The Cost of Obamacare – George Harvey

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Obamacare was signed into law in March of 2010 and required all Americans to have health insurance by 2014. America has always touted itself as the “home of the free”, yet this law has earmarked a new direction in American ideals which 1) forces Americans to purchase a service/ product from a third party under penalty of law, 2) is still vastly unpopular with the majority of Americans, and 3) was somewhat underhandedly passed in the dead of night by the senate after the House vetoed it.

The ACA calls to question the very ideals and meaning of freedom vs. Socialistic doctrine. Now that Obamacare was passed and despite the fact 100% of the premiums are covered by government subsidies for the poorest of Americans; it’s now the deductibles that Americans can no longer afford. Latest statistics indicate 1 of every 4 Americans that now have Health insurance still can’t afford medical treatment expenses.

Let us revisit the reason that the president decided to push this vastly unpopular law in the first place, that being to insure those without health care insurance and it was estimated that 21 million would be newly insured under the President’s ACA. This ideal of Insuring the uninsured was a key issue surrounding Obamacare, yet to answer just how many have really been insured under the ACA is masked by the fact that the White House and others have changed some rules of math for determining the true numbers, as well as redefine with the Census Bureau’s identification of “uninsured”.

The new guidelines, which the administration implemented, make it even more difficult to make true comparisons between today’s figures for the total number of uninsured and the statistical trends. Team Obama’s new definition was quick to exclude uninsured illegal immigrants from the national tally on total number of uninsured Americans. Before the ACA, these illegal immigrants were counted in the statistics, thereby inflating the numbers in favor of the president’s plan.
After the ACA, the guideline excluded these individuals that didn’t get insurance, meaning they were no longer counted any more making the uninsured numbers less thereby making the ACA coverage of the uninsured viewed more favorably.

The newest stats now tell us that the number of people “enrolled” in Obamacare stands at 14 million, including three million of who already had health insurance before Obamacare went into effect, were cancelled under their previous plans and health coverage and re-enrolled within Obamacare exchanges. Given that the goal of the ACA was to insure 21 million, this means the ACA has only been 52% effective in insuring the uninsured, i.e. giving a grade of an ‘F’.

So what of the true expense of Obamacare? Back in 2009 the president promised a joint session of Congress in to spend only $900 billion over the next decade on his health care law. In reality the latest tally from March 2014 exhibit that the taxpayer spent $600 million just building the problem ridden Healthcare.gov websites, and $736 million in advertising for the ACA (a law White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said needed no advertising).

Let us also remember that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius went hat in hand, to the health industry officials, pressuring them through political arm twisting to make large monetary donations to help with the effort to implement the ACA and raised $52 million. It was the President himself that convinced some Americans that the ACA wouldn’t add to the deficit or to the National Debt and declared it would only cost $900 billion.

Yet we now told that the costs over the next 10 years will add an impressive sum of $2.6 trillion and those figures are reevaluated up with each budget. As this becomes more apparent and with an ever increasing national debt, the real costs of Obamacare are becoming more worrisome. As more exchanges go bankrupt and requite government bailouts, creating bigger deficits and national debt, the call for repeal is becoming more popular.

This explains why the Democrats around the country now tout their “fix it, don’t end it”. In reality the true costs of Obamacare may never be known as health care costs continue to rise and are becoming anything other than ‘Affordable”. This week the exchanges have made some eye-popping proposed Obamacare rate increases for next year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the proposed hikes of 10 percent or more in 37 states using the federal HealthCare.gov insurance platform, as well as several other states using their own Obamacare insurance exchanges.

So what can we conclude from Obamacare? That despite all that is promised by the proponents of new government programs, that they will continue to follow most government programs inefficiencies, costliness and even more difficult to fix than ever. Such government programs won’t just disappear, they simply become more costly, useless, inefficient black holes for taxpayer money, further emphasizing that complete repeal and reconstruction is the only way to get the healthcare system back on track in addition to restoring faith to the American taxpayers.

George Harvey
George Harvey, RRT, CRT, BA Healthcare and Administration, MEd

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