By Tim O’Hare
Eight years ago, the American people were promised “hope and change” for a different kind of America. These promises centered around the concept that a nation dependent on government for “free” healthcare would be a nation that was more healthy and carefree. But the faith the American people once placed in these shallow promises has been replaced with reality. That reality is the realization that a government that once promised so much, has in actuality accomplished very little.
Hope and change has been replaced with disappointment and brokenness. Eight years later, Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. Over fifty percent of the exchanges set up to sell Obamacare plans to Americans have failed.
Aetna, one of the nation’s five largest health insurers, recently illuminated the failures of this broken system with the announcement of their transition away from Obamacare business. But Aetna isn’t the first major insurer to distance itself from this disastrous policy. United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Humana have also started on similar trajectories. This conversion, triggered by the increasing financial damages caused by the individual products and public exchanges, highlights the most intrinsic failures of the Affordable Care Act. At its very core, Obamacare is bad for business and bad for the American people.
Unlike the government, insurance companies must be able to charge a price for insurance that covers the cost to pay those who need care. In other words, they have to fulfill their promises, or their customers will leave. As certain carriers continue to experience the effects of a system in which costs exceed profit, it is wholly unlikely insurers will stop abandoning the Obamacare system. Without profit, a company cannot long keep its own employees, let alone have enough funds to deliver upon promises made to its customers.
But the insurers aren’t the only entities feeling the heat from this policy. Young people are facing more expensive health insurance than was promised. As we all know, the government has no magical ability to make anything “free,” let alone healthcare.
Obamacare was sold as providing “free” healthcare, but its proponents never told the American people it would create a laundry list of new taxes. And the rich aren’t the only ones paying them. Everyone, including the poorest Americans, pays many of the 18 taxes it created.
And aside from 18 new taxes, the law was supposed to make healthcare premiums less expensive. But that hasn’t happened either. The future of healthcare costs, according to the government, looks ever bleaker.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data show that total per capita health insurance spending will rise 50%, between 2016 and 2024. Looking at the future of employer-based health insurance costs, which is partially paid for by employees, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that job-based premiums are poised to increase by almost 60 percent between now and 2025.
Businesses small and large are being painted into a corner, due to requirements under the law. Obamacare created severe penalties – and as a result – incentives for business to avoid paying them.
Consider the threat a speeding ticket imposes. Drivers will tend to slow down to avoid paying a fine for speeding. They can still speed, but they risk paying for it. Similarly, businesses are faced with a far more dire choice—cut back the hours of their hardworking employees to avoid being subject to Obamacare, or suffer the damages of a burdensome policy riddled with excessive regulation and egregious penalties. The “affordable” healthcare law imposed this costly choice upon America’s businesses.
The financial impact is immeasurable. Men and women working hard to feed their families are having their hours slashed, as their employers simply try to keep their heads above water and survive the consequences of this tumultuous policy. At its inception, Obamacare promised to be the hope and change the American people were looking for. Eight years later, it has become the nightmare from which they are desperately trying to escape.
These trends represent more than just the failures of a broken healthcare policy that made promises it did not deliver upon. They represent the failures of liberal ideals based on the mythical belief that a single, ominous, federal government monopoly can provide health insurance better than a large number of large and small, private companies.
A government that attempts to dictate the roles of private business and manipulate the market is a government that is out of control. When the government picks which type of insurance you are legally allowed to buy, and the price you must pay for it, the average citizen loses. History has repeatedly shown that a society functions best when government governs least. The Affordable Care Act is a prime example of this principle. For the betterment of our nation, we need to retire this law soon.
As an alternative, we should be unraveling the thousands of federal healthcare regulations that have made private healthcare so expensive in the first place, and empower the states, their legislators, and their people to come up with solutions that best fit their own needs, so they can provide for those who are unable to afford basic care.
It should come as no surprise that a “one-size-fits-all” model imposed by Washington, D.C. doesn’t seem to fit right for any single American family or business.