Eight Ways Obamacare Has Harmed Americans This Year
Yesterday the Administration released a blog post claiming eight ways in which Obamacare is helping Americans. But in reality, there are far more ways in which the law is wreaking havoc on Americans’ health care and economic security. Herewith are just eight (plus one!) of the ways in which Obamacare has harmed millions of Americans during 2011:
Higher Premiums: One of the “success stories” cited in the White House blog post involved a premium increase in Oregon lowered to “only” about 10 percent. But Candidate Obama repeatedly promised his health care plan would LOWER premiums by $2,500 per family, and do so within his first term. So a 10 percent premium increase represents yet another broken promise by this Administration. Sadly, skyrocketing premium increases remain the norm: The price of the average employer-sponsored plan ROSE by more than $2,200 per family since Obama was first elected in 2008, according to studies from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Jobs Disappearing: All over the country, firms are having to lay off workers as a result of Obamacare’s tax increases and regulations. Last month, device manufacturer Stryker announced that it would be shedding “five percent of its workforce over concerns about the impending 2.3 percent medical device tax prescribed by” Obamacare. And in October, one insurance carrier announced plans to eliminate 110 jobs in Nebraska and Iowa as a “fairly predictable consequence” of Obamacare’s regulations. That’s a long way from the 4 million jobs Speaker Pelosi claimed Obamacare would create.
Jobs Not Being Created: Just this week, the owner of the Carl’s Jr. franchise wrote an op-ed in which he discussed the uncertainty surrounding Obamacare, and the fact that his business will reduce capital spending and hiring in anticipation of higher health care costs. Other experts agree: Investment firm UBS has said Obamacare is “arguably the biggest impediment to hiring,” and the President of the Atlanta Fed said “we’ve frequently heard strong comments to the effect of ‘my company won’t hire a single additional worker until we know what health insurance costs are going to be.’”
Lost Coverage: The Galen Institute recently released a paper chronicling all the plans that have dropped coverage since Obamacare was enacted into law – literally dozens of plans affecting millions of consumers nationwide. Sadly, these results are far from atypical; the Administration’s own estimates found that half of all employers – and up to 80% of all small businesses – would lose their current health plan by 2013.
Paperwork Galore: Already, the Administration has released more than 10,000 pages of regulations and notices regarding Obamacare – and the effects are echoing throughout the health care system. USA Today recently reported that some medical facilities are actually laying off clinical staff to hire more administrative employees to deal with Obamacare-related paperwork. And one hospital in Alabama decided to start imposing a new $25 annual fee on its patients to cover the “huge increase in paperwork” and “mountains of new forms” resulting from Obamacare.
Waivers and Favors: One obvious symbol of Obamacare’s onerous impacts on Americans’ health insurance is the myriad exemptions being granted from the law. As of July, the Administration approved a whopping 1,578 waivers exempting 3.4 million Americans, many of whom are in union plans, from just some of the law’s mandates. Even Senate Democrats were forced to send a letter to the Administration asking for a separate waiver from one of Obamacare’s provisions, noting that the law “may cause disruption for farmers and others in the agricultural sector.”
You Can’t Spell Insurance Without I-R-S: The Wall Street Journal reported on the consequences of just one of Obamacare’s tax increases – restrictions on consumer-directed health accounts like Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). New paperwork requirements led physicians to revolt: “‘I am now doing the IRS’s work, and that’s what I resent most,’” said one pediatrician. And that’s not the only IRS-related provision bogged down in paperwork: An Inspector General report recently revealed that takeup of the small business tax credit has been far short of predictions, possibly because claiming the credit involves filling out seven different worksheets.
Raising Mandates, Raising Costs: The 15-page guidance released by HHS earlier this month gives states the “flexibility” to impose more benefit mandates, not fewer. It does so by allowing states to mandate an extremely rich benefit package, and do so without paying for the financial consequences of their decision – because the costs instead will be foisted on federal taxpayers funding insurance subsidies in that state. At this rate, the Congressional Budget Office estimate of a $2,100 per family increase in individual insurance premiums due to Obamacare could very well be an under-estimate.
States Saddled by Mandates: The annual State Expenditure Report released by the National Association of State Budget Officers revealed that Medicaid is consuming an ever-larger portion of state budgets, much faster than spending on education, corrections, or transportation. And the reason why Medicaid is crowding out other portions of state budgets is Obamacare; at a time when states face budget deficits totaling a collective $175 billion, Obamacare is imposing new unfunded mandates of at least $118 billion. Earlier this month the non-partisan Lewin Group released an analysis of the Rhode Island Medicaid program’s global compact waiver, revealing that the state saved tens of millions of dollars through flexibility – progress made despite the Obama Administration’s efforts, not because of them. While other states could achieve similar savings, the Administration has refused governors’ multiple requests for flexibility from the new Medicaid mandates included in Obamacare.