LATHAM REPORT: Two Years Later, Those Who Voted For New Health Care Law Are Seeing “What Is In It”
Mar 19, 2012 -
This week marks the 2-year anniversary of the enactment of President Obama’s new health care law. As you may remember, just a few days before the bill was passed by the House, then Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
The passage of time has given real America a new perspective from which to judge the law. The American people have watched closely as the Obama administration has begun implementing the new law, and what we’ve discovered is a web of broken promises, budgeting gimmicks and accounting tricks.
On March 13, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an updated projection of just how much the new law will cost, showing that President Obama’s national health care law will cost an astounding $1.76 trillion over the next ten years. That is nearly double the $940 billion promised by the president and the supporters of the bill when it was signed into law two years ago.
I have repeatedly warned about the budget gimmick used to ram the legislation through Congress, which allowed the president’s plan to mask the true cost of the bill by providing 10 years worth of tax increases and $500 billion in cuts to Medicare to pay for only the first seven years worth of spending.
Two years later, I ask the same question I asked when we were debating this law in Congress: Do you really want the same Washington who brought you the compassion of the IRS, the competence of federal bureaucrats, and the efficiency of the Hurricane Katrina response to deliver the health care your family depends on?
Unfortunately the revelation of a price tag that’s almost double what we were promised is just the latest in a string of broken promises about, and failures of, the president’s new health care law. Let’s take a look at some of the claims President Obama has made about his new health care law compared with what we’ve learned the last two years.
Broken Promise #1: “If you like your plan, you can keep it.”
-- By the administration’s own estimates, new health care regulations will force most firms – and up to 80 percent of small businesses – to give up their current plans by 2013, and Medicare Advantage enrollment will be cut by as much as half by 2017.
Broken Promise #2: “I will protect Medicare.”
-- The president’s health care law takes more than $500 billion from Medicare and uses the money to pay for the new entitlements, including an expansion of free health coverage for Medicaid recipients.
Broken Promise #3: The health care law will “lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year.”
-- CBO projects the law’s new benefit mandates will raise premiums in the individual market by $2,100 per family because Americans will be forced to buy richer coverage, whether they need it or not.
Broken Promise #4: The health care law will not add “one dime to our deficits.”
-- Former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin has written that under a realistic set of assumptions, the law will increase the deficit by at least $500 billion in its first 10 years and more than $1.5 trillion in its second decade (FY 2020-29).
Broken Promise #5: The health care mandate.
-- President Obama’s health care law created an unprecedented federal requirement for all citizens to carry health insurance, a mandate that has been struck down by one appeals court and will be considered by the Supreme Court of the United States later this month.
Broken Promise #6: The health care law will not raise “any of your taxes.”
-- The health care law breaks this promise repeatedly. For example, it includes $52 billion in fines on employers who do not provide “government-approved” coverage, $32 billion in taxes on health insurance plans that will be passed to consumers in the form of higher premiums and $5 billion in taxes from eliminating over-the-counter medication from purchase through Health Savings Accounts.
Broken Promise #7: The health care law will control costs.
-- President Obama said he wouldn’t sign into law any legislation that doesn’t control costs, but a report from the Medicare Actuary predicts that national health spending will go up by at least $311 billion over 10 years under the president’s health care plan.
Broken Promise #8: “Four million small businesses may be eligible for tax credits.”
-- President Obama claimed that “4 million small businesses may be eligible for tax credits” included in the law, but only 309,000 firms have received the credit, which is a mere 7 percent of the 4 million firms the administration claimed.
Broken Promise #9: “These negotiations will be on C-SPAN.”
-- Even though the president promised to televise all health care negotiations on C-SPAN, the process that created the president’s health care plan was plagued with backroom deals like the “Cornhusker Kickback,” “Gator-Aid,” and the “Louisiana Purchase.”
The American people were making it very clear from the outset of the heath care debate that they wanted reform legislation to make health care more affordable and accessible in this country. And, while Nancy Pelosi and those who voted for the health care law passed it to “find out what is in it," the bill that finally made its way to President Obama’s desk will actually increase premiums for millions of Americans, destroy jobs and increase the deficit. The legislation missed the mark so widely that it has become necessary to repeal the bill and replace it with common-sense reforms the majority of Americans have called for.
I have a plan to do just that. I introduced legislation that will lower health care costs for millions of Americans without creating giant government programs and entitlements, and it will deliver the results Iowans are asking for while staying fiscally responsible by not adding a penny to the deficit.
H.R. 364, the “Common Sense Health Reform Americans Actually Want Act,” would create nationwide competition between insurance carriers by allowing individual policies to be purchased across state lines, and it would establish small business health plans so small businesses can pool together to negotiate lower premiums for employees. It guarantees coverage by modifying and expanding high-risk pools to cover, at an affordable rate, anyone with a pre-existing condition who is unable to obtain affordable health insurance elsewhere. It also includes common-sense medical malpractice reform, which could save taxpayers more than $50 billion, and save even more in total health spending as the practice of “defensive” medicine is reduced. Finally, the legislation would prevent insurers from unjustly canceling policies, guarantees coverage for children’s pre-existing conditions and allows dependents to remain on their parents’ policies until the age of 26.
Two years later, we’re discovering all of the broken promises, budgeting gimmicks and accounting tricks that were included in the president’s new health care law. Now that we really know “what is in it," we need to repeal the law and replace it with better solutions based on common sense ideas that will produce better results for the health care quality and access of all Americans.