The front page of the Investor's Business Daily this morning very helpfully provides a list of ObamaCare's broken promises to date:
- President Obama insisted that ObamaCare would "bring down the cost of health care for families, for businesses, and for the federal government." Instead, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported last week that insurance premiums climbed 9.5 percent this year—the biggest increase since 2004. Indeed, since 2008, Kaiser has found that average family premiums have climbed $2,393.
In addition, writes IBD:
ObamaCare promised immediate help via subsidized "high-risk pools" for the millions that the administration said were denied coverage. The White House expected 375,000 would rush to sign up by the end of last year. As of July 2011, only about 30,000 had, according to the Health and Human Services Department. [And this was after the HHS launched an aggressive marketing campaign to boost enrollment that Peter Suderman reported on back in January.]
Backers of the reforms failed to predict the impact of raising annual payment caps on low-cost health plans that many smaller companies offer. As a result, the administration had to approve more than 1,500 waivers, or risk seeing the ranks of the uninsured swell by 3.4 million.
ObamaCare's promised price tag has already been exceeded. It was supposed to cost $938 billion over the first 10 years, until the Congressional Budget Office realized that it had underestimated administrative costs. That correction boosted the total cost by 12%.
But this is of course only the beginning. Here are some predictions for the future if ObamaCare goes forward:
- As ObamaCare cuts Medicare's reimbursement in order to cover 30 million additional Americans who lack coverage, providers will refuse to treat Medicare patients or retire or both. Either way, seniors (and others) will have a harder time getting appointments and care, something that will make them hopping mad in addition to being sick.
- The various mandates and regulations on insurance companies such as guaranteed issue (that bars them from refusing coverage to patients with pre-existing condition); community rating (that limits their premiums to a narrow range, regardless of the risk an individual patient poses) and medical loss ratios (that limits how much they can spend on administrative and other activities unrelated to patient care) will drive many of them out of business and drive consolidation in the industry. With competition diminished, premiums will rise as will the ranks of the uninsured.
- This will mean that Uncle Sam will have to pick up the insurance tab for even more Americans, hastening America's date with bankruptcy.
- Politicians will look for scapegoats to save their own skin, and the remaining private insurance companies will serve as a convenient target. There will be bipartisan outrage against rapacious, cruel and greedy insurers who care only about their bottom-line and not your poor dying grandma.
- The logical solution under the circumstances will be a single-payer system complete with wage and price controls on providers, and rationing by some other name (such as evidence based medicine) on patients.
ObamaCare's repeal is the only sure way to avoid this dystopia. But David Frum advises Republicans to forget their foolhardy mantra of "repeal and replace." Better to accept the law and tinker with it, he avers.
Oh David—et tu?