a fund to cover preexisting conditions. Did anyone think that the money for such coverage would come out of thin air? Everyone except those receiving government subsidies will be paying higher premiums while having higher deductibles, fewer options and less coverage.
The "vast majority" of Americans view ObamaCare as an unmitigated disaster that will pile on to an already insurmountable debt and cause government to encroach further and further into areas of our lives that should remain personal, private, and under our own control. Unless it is overturned, ObamaCare will strip us step-by-step of the right to make our own decisions. Health care rationing resulting in pain and even premature death will be concealed from public view as long as possible to prevent an outcry; but as in Canada, England, and elsewhere, it is inevitable.
ObamaCare carries with it a massive expansion of government bureaucracy, with 159 new commissions, boards, and agencies created by the bill, adding even more barriers between the caregiver and the patient. That such a contrivance could possibly contribute to bettering health care making it more affordable is simply beyond comprehension.
The more we learn about ObamaCare's specific provisions, the more we discover that the bill does not reflect our values -- faith, family, and freedom -- nor does it strengthen those principles of personal responsibility, self-reliance and respect for the life and liberty of the individual that are the foundation of a great nation. The politicians in Washington already know what ObamaCare entails and have accordingly exempted themselves from it; we can only pray that the vast majority of Americans will swiftly come to see the actual reality of ObamaCare and refuse to elect any politician who will not vote to repeal it.
Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., is Executive Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute.