Think the debt and deficit are bad now? Think the debt ceiling is looming large now? At a likely additional cost to taxpayers of from $400 to $800 billion ADDITIONAL dollars per year, not to mention the ‘benefits’ of socialized medicine like rationing, it’s not a question of IF our economy will collapse, but WHEN. We must repeal it NOW before it’s too late.
You think the debt crisis is bad now? Wait until Obamacare takes its toll
Thursday, July 28th 2011, 4:00 AM
One of the main reasons for enacting Obamacare was to bring down health care costs – so said the President, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But since its passage, the sweeping overhaul of one-sixth of our economy has done just the opposite. If you think the debt debate on Capitol Hill has revealed that this nation is on the road to fiscal ruin, just wait until health care reform really kicks in.
The Congressional Budget Office will tell you that we will save $143 billion between 2010 and 2019, but its assumptions were flawed from the start. Doing a close analysis of the budget office scoring, Kathryn Nix of the Heritage Foundation concludes that Obamacare “indisputably represents a massive new burden on current taxpayers and future generations.”
Those costs are evident already. “Health care costs are expected to increase by 8.5% in 2012 – slightly up from this year’s increase of 8%, according to the annual ‘Behind the Numbers’ report on medical costs recently released by [PricewaterhouseCoopers’] Health Research Institute,” says the online publication Small Business Trends.
Part of that increase has to do with the fact that many of the nation’s hospitals are buying up physician practices or consolidating with other hospitals to form conglomerates that are able to muscle insurers more than ever before for higher fees for service.
But the other factors that have contributed to the spike are the provisions in Obamacare that took effect immediately.
Insurers are now forced to cover patients despite any preexisting conditions. They are also required to provide preventive services and cover children as their parents’ dependents up to the age of 26. The health care bill also scrapped annual and lifetime cap provisions, so if you get a rare form of cancer, you’ll have unlimited coverage regardless of the cost. According to news website The Daily Caller, “the day Obamacare hit the books one year ago, 150 new regulations immediately went into effect. Since then, 125 more regulations have gone into effect.”
All of this sounds wonderful, but someone has to pay. Every American who currently has health insurance in the U.S. will be forced to shell out higher premiums.
The danger to insurance companies, and thus to patients, is similar to what happened with Romneycare (a blueprint for Obamacare) in Massachusetts, where the new health mandates ruined the few efficiencies of managed care. Sicker (and, hence, costlier) patients sign up for coverage, which weighs down on the healthy population, whose premiums rise so drastically that they cannot afford coverage anymore. They figure, why pay expensive premiums when I can instead sign up for insurance when and if I do get sick and pay the penalty for not being covered (which is much less, anyway)?
It’s just like car insurance: You need safe drivers paying their insurance to balance out the reckless drivers with shoddy driving records. Without just about all responsible drivers purchasing coverage, the system doesn’t work.
That is why Obamacare is so poorly crafted. There is no incentive for healthy people to sign up. However, had the bill included a provision that opened up insurance markets over state lines, the competition among insurers for customers would have naturally kept costs in check.
In fact, if Obamacare isn’t repealed, today’s national debt will be far worse tomorrow because of exploding costs.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses released a report this week that revealed that “one in eight small businesses have had or expect to have their health insurance plans terminated since the passage of President Obama’s health care reform,” according to The Daily Caller. The findings echoed a report from consultants McKinsey & Co. last month that stated that 30% of employers will “definitely or probably” stop offering health insurance coverage to employees after 2014.
Think about it: If you own a business that has fewer than 50 employees, why would you continue to pay for their insurance when you can force them into the government exchanges? Not only does that mean you won’t get to keep your doctor, as Democrats promised you would, it also means that Obamacare could drive us into fiscal ruin.
According to a Washington Post Op-Ed by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, “If half of the 180 million workers who enjoy employer-provided care wind up in the exchanges, the annual cost of Obamacare would increase by $400 billion by 2021. If the other half eventually follows suit, and all American employees wind up in the exchanges – which we believe is a goal of Obamacare – then the annual cost of the exchanges would increase by more than $800 billion.”
That means that far too much of the private-sector health care balance sheet would be transferred over to taxpayers to foot the tab. Over 10 years, the costs would be in the trillions.
Wasn’t the whole point of Obamacare to bring costs down – and not break the back of the federal budget?
That’s why it must be repealed. The debt fight in Washington will be small potatoes today when you think about what it will be after health care reform goes into full effect. But by then, Obama will conveniently be out of office, and we’ll be stuck with the bill.
Andrea Tantaros, whose column appears on Thursdays on NYDailyNews.com and often in the print edition of the newspaper, is a political commentator and co-host of “The Five” on the Fox News Channel. She previously served as a senior adviser on a number of political campaigns and as communications director for former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-N.Y.) and on Capitol Hill as press secretary for the Republican leadership. Tantaros lives in New York City.