It’s hard to think of anything else when we’re all focused on the Islamic terror attack in San Bernardino — yes, that’s exactly what it was. So you might have missed the Senate FINALLY voting to repeal Obamacare last night. The bill, passed 52-47 along party lines, guts the law by eliminating the insurance exchanges and subsidies, and by repealing the Medicaid expansion accepted by 30 states. Even if it passes the House, will be vetoed by the president.
Nonetheless, we are witnessing a complete and total collapse of the Obama administration’s foreign, domestic and national security policies. Al-Qaida is not on the run. ISIS is not the jayvee team. And we do not have a problem with “workplace violence” but rather with domestic jihadism. And so many liberal progressives will try to advocate for Obama’s domestic policy agenda success, like Obamacare, which, though it will survive thanks to Obama’s pen, appears to be a ship hit with torpedoes and listing as well.
As reported by our friends at Townhall.com, “Obamacare, we were told, would finally bend America’s healthcare ‘cost curve’ down. This was a selling point touted by the law’s proponents, even as critics pointed out the intuitive unlikelihood that a massive new government program would reduce overall spending on anything. The skeptics, of course, were correct. The cost curve has not been bent downward.
The latest data reported by the Associated Press confirms that reality is quite the opposite. Here are the details, A government report says U.S. health care spending last year grew at the fastest pace since President Barack Obama took office, driven by expanded coverage under his namesake law and zooming prescription drug costs.
After five years of historically low growth, national health expenditures increased by 5.3 percent in 2014, reaching $3 trillion, or $9,523 for every man, woman and child. Wednesday’s report by nonpartisan economic experts at the Department of Health and Human Services also found that health care spending grew faster than the overall economy, renewing concerns about affordability. The numbers may mean the end of an unusually long lull in health care inflation that has benefited the Obama administration. While the president’s health care law has increased coverage, the cost problem doesn’t appear to be solved.”
Ladies and gents, you must understand this is the manifestation of those famous words by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” But the worse with Obamacare is yet to come, as there are still some 159 new government agencies and bureaucracies to be created. This legislation that was foolishly and unilaterally along partisan lines made into a law, is nothing more than a wealth redistribution scheme by way of increased taxation.
There are some 20 new taxes in the (un)Affordable Care Act and many of you are experiencing increases in your healthcare premiums. Seniors are watching Medicare Advantage being cut to shreds as a bill payer for Obamacare –something a few of us warned about. And if you’ve been reading, you’ll soon realize the American taxpayers are on the hook to “bail out” health insurance companies because of the “risk corridor” language contained in Obamacare. So for the health insurance industry, this was a complete win-win. Americans were mandated to purchase their products or be taxed, i.e. the individual mandate. And as the pool of sicker individuals grew, the insurance companies just “shared the costs” with healthier policy holders and if there was ever a potential loss of revenues, well, the government put the onus on the taxpayer – that’s how you sell free healthcare folks.
Instead of assessing how to leverage an expansion of health savings accounts, Obamacare taxed them, defeating the purpose entirely. Instead of focusing on those who needed a little assistance with covering healthcare costs, those caught in the zombieland of not qualifying for Medicaid but not making enough money to purchase quality health insurance coverage, Obama and his progressive socialist acolytes sought to run the entire system and create unfair competition with the private sector, just as they’ve driven private sector lending from college student loans in Obamacare — another example of an unrelated grab. Why not assess how we could advance the concept of “portability” for individual health care plans? Why not open up greater competition and end the state-by-state monopolies in the healthcare insurance marketplace?
Nope, not a single free enterprise solution was sought because that would be counter to the agenda that government should do it. We’ve seen the system of co-ops fail. As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, “More than half of the 23 co-ops created under Obamacare are closing, the Associated Press reported.
Arizona’s co-op Meritus Health Partners and Michigan’s Consumers Mutual Insurance went out of business this week, adding themselves to the 10 that have already failed including co-ops in Utah, Kentucky, New York, Nevada, Louisiana, Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee, South Carolina and a co-op that served both Iowa and Nebraska.
“Republicans said the taxpayer-financed program exemplifies the problems of ‘crony capitalism’ in which the government backs certain businesses for political purposes,” said an Associated Press report. “Democrats countered that deep funding cuts forced by the GOP worsened the problems and contributed to the financial instability of many co-ops.” One expert said that one of the reasons co-ops are failing is due to artificially low premiums.”
Our Senior Fellow Healthcare economist at NCPA, Dr. Devon Herrick, predicted this failure in a Townhall piece, “Consumer Operated and Oriented Health Plans (CO-OPs) as they are officially called, were intended to function as a so-called “public plan option” under Obamacare. I predicted CO-OPs’ demise in testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on health back in February 2014.
As an economist, I knew CO-OPs’ only reason to exist was political. They were established to gain the support of liberal progressives, who really wanted a government health insurer to replace the private health insurance industry. Progressives lobbied for a public plan because they believe for-profit insurers have high overhead, greedy shareholders and other expenses which would be better spent on health care. CO-OP proponents naïvely believed that health insurance CO-OPs would out-compete for-profit insurers because CO-OPs ostensibly do not have a profit motive. However, even nonprofit health insurers have to earn a profit eventually, or they face bankruptcy just like for-profit insurers. From the start, the CO-OP program was plagued by numerous flaws.”
It’s all crumbling around Barack Obama. This is what happens when the curtain is drawn back on “hope and change.” At this rate, a year from now, there won’t be a single accomplishment which Obama can tout — unless you consider the fundamental transformation of America as an achievement. There he has been utterly and disastrously successful.