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Bob Kerrey Acknowledges President Obama's False Claim 'If You Like Your Insurance, You Can Keep It'

September 07, 2012

“If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.”  This was the basic contract President Obama made with the American people while campaigning for his signature health care law.  That promise, according to Bob Kerrey however, is proving to be a broken campaign promise.  As a business owner, Kerrey said the cost of the President’s health care law and its high tax burden would force him to drop coverage for his employees thus moving them into the new federal program.

Kerrey told the World-Herald he would have to “dump ‘em off” referring to moving employees away from their employer-backed insurance into the new health care exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.

Kerrey is not alone.  In fact a CBS News survey found 30% of employers will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ drop coverage for employees because of the new law.  And that number will only grow once the taxes are in effect.

Then Speaker Nancy Pelosi was right when she said we had to pass the bill to know what was in it.  The truth is, as Kerrey all but acknowledged the Affordable Care Act is an extremely cumbersome bill that coupled with its high tax and regulatory burden will make it impossible for entrepreneurs to grow their business and create jobs.  And it will hurt the middle class by dumping employees off quality employer-provided insurance into the government pool.

Staring this reality in the face, Bob Kerrey had the opportunity to acknowledge his past support for the President’s law was a mistake.  The Affordable Care Act is a mistake not only for Kerrey’s employees and his business but for the entire country.  It is a $1.6 trillion expense that we simply cannot afford and the majority of Americans do not want.

This month our national debt eclipsed $16 trillion.  It is hard to envision how America can afford massive new spending programs like the ACA without going deeper into debt.  And Kerrey’s solution of removing the employer mandate while keeping the rest of the law intact will only exacerbate our debt problem.

Each employer with over 50 employees must make a choice; continue to provide health care coverage for employees or “dump ‘em off’ onto the ACA and pay a $2,000 per-employee tax.  Many employers, like Kerrey, will choose to pay the tax and avoid the significant expense of providing coverage.  This is an important tax mechanism President Obama is relying on to fund a significant portion of the new entitlement program.

Yet, should the ACA be amended to eliminate the employer mandate provision but not fully repealed the only thing that’s been done is remove a revenue stream that will be replaced in one of two ways: a tax increase on someone else or more borrowing.  America cannot afford either of these alternatives.

Bob Kerrey missed an opportunity to stand up for middle class workers and Nebraska’s entrepreneurs by refusing to support full repeal of the President’s health care law.  Tinkering around the edges of a bad bill will not make it any better.  Repealing the business mandate does not make the law less burdensome or more affordable.

Kerrey pointed out what we all know to be true; the average American worker’s private health coverage is at stake.  The basic promise offered to us by the President that we could keep our coverage rings hollow today.  The Affordable Care Act cannot be fixed, it cannot be amended, and it cannot be improved.  Unfortunately, by refusing to support full repeal Kerrey chose to put allegiance to his political party ahead of what he knows to be in the best interest of our country.

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