Welcome to month two of Obamacare. Millions of Americans have already lost their insurance policies and their doctors, and premiums are skyrocketing across the country. The broken promises are piling up, and to make matters worse, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has now confirmed what conservatives have been warning about for years: Obamacare will be a significant drag on our economy.
Indeed, the CBO now says the president’s signature domestic policy achievement will reduce employment by the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time jobs over the next decade and cost over $2 trillion. This news comes amid the worst labor force participation rate this country has faced since the Carter Administration. At a House Budget Committee hearing last week, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told me pointedly that the reduced labor force participation rate will be “the central factor in slowing economic growth.”
Then this week the president announced yet another delay in the employer mandate ahead of the 2014 election – this despite the fact that individuals are still mandated to purchase insurance or suffer a tax penalty.
My Republican colleagues and I have been derided as “fearmongers” and worse by Obamacare’s advocates for the past several years for voicing our concerns over this law, yet on charge after charge, our predictions are coming true. We warned of cancelled policies, increased premiums, and increased deficits – all of which President Obama promised otherwise.
Obamacare has never been more unpopular than it is right now, and this is before a single person has even been subjected to the individual mandate tax for not buying adequate coverage. The case for repeal has never been stronger, and it grows with each day and each new report confirming what Republicans have been warning about from the beginning: that this 2,000 page rewrite of our entire health care system will have disastrous effects on our economy and on Americans across the country.
The Obama administration has taken great pains to try to convince the American people that there is no alternative to this train wreck America is being forced to experience. This, like so many of the President’s claims, is completely untrue. Republicans and conservatives have put forward many plans to improve access to health care while reducing costs, such as the American Health Care Reform Act, an Obamacare alternative authored by Congressman Phil Roe and the Republican Study Committee. This bill would repeal the president’s healthcare law and lower costs using free-market solutions to give American families more choices. Furthermore, it does not rely on the unworkable mandates and billions in taxes included in Obamacare, and the bill already has 123 cosponsors in the House.
The president’s healthcare law is crumbling, and there is already widespread concern that the administration will be forced to rely on a taxpayer bailout of the insurance industry to keep it afloat. Hardworking American taxpayers should not be forced to prop up a failing program that is hurting their job prospects, raising their healthcare costs and adding to our nation’s debt.
We need a clean slate, and it’s time for any reasonable Democrat to join Republicans in acknowledging the obvious – Obamacare has failed. If we act quickly, we can try to fix what’s left of our broken healthcare system and prevent the devastating effects to our economy that are coming our way. Remember, we are only in the second month of Obamacare – Democrats would be wise to start fearing what comes next.
Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.