It’s now entirely clear why Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass Obamacare to know what it contained. This week marks the law’s one-year anniversary, and what we’ve learned is not good. If this had happened in the private sector, someone would be facing charges for false advertising.
Almost all the promises so often repeated by President Obama and his supporters are proving false. Despite the president’s apparent exasperation with us for not accepting his repeated assurances, for example, most of us will probably not be keeping the health insurance coverage that we like. Recent studies predict that 80% of small businesses, among others, will have to drop their current coverage.
We also know now that our annual federal deficits and the destructively growing national debt will be going up rather dramatically as a result of Obamacare, despite repeated promises delivered with a straight face to the contrary. But hey, proponents were only off by about a trillion dollars. And it’s our children and grandchildren, not us, who will cover most of the cost.
We know that the very first promise — that the law would rein in escalating health care costs — was abandoned by House and Senate Democrats to secure passage. In truth, American families will pay $2,100 more a year for family coverage by 2016 than they would have without Obamacare. Our families are also painfully aware right now that private coverage has already gone up by double digits.
We know that the SEIU and other unions that spent tens of millions of dollars to see the president elected and that routinely disparaged opponents of this government takeover of health care have sought and been granted waivers because they, too, can’t afford the program. Some have simply stopped covering thousands of workers’ children. More than a thousand waivers have already been granted, with friends of the White House getting most favored treatment.
Speaking of favored treatment, we now know that the House and Senate committee staffers who wrote the law exempted themselves from the act. While they were at it, they exempted the president, the vice president, their families and cabinet officers. The speaker and Senate majority leader were also exempted.
We know now that the appropriations process was ignored when more than $100 billion was hidden in the authorization of the act. Perhaps this helps explain why there was such a rush to accept the Senate bill under the reconciliation process instead of honoring yet another (broken) promise to allow a full reading and subsequent deliberation by the House.
We know that the cost of the new law will be far higher than was promised because, in fact, revenues were double-counted and because a half-trillion-dollar cut to Medicare won’t really take place unless legislators are willing to see few if any doctors ever again treat the elderly. We are fully aware that at least $100 billion of new taxes have led the IRS to conclude that Obamacare represents the biggest change to the tax code in more than 20 years. The fact that most of these taxes are back-loaded after the 2012 elections doesn’t fool us at all.
Here’s what else we know: Two federal courts have ruled it unconstitutional. Judge Roger Vinson of Florida became so irritated when there was no administration response after his January ruling that he threatened an immediate injunction a few weeks ago if an appeal was not filed within a week. That appeal has now been belatedly filed and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals may begin hearing arguments in July.
We also know that 26 states want out. They may be worried that the $80 billion of new spending by the states for Medicaid expansions is another unfunded mandate that will further deepen the serious budget problems these states already face. Maybe the law’s drafters realized that this was another way to dodge the promise by the president that middle class taxes would not go up because of the health care law. The “fine print” almost certainly requires state tax hikes or even deeper budget cuts.
Finally, we know a few more important things: that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act neither protects patients nor makes health care more affordable; that it was enacted despite what are now proving to be reasonable and legitimate objections by a majority of Americans; and that 20 Democratic senators are up for reelection next year. If they vote again to block repeal, they will likely be looking for other employment.
Ken Hoagland is Chairman of Repeal It Now.org, the organization running repeal TV ads featuring Mike Huckabee. His organization has collected 800,000 petitions for repeal and delivered half a million petitions the day before the veto-proof House vote to erase Obamacare.