The debate over Obamacare is as strong as ever, despite the law having passed nearly five years ago. Here are five of the biggest reasons Congress should repeal Obamacare in 2015:
1. Obamacare creates $1.8 trillion in new health-care spending, and uses cuts to Medicare spending to help pay for some of it. The law’s exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion will cost more than $1.8 trillion over the next decade. This new spending is irresponsible, especially given the deficit spending already taking place.
What’s more, the law makes unprecedented and unrealistic payment reductions to Medicare providers and Medicare Advantage plans in order to offset some of this new spending on subsidized coverage for the non-Medicare population. The cuts amount to more than $700 billion from 2013 to 2022, and if they take place as scheduled, they will significantly impact seniors’ ability to access care and the quality of care.
2. Millions of Americans already have lost, and more likely will lose, their coverage because of Obamacare. The law has significantly disrupted the insurance market for those who buy coverage on their own by imposing new coverage and benefit mandates, causing a reported 7 million health-insurance cancelations in 32 states in 2013. The same is true for those with employer-sponsored insurance.
During the first half of 2014, Heritage Foundation analysis of the market-enrollment data found that net enrollment in employer-group coverage declined by almost 4 million individuals, offsetting the gains in individual-purchased coverage by 61 percent. The Congressional Budget Office projects 7 million fewer Americans will have employer-sponsored coverage in 2016 because of Obamacare.
3. Many Americans have not been able to keep their doctors as insurers try to offset the added costs of Obamacare by limiting the number of providers in their networks. In many of the law’s exchange plans, access to providers is limited. An analysis by the consulting firm McKinsey and Co. found that nationwide, 48 percent of all exchange-plan provider networks are deemed to be “narrowed,” and of those narrowed networks, nearly 40 percent are classified as “ultra-narrow.”
4.In spite of the president’s now-infamous promise, the law increases the cost of health coverage. In 2014, the first year Obamacare’s insurance mandates took effect, coverage in the exchanges was more expensive than comparable 2013 coverage in the pre-Obamacare individual market in 42 states. For Americans with coverage through their employer, premiums also continue to increase as family premiums for employer-sponsored coverage have increased by an average of $3,459 since 2009.
5. Obamacare contains 18 separate tax increases, fees and penalties. Altogether, Obamacare’s taxes and penalties will collect more than $770 billion in new federal government revenues from 2013 to 2022. The individual mandate, the medical-device tax, the federal health-insurer tax and new penalties and limits on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts are just a few of the taxes that affect middle-class Americans.
As the American people continue to experience the various harmful effects of Obamacare, they continue not to support it. Congress should continue its efforts to repeal it in its entirety to allow for a fresh start to health-care reform that would be market-based and patient-centered.
Alyene Senger is a researcher in the Center for Health Policy at The Heritage Foundation.