March 24 2014
ObamaCare at Four
Patrice J. Lee
ObamaCare turned four years old this week.
What has life been like for the ObamaCare since the President first called for healthcare reform in August 2009? Here’s an interesting timeline that highlights the milestones and billions in taxpayer dollars devoted to expanding the government’s role in healthcare. Imagine just 9 votes brought to life this bundle of headaches.
Four years later we can all see that this legislation is making a mess of our economy and the lives of all too many citizens, but the proud parents stubbornly ignore the obvious. House leader Nancy Pelosi boasted, “We just couldn’t be prouder” of the legislation, saying it resulted in “better coverage, more affordable, better quality” insurance for nearly 12 million people. Pelosi is hoping to change the narrative about ObamaCare going into primary elections and the fall midterm elections. Where does she get her numbers? And the Administration doesn’t even know how many previously uninsured Americans now have coverage through ObamaCare, which was the primary motivation for the law.
Democrats are banking that a positive narrative of ObamaCare can change the perceptions of Americans about the law.
Let’s just test to see if that’s true:
Most Americans still disapprove of ObamaCare. According to Pew research, 53% disapprove of the healthcare law while 41% approve of it. Opinion of the measure is virtually unchanged since last September. Half of women disapprove of the healthcare act despite the gifts that the Administration tried to bribe them with such as mammograms and abortions.
Furthermore, there is stronger opposition than support for the health care law. Overall, 77% of those who disapprove say they feel this way very strongly (41% of public); 64% of approvers hold this view very strongly (26% of the public). This holds true across most demographic groups.
Let’s reflect back on the un-Affordable Care Act:
What did we get from ObamaCare:
- Higher premiums and healthcare costs – especially for young people
- Healthcare plans for more than five million Americans (and some put the estimate at much more than that) were cancelled
- A prediction from the CBO that 2.5 million American jobs would disappear over the next decade because perverse incentives would attract American workers to stay at home.
- Thousands of jobs lost in some sectors.
- Business growth stunted in some sectors.
- 29ers grow– part-time workers whose hours have been reduced so employers don’t have to purchase their healthcare.
- Healthcare orphans - customers for whom the government has a record that they enrolled, but the insurer does not.
- Exemptions for some, delays for others and a patchwork of regulations that spur confusion.
- More red tape and paperwork for healthcare providers.
What did it cost us? At least $684 billion taxpayer dollars on a public relations campaign that tapped celebrities, fictional characters, kittens and puppies, and basketball players; produced insulting ads that paint youth as binge-drinking and hook-up loving; bought expensive advertisement airtime time during the Superbowl and Olympics; stalked young people at sneaker stores and parties; and asked moms to nag their “adult children” on dating and hookup websites.
This doesn’t count to increase in Medicare and Medicaid spending, the expansion of federal departments to execute ObamaCare, and other raised federal spending.
Yet for all of that, Americans are still not signing up for ObamaCare because they recognize it’s a bad deal for them. The Administration has “signed up” about five million Americans, although that number is questionable. That is still behind the six-million target (revised down from seven million) with one week to go. And they still lag in recruiting young people.
With four years in our rear-view mirror, we keep hope that the years ahead would find efforts to extract ObamaCare from our lives and to erase the damage done to patients, the healthcare sector, American workers, the economy, and our freedom as Americans.