In Case You Missed It: Sens. Enzi & Hatch Op-Ed on Health Care Reform in Politico
Thursday, March 22, 2012Joe Brenckle 202-224-2465
POLITICO - Repeal disastrous health care law
By: Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Mike Enzi
March 21, 2012 09:29 PM EDT
President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional $2.6 trillion health spending law turns two years old Friday. But the American people aren’t up for celebrating.
Seventy-two percent of Americans, including 56 percent of Democrats, believe the law’s mandate requiring Americans to buy insurance even if they don’t want it is unconstitutional, according to a recent Gallup Poll.
Half of all Americans support repealing the law, according to a Rasmussen poll this week. Contrary to the Obama administration’s wishful thinking, the more the American people learn about this law, the less they like it.
The public’s disdain should come as no surprise. Efforts by the White House and its Capitol Hill allies to pass this law were an affront to our nation’s system of government. Laws that affect one-sixth of the nation’s economy should not be made behind closed doors, and certainly not on a purely partisan basis. Yet the president’s health law passed with only Democratic support.
However, it is the substance of the law that is the most problematic. As the implementation of this monstrosity proceeds, we see that the president’s promises to lower costs and allow Americans to keep the coverage they have were just talking points, designed to secure this unrealistic expansion of the federal government. The reality is that the president’s signature domestic achievement massively expands entitlement spending, contributes to an already unsustainable debt, raises taxes on millions of families and businesses and puts Washington between patients and their doctors.
“If you like your health care plan,” Obama promised, “you can keep your health plan.” He further declared his plan would “slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses and our government.” But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that 20 million Americans could be pushed out of the insurance they now have if employers opt to drop their current health coverage and pay a penalty rather than pay increased health costs under the new law.
This erosion of America’s private health insurance system, which now provides quality coverage of choice to more than 160 million Americans, will most likely push more people into government-run programs like Medicaid. This isn’t the American way.
Medicaid was designed more than 45 years ago as a program for low-income Americans. It already faces major challenges, including crippling state budgets and often inadequate treatment
Forcing more Americans onto Medicaid will most likely undermine the independence and health of the public while crowding out important state priorities like education and law enforcement.
The president also promised that the law would “bend the cost curve,” and some Democrats asserted that it would decrease the nation’s debt. If that sounds laughable, that’s because it is. Health care costs are skyrocketing.
In fact, the president and congressional Democrats were only able to claim that the new law would not cost taxpayers extra money through dishonest accounting gimmicks. The reality is that it may well tack on an additional $701 billion to the deficit within the next decade alone. That’s on top of the more than $15 trillion in debt that threatens our long-term fiscal stability.
The U.S. economy, its middle-class families and job creators are still trying to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The president actually admitted that raising taxes in this economic climate wouldn’t be prudent. But the health law includes more than $500 billion in tax increases. Among the most egregious is a $60 billion tax hike on health insurance plans. This tax will be passed on to hardworking families and entrepreneurs who will likely pay $350 to $400 a year in higher premiums after being saddled with lower wages.
For the millions of Americans struggling to find work, the law’s impact on job creation is bleak. There will be 800,000 fewer jobs in the private sector, according to the CBO, thanks to hidden tax hikes in the law.
Job creators are now being forced to navigate a web of bureaucratic red tape generated by the law. Federal mandates will impede their ability to hire new workers and also jeopardize their employees’ choice of health insurance coverage. Compliance costs for employers’ health plans are estimated to jump by as much as 5 percent, and only 30 percent of employers now exempt from the law’s new mandates will be able to maintain those plans, according to a new study by the Willis Human Capital Practice. The only people likely to benefit from this regulatory explosion are the lawyers and lobbyists that businesses will be forced to pay to guide them through this mess.
As for senior citizens, the law takes $529 billion from the nearly bankrupt Medicare program and uses it to fund new entitlements. Its Independent Payment Advisory Board — an unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats — will be charged with rationing care and services — the only way to generate the savings the new health care entitlements require.
Promises made, promises broken — that’s the disturbing story of the president’s health law. The more we learn about it, the worse it gets. While the Supreme Court will soon examine the legislation’s constitutionality, Congress must act to repeal this disastrous law and work toward real reform of our nation’s health care system.
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