ObamaCare just turned five years old and President Obama is celebrating with a partisan blast at conservatives and anyone else who questioned, challenged or in any way criticized his namesake law.
POTUS chided that his critics need to embrace reality, but he’s the one who needs to wake up to the difficulties and hardships that Obamacare is imposing on our lives and our economy.
The President noted:
“The Affordable Care Act has been the subject of more scrutiny, more rumor, more attempts to dismantle and undermine it than just about any law in recent history,” Obama said in a statement. “It’s time to embrace reality.
“Instead of trying yet again to repeal the Affordable Care Act and allowing special interests to write their own rules, we should work together to keep improving our healthcare system for everybody,” he added. “Instead of kicking millions off their insurance and doubling the number of uninsured Americans, as the House Republican budget would do, we should work together to make sure every American has a chance to get covered.”
He then went on to brag about the 16 million people the administration claims have signed up for health insurance under ObamaCare.
Not so fast Mr. President. That number comes with an asterisk, as we don’t yet know how many of those clients have actually paid their first month’s premiums, as opposed to just signing up. Paying is the only real measure of enrollment. Also, the 16 million figure is total of those who gained coverage through Obamacare’s federal and state exchanges, Medicaid, employment, and the individual market place. Not all of those can or should be attributed to the healthcare law.
Of the 11.7 million people who signed up through Healthcare.gov, the federal enrollment website, a total of 7.7 million people are slated to receive subsidies this year in 34 states. The Supreme Court is currently considering whether these subsidies are legal. The law, as written, stipulates that these subsidies are available only to those who signed up on state exchanges, but although many states never created exchanges, the subsidies have been made available anyway. Eighty-five percent of those who have ObamaCare policies cannot afford these policies without subsidies.
The government gave incorrect subsidies to 95 percent of households with ObamaCare. About half of those who received such subsidies last year will have to pay it back because subsidies are doled out based on outdated information provided by customers.
The President claimed his signature healthcare reform law has meant “new savings and new protections” for Americans who already had insurance before it was passed. As Reason explains, the President is taking credit for what we can’t guarantee is really due to his healthcare law:
Health spending growth, for example, is indeed down, and this is driving much of the decline in the deficit, but at least a sizable portion of the decline—perhaps most of it—can be attributed to the recession. One study in Health Affairs last year concluded that about 70 percent of the health spending slowdown is a result of the economy, not any structural changes to health care delivery. ObamaCare may be due some credit, but not too much.
Similarly, it’s true that a government report estimated that between 2010 and 2013, deaths from “hospital-acquired conditions” were reduced by about 50,000. But it’s hard to fully pin this on ObamaCare when the report states up front that “the precise causes of the decline in patient harm are not fully understood.”
And this doesn’t even get to the impact on the labor market of ObamaCare, which makes hiring more expensive as employers try to comply with the ACA’s employer mandate. From cutting part-time hours between 30 hours per week to forging hiring, the impacts have not been negligible.
The President needs to take his rose colored glasses off and face reality. Yes, some Americans now have healthcare coverage thanks to the expansion of Medicaid or because of free money through taxpayer subsidies, but that has nothing to do with the quality of care Americans are receiving or the choice of healthcare options.