Obamacare Buyers’ Remorse

Maybe congressional Republicans should quit trying to repeal Obamacare and let the president do it for them.

Maybe congressional Republicans should quit trying to repeal Obamacare and let the president do it for them.

Republicans have now held 40 – or is it 41, or 42? better check your watch – votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and are squabbling over the best way to defund it. This is just unprecedented, say liberals who missed the 2007 Washington Post article, “Reid Backs Iraq War Funds Cutoff,” and it proves Republicans have become obsessed.

Forty votes is indeed an awful lot. But it is only 10 more than the number of votes Congress has held on the DREAM Act. For some reason holding 30 votes on a proposal is nothing remarkable, but holding 40 votes is bug-eyed overkill. Go figure.

The DREAM Act – letting those who were brought to America as children stay here – is a fine idea, and it finally seems to have gained enough traction to approach passage. But doing so has taken more than a decade: Sens. Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch introduced the first iteration 12 years ago this month. The proposal’s slow march toward acceptance, which proves Coolidge’s adage that nothing can take the place of persistence, ought to encourage advocates of repealing the ACA. After all, at least people knew what was in the DREAM Act before voting on it. As Nancy Pelosi pointed out, America had to pass the ACA to find out what is in it.

Now that we know, many Americans are experiencing buyer’s remorse – notably the American in the Oval Office. President Obama already has delayed or diminished three key components of the law: the employer mandate, which requires businesses to provide insurance to workers or face a penalty; the requirement that those applying for subsidies to purchase insurance through state exchanges show proof of eligibility; and the caps on out-of-pocket insurance expenses such as copayments and deductibles.

Nevertheless, the president said last week, “we’re well on our way to fully implementing” the law. It must depend on what the meaning of “fully” is.

“If you don’t have insurance,” he went on, “beginning on October first, private plans will actually compete for your business.” Beginning then? If they aren’t doing so now, then why has the White House issued a report comparing future individual insurance premiums to current ones? “You can comparison shop in an online marketplace,” Obama continued, “just like you would for cell phone plans or plane tickets.” Well, yes. People could do that before the ACA too, at sites such as ehealthinsurance.com. The president’s statements are not exactly lies, but they are not exactly the truth, either.

Truth becomes the first casualty in war, and obviously Obama is far from the only one to have played fast and loose. The other day PolitiFact gave a “Pants on Fire” rating to a claim by House Majority Leader and Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor. He said that under Obamacare “the IRS will have access to the American people’s protected health care information.” Not so. The IRS will demand proof of insurance only. That’s akin to the difference between asking for your phone number and recording every one of your calls.

This doesn’t mean your personal medical history will remain a closely guarded secret, though. As the Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner explained recently, “if you are among the millions of Americans forced to purchase insurance through an exchange . . . navigators will have access to such sensitive information as your Social Security number, date of birth, bank account number, place of employment, and medical history.” What’s more, those navigators – at least in the 34 federally run exchanges – will have a scant 20 hours of training, some of it online.

Administration officials have insisted the law “maintains strict privacy controls to safeguard personal information.” That sounds comforting. Then again, it sounded comforting when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked whether the NSA collects “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans and replied “No, sir.” We all know how true that statement was now.

At the end of his address Obama insisted health insurance “isn’t a privilege – it is your right.” He didn’t mention the CBO estimate that despite the ACA’s vast expansion of government intervention, 10 years from now 31 million Americans still won’t have any health insurance. He simply vowed to “keep doing everything in my power to make sure this law works as it’s supposed to.” When he isn’t doing everything in his power to delay or diminish it, that is.

This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Hyperion||

    Maybe congressional Republicans should quit trying to repeal Obamacare

    I've only been saying this for months. The Dems own it, let them own it.

    The only thing that Obamacare was ever intended to do, is give the federal government more control and power over people. It's working just fine.

  • John||

    Every time the Republicans vote to repeal it, the Democrats have to vote to keep it. It reminds everyone in the country whose policy this is. And that is a good thing. If the Republicans stop trying to repeal it, the Dems will stop taking ownership of it. They will just claim that it someone else who passed it and they want it repealed too. And their low information low IQ supporters will believe them.

    Make the Democrats vote to keep Obamacare. And keep making them do it.

  • some guy||

    Also every vote on repealing Obamacare is one less vote on something else that is probably equally stupid, if not worse. Gridlock is the best possible scenario for the foreseeable future.

  • grey||

    You give the Sheeples way to much credit John.

  • jese012||

    my classmate's step-mother makes $74/hr on the laptop. She has been fired for seven months but last month her pay was $18454 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this web site .............. buzz90.com

  • OneOut||

    She will probably not be eligible for a subsidy through the health care exchanges then.

  • ||

    She can claim one anyway though - remember, it's on the honor system.

  • CatoTheElder||

    That's what happens when you buy a pig in a poke.

  • Mainer2||

    + 1 Stupak

  • CatoTheElder||

    At the end of his address Obama insisted health insurance “isn’t a privilege – it is your right.”

    Health insurance IS NOT a right under PPACA: It is a mandated obligation.

  • John||

    It isn't even that. You can always pay the penalty, which is going to be a lot cheaper thanks to Obamacare.

  • Ann N||

    gotta love how if you dont have the funds for a basic service, the govt will heap on your another problem, the penaltax.

    now that is what i call compassion for the poor. its a great way to get revenue from the homeless.

  • Eric Bana||

    Oh no. I feel myself becoming cynical--just what Obama was warning about!!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!!

  • Almanian!||

    The Re-Education Camps will help. They're covered under Obamacare!

  • nailzer||

    If Obamacare covers existing illnesses when you buy it why would one want health care coverage if you're not sick? Just wait until you need it. Seems to be a waste of money otherwise.

  • PRX||

    Buy insurance in advance? "That's not real insurance".

  • CatoTheElder||

    Actually it will be a fairly complex formula based upon income, subsidies, and penaltaxes. One will also have to factor in whether one can escape the penaltax by underwithholding.

    Will hospitals have ObamaCare sign-ups in their ER waiting rooms?

  • JWatts||

    Will hospitals have ObamaCare sign-ups in their ER waiting rooms?

    Almost certainly.

  • Adamsmith1776||

    "Republicans have now held 40 – or is it 41, or 42? better check your watch – votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act." The problem with this strategy is that it gives Obama a factoid on which to argue that his screwed up implementation is due to the Republicans and not his poorly thought-out law or miserable administrative skills. The votes to repeal have nothing to do with the implementation, but don't expect low-info voters to understand this. Hell--they voted him back into office.

  • XM||

    Are they low information voters, or fanatical leftists?

    If you inform the "George Zimmerman killed Trayvon because he was black" crowd online some basic, IRREFUTABLE facts - like how Zimmerman declined to use SYG as his defense - they'll go off on weird tangents to justify their positions.

    The left's loyalty to Obamacare has much to do with their loyalty to Obama himself. Or their hatred for folks who don't like big government. If Obamacare screws up, the Obama supporters will blame the insurance company or the hospitals that will gradually take in less medicaid or medicare patients.

  • DarrenM||

    I have mild epilepsy. I had a seizure a few years ago and told the doctor, who then informed the state of california, which then required that I have another driver examination. I have no idea what other requirements there might be today. I was under the impression there was some kind of doctor/patient privilege and that what I told a doctor would remain private. I was obviously wrong. I expect to be even more wrong after this is implemented. And who knows what will health conditions will be penalized or what actions mandated by the state or federal government in the future because of them?

  • Sevo||

    "And who knows what will health conditions will be penalized or what actions mandated by the state or federal government in the future because of them?"

    I'm assuming that if you don't wish the government to know something, don't tell the doctor. An MD is now nothing more than a government agent.

  • randdy||

    upto I saw the check saying $7450, I didnt believe that...my... brothers friend was like realey bringing in money parttime online.. there sisters roommate has been doing this for under 23 months and resantly repayed the mortgage on their place and bourt themselves a BMW. this is where I went www.jazz77.com

  • wayne@herberts.org||

    The current state of health insurance in the USA is absolutely deplorable. The Republicans have done nothing to suggest an alternative to Obamacare. Reason and the libertarians continue to be convinced that the free market solves all ills, in spite of bushel baskets full of evidence to the contrary.

  • XM||

    When anyone suggests that there's a "bushel baskets full of evidence" of something, but doesn't actually tell us what they are .... well, you see my point.

    You won't accept the "alternative" from any source, Republican or otherwise. You favor a single payer system or something resembling it. Every available evidence suggests that such system, in nations with less than 50% of OUR population, unburdened by other massive healthcare programs (medicare, medicaid, etc) are running low on money and taking steps that no one here will approve of.

  • ||

    Reason and the libertarians continue to be convinced that the free market solves all ills, in spite of bushel baskets full of evidence to the contrary.

    This might be a good time, just so we have a frame of reference, for you to tell us at what point in history there has been a "free market" in health insurance? Presuming that you mean the health care market as it existed the day before the ACA passed, or the decade before the ACA passed, hell, even the century before the ACA passed... well, there's your problem.

  • ||

    *health insurance market, not health care market (Yes, Virginia, they are not synonymous)

  • heart_of_flint||

    We have to implement the law in order to find out how it works.

  • ||

    repeal obama care because its too big, it was rammed thru w/o majority public support. they can re-introduce parts of the bill. nothing longer than 1page should be passed at a time, and shouldnt be passed unless the majority of the public understands it, and preferably also not until the majority of the public approves it.
    laws and regulations should be simplified and easy for all to understand. remove exsessive laws/regs.
    let prv bussiness's do what they want as long as their not committing fraud, contract breach, theft, robbery, property damage, kidnapping, physcial abuse, or murder.
    put conditions on in order to receive tax breaks or gov-funding. once a bussiness receives gov funding it then becomes at least partially gov sector.
    competition and consumer choice lowers costs and increases quality. let the consumer choose what provider they want and what coverage they want.
    give poor people premuim support for health insurances of their choice within the limits of it being under a certian cost and it doesnt cover more than birth control, and testing for and treating physcial health problems.
    gov could put some $ in a poor persons health saveings account that can only be spent on birth control and testing for and treating physcial health problems.
    gov could pay for poor people's birth control and testing for and treating pyhscial health problems.

  • ||

    hospitals and health insureres shouldnt be punitilivy taxed for not selling or covering products/services.
    forceing/coroceing people to buy insurance=tax. it forces/coroces people to pay for other people's healthcare costs. people shuldnt be punitivly taxed for not buying health insurance. maybe why the fine is cheaper than the insurance is because gov's goal is gov funded healthcare only and no private insurance.
    gov insurance/healthcare is lower quality and more abusive than private, because private must provide a quality service that people are willing to buy in order to stay in bussiness, while gov insurance/corrupt gov minions is allowed to steal from the public to fund its bussiness and force/coerce recepiants to receive treatments and coverage they dont want.
    when people become elidgable for gov health insurance at age 65(many arnt allowed to opt out), they become victimized by the healthcare system( misdiagnosis, over-treatment, neglect/abuse, forced treatment and expirements...) more than 360times more than at age 64. fradulent "healthcare providers" often foribly partially paralyze and permantly disable victims, in order to receive tax payer $ to keep them in a nurseing home and pay for treatments(torture is a type of treatment, and is fraudlently covered under gov insurance under code names)
    60%+ of tax payer $ that funds gov health insurance, is spent commiting fraud agianst, or victimizeing, innocent recipiants.

  • ||

    people who have insurance, are more likley to be victimzed by the "healthcare" industry, than those who arnt insured.
    the affordable care act isnt affordable beacuse its raiseing taxes to pay for it. gov shouldnt be allowed to punitivily tax whatever it wants to.
    dont require employeers to provide employees with health insurance, only a minimum wage. minimum wage is high enough for full time employees to buy their own $300/m health insurance(in most cases.)raise minimum wage slightly for areas where minimum wage isnt sufficent for an adv full time employee to buy themself health insurance that only covers birth control, and testing for and treating physcial health problems.
    confidenaltiy contract breach giving or selling gov your/the public's medical records w/o your/the public's permit=fired, licence revolked, and owe refund.
    gov's job isnt to collect everyone's medical records wo their permit, gov workers who dont do their job=fired.
    immedialty fire all gov workers who want to collect the public's medical records w/o their permit.
    to reduce healthcare costs, help make sure people are able to live healthy lives and increase healthcare supply.
    mandated health insurance is a new tax that forces healthy middle class people to pay for sick rich people, instead of how its sapoe to be: the rich pay for the poor's healthcare.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.