Rose-Colored Glasses Can't Hide ObamaCare’s Harmful Effects

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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 29, 2015 | comments
During a hearing convened by the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell tried painting a rosy picture of the president’s health care law. According to Secretary Burwell, because of ObamaCare, “middle class families have more security” and “as a nation, we are spending our health care dollars more wisely and starting to receive higher quality care.” However, as Chairman John Kline (R-MN) pointed out, the rosy rhetoric continues to fall far short of reality. In fact, five years into ObamaCare, “families, workers, and employers are learning more and more about the harmful consequences of this flawed law,” which include:
  • Less access to doctors – To control costs, it is estimated that insurance plans on the health care exchanges have 34 percent fewer providers than non-exchange plans, including 32 percent fewer primary doctors and 42 percent fewer oncologists and cardiologists.
     
  • Waste and abuse – In 2014, investigators with the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office used fake identities to successfully enroll 11 of 12 individuals into subsidized coverage on a health care exchange. Just this month, GAO announced that all 11 fake individuals were reenrolled and receiving taxpayer subsidies.
     
  • Costly penalties – More than seven million individuals paid a penalty for failing to purchase government-approved health insurance, roughly 25 percent more Americans than the administration expected under the worst case scenario.
     
  • Cancelled plans – According to the Associated Press, at least 4.7 million individuals were notified that their insurance plans were cancelled because they did not abide by the rigid mandates established under the health care law.
     
  • Fewer full-time jobs – The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the law will result in 2.5 million fewer full-time jobs. This reflects concerns of employers who have no choice but to cut hours or delay hiring because of the law’s burdensome mandates.
     
  • Skyrocketing health care costs – The New York Times reported that health insurance companies are seeking rate increases of “20 percent to 40 percent or more,” suggesting markets are still adjusting to the “shock waves set off” by ObamaCare. And premium increases are expected to get even worse after 2016. Even the secretary’s own actuaries at HHS report that national health care spending will accelerate at a faster rate over the next decade.

Despite these and other harmful consequences, President Obama said last month that the law has “worked out better than some of us anticipated.” That may be, but as Chairman Kline noted:

For those who opposed this government takeover of health care, this is precisely what we anticipated and it is precisely why the American people deserve a better approach.

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