Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Obamacare Waiting in the Weeds

With the increasing likelihood of the Republican party regaining control of the House and, perhaps, the Senate, it is time for concerned citizens to turn our attention to Obamacare.

To do so we must follow the trail of bread crumbs that brought us to this point. Let's start with what Obama told us when he was campaigning non-stop around the country for health care reform.

First, he told us that our health care system was in crisis with over 45 million uninsured Americans. Obamacare would insure everyone he told us. Next he promised that Obamacare would reduce the cost of health care for each family. He announced a savings for the average family of $2,500 per year. He pledged the government would spend less on health care when Obamacare was implemented and finally he declared emphatically that those of use who liked our health care plan could keep it AND the cost of our coverage would decrease.

Abracadabra. More and better care for much less money. Welcome to Obamaland where the laws of physics ("the seas will go down") and the laws of economics (reduce competition, increase demand and supply will expand while costs decrease) are suspended. That is some rabbit, Mr. Obama. And some hat.

But what has really happened since Obamacare was signed into law last March? Health care insurance premiums are rising at breathtaking speed. Announcements of insurance companies getting out of the health care insurance business are increasing. Enormous tax hikes loom. One month after passage the chief actuary for the Medicare and Medicaid Services found that spending on health care under Obamacare will increase $311 billion from 2010 to 2019, a rise strictly due to the passage of the bill. He also estimates that 23 million people will still be uninsured by 2019.


But there's more. The CBO estimated that the cost of Obamacare to taxpayers would be $989 billion from 2010 to 2019. The problem with that estimate is that the bill is front loaded which masks the true cost. Tax hikes begin years before the "benefits" kick in in 2014.. The cost in the first ten years of Obamacare (2014-2024) are closer to $2.5 trillion according to Sally Pipes new book, The Truth About Obamacare.

As Ms. Pipes summarizes, "So after the creation of 159 new agencies, the promulgation of 2,562 pages of bureaucratic regulations, and the spending of $2.5 trillion in tax dollars, two-thirds of those uninsured still will be. Only in government could that be considered a victory" (48).

As we prepare to vote in November let us keep in mind that under the current leadership the 2010 deficit (and this is before Obamacare) is 1.3 trillion dollars. The national debt has increased $3 trillion dollars since Obama took office. Huge income tax hikes loom on January 1st for working Americans while unemployment has sustained levels only seen during the Great Depression. Congress has recessed while neglecting to pass a budget, perhaps their single, most important function. And our president tours the country castigating business.

If that is not enough, waiting in the weeds is Obamacare, the greatest potential threat to our economic freedom yet.

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