May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010 | Commentary on Health Care, Obamacare

Obamacare on Life Support

Obamacare is turning out to be a series of broken promises. It’s been the law of the land for less than two months, and already the President and Congress have reneged on vows made to the American people. For example, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently presented new evidence showing Obamacare will increase the deficit and harm small businesses. That wasn’t among the bill’s selling points.

The latest CBO numbers indicate Obamacare will cost $115 billion more than originally projected. That would make Obamacare a $1 trillion-plus law. Unsurprisingly, the original CBO score was so rushed that the administrative costs of implementing the bill weren’t calculated into the final product. No wonder Americans objected when Washington rushed to finish work on healthcare reform and failed to obtain a final cost figure.

CBO originally predicted Obamacare would result in a $143 billion net reduction in the deficit from 2010-2019. This new estimate eliminated most of these savings, and thus the vast majority of savings the President claimed his bill would deliver. 

The newest CBO finding is consistent with last month’s study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Its final cost projections for Obamacare show that, contrary to White House claims, the new healthcare law will increase national health spending by $311 billion over the next decade and will cause 14 million Americans to lose their current employer-based health coverage. Most objective observers doubt that Obamacare will save one cent.

Americans have a new ally in the fight to repeal Obamacare: The National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB has joined 20 states in a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Obamacare. Its logic, as explained in a press release, is very simple: “NFIB doesn’t consider the Constitution an inconvenience. Increasing healthcare coverage for more Americans is a laudable goal, and one that NFIB supports, but expanding coverage by chipping away at the freedoms afforded to individuals and small business owners in the U.S. Constitution is unacceptable. The individual and employer mandates, onslaught of new taxes, and onerous paperwork requirements in this unconstitutional law will devastate small businesses.”

The NFIB is spot-on. Obamacare will harm small businesses, not help them. America needs small businesses to focus on hiring, not deal with increased costs and extensive administrative work for employees to keep up with the ever-changing provisions in the law. 

Even supporters of Obamacare are tired of fixing it. Earlier this month, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate said they won’t attempt to fix Obamacare this year. “I have said for the last year and a half that we should be doing more on job creation, and I hope that we do move on,” Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D.-Ill.) told The Hill. “I don’t think we’re going to be doing much more of anything on healthcare reform for the rest of the year.”

Wait. Wasn’t Obamacare itself supposed to create jobs? Another selling point collapses.

The new law remains unpopular with Americans, so politicians are wary of casting tough votes to tweak it this close to the midterm elections. Congress may be willing to tackle some seemingly less controversial healthcare issues, including FDA food safety legislation, more Medicaid funding for the states and discontinuing the scheduled Medicare payment reductions for physicians DocFix).

Yet rather than recognizing the catastrophic failure that is Obamacare, liberals in Congress seem content to seek political cover and run out the clock until after the elections. For the time being, Americans are stuck with this monstrous law, even as it crumbles in each news cycle.

The NFIB is right. The Constitution isn’t an inconvenience. Despite what supporters say, Obamacare is on life support. Americans should keep exposing the problems in Obamacare and pushing for full repeal. There’s still time to fix healthcare, instead of merely creating laws that harm the middle class, small businesses, increase federal spending and hurt the financial future of future generations.

Maggie Piggott is Senate relations deputy at the Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Maggie Piggott Senate Relations Deputy
U.S. Senate Relations

First appeared in Human Events