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September 26, 2013

Broken Promises, and a Broken System

By

Developments this week suggest that for many Americans, Obamacare will not be worthwhile. The administration’s report on premiums claimed that insurance rates will be “lower than projected” — clever code for “premiums will go up by slightly less” than the 2009 Congressional Budget Office estimates. That’s far from the $2,500 premium reduction that Obamapromised his health plan would deliver, during his 2008 campaign.

What’s more, many of those exchange plans will have limited physician networks, as reportedby The Times this week. The problem is obvious: “Decades of experience with Medicaid, the program for low-income people, show that having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialists or other providers.”

Congress should stop Obamacare before it starts, and focus on common-sense solutions that can reduce health care costs for all.

While Obamacare may not be worthwhile for many Americans, implementing it certainly has been a problem — for both state exchanges and the federal government. Wednesday morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Colorado, like Oregon before it, would delay online purchases of health insurance through its exchange; “some people will have to enroll by phone or in person” instead. Later Wednesday, the District of Columbia announced delays for its exchange; customers in the nation’s capital won’t be able to see what insurance subsidies (if any) they qualify for until at least November.

Then on Thursday — even as President Obama was publicly claiming that Obamacare is “here to stay” — The Associated Press reported another series of delays, these postponing online sign-ups for both the federally run small business exchanges and the Spanish-language exchange.

The combination of broken premium promises, limited access to care and continued implementation failures all send one clear message: Congress should stop Obamacare before it starts, and focus on common-sense solutions that can reduce health care costs for all Americans.

- Chris Jacobs is a senior policy analyst in health policy studies at the Heritage Foundation.

Originally appeared in The New York Times.

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