President Obama wanted health care to be his signature issue. In the summer of 2009, he chose to ignore the ongoing economic crisis in order to fight for his legislation, and two years ago today, he signed Obamacare into law. Today, it is an undeniable failure.
The side effects from Obama’s prescription for America are worse than we first thought. On this inauspicious anniversary, it’s clear that Obamacare has taken America in the wrong direction.
With a price tag reaching $1.76 trillion over the next 10 years, President Obama promised Americans the benefits would outweigh the costs. The massive government takeover of health care, he insisted, would offer “affordable care” and “patient protection.” The economic risks, higher taxes, and government bureaucracy were worth it, Democrats said.
They were wrong.
Health-care costs are up and will continue to skyrocket for the foreseeable future. While millions will be added to the government rolls, millions more will also lose their current health-care coverage.
Yet Democrats still insist on calling it the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” But as Factcheck.org declared, “The law falls short of making health care ‘affordable and available to every single American.’” Only Democrats could deliberately push such blatant hypocrisy.
In 2008, Barack Obama promised his health-care plan would bring down premiums “by $2,500 for the typical family.” But according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average cost for a family’s insurance policy increased 9 percent just last year. By 2016, average family premiums will increase by $2,100 as a result of Obamacare, says the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
It gets worse. A recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine found that by 2021, the average cost of a family’s insurance premium will be equal to half of median household income. By 2033, premiums will exceed it. That’s unsustainable.
Meanwhile, government spending on health care and Social Security will outpace nominal GDP growth over the next 10 years. In other words, health costs are growing faster than our economy. Medicaid spending will double by 2022, the same year the national debt will reach $25.9 trillion under Obama’s budget.
While we pay more for health care, we will get less in return. According to the CBO, as many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-based insurance thanks to Obamacare. Six million seniors will lose their prescription-drug coverage under new Medicare rules. Obamacare also slaps restrictions on families that use flexible health-savings accounts. These accounts save money, but will be cut in half, increasing costs for 20 million Americans.
All the while, the federal bureaucracy continues to grow, interfering in health-care decisions traditionally left to patients and their doctors. Americans have fewer choices and less autonomy thanks to Obamacare’s mandates and regulations — both those we know about and those yet to be issued.
As we approach the 2012 election, it appears Obamacare could be the president’s undoing. Two-thirds of Americans say the Supreme Court should repeal all or part of the health-care law.
Americans know we need a new direction. We need market-based reforms that promote choice and competition — not a one-size-fits-all plan concocted in Washington. We need a health-care system that truly offers affordability and accessibility — not a law that only claims to.
If President Obama will not implement such reforms, if he refuses to admit Obamacare was a failure, Americans will elect a president who will. We only have to wait till November.
Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Commmittee.