ObamaCare on Life Support
By Peggy Venable
ObamaCare — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — held the promise of providing insurance for the uninsured, while creating a health care system that is affordable.
Even absent the roll-out debacle, the President’s legacy legislation is turning out to be a failure of titanic proportions and has spawned a new cynicism in government.
We were assured if we like our plan, we can keep it and if we like our doctor we can keep him. Period.
Not so. Americans are losing the health insurance and access to the doctors they relied on.
As ObamaCare implementation begins, millions of Americans are being impacted and are feeling anxious, angry, disillusioned and deceived.
Simply put, the President has betrayed the public trust.
On college campuses and at kitchen tables across the country, the impact of ObamaCare has hit home for millions of Americans while more wait to see how it will affect them.
The failure of the government website (developed over three years at a cost of more than $600 million) was the first spectacular surprise, particularly since the Obama campaign made masterful use of new media.
After promising to have the Healthcare.gov website fixed by Nov. 30, the Administration acknowledged it will not meet the deadline, the latest in a long list of promises.
Broken promises and a broken website aren’t all ObamaCare supporters have to contend with. Premiums are going up, taking the “affordable” out of the Affordable Care Act.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation released a study of healthcare premiums in Texas pre- and post- ObamaCare. They found that some Texans will pay on average 158 percent more for the cheapest plan on the federal exchange than they would have paid prior to ObamaCare. A 27-year-old in Austin, for example, could have bought a catastrophic plan for $59 a month before the ACA. On the exchange, the cheapest catastrophic plan is $153 a month. A 35-year-old Texan who earns $30,000 a year will be eligible for annual subsidies that amount to a mere $201, leaving average out-of-pocket annual costs for the second lowest-cost silver plan in Texas at more than $2,500.
And concerns about privacy and security have arisen.
Consumer Reports has taken the unprecedented step of advising consumers not use the website due to privacy and security concerns. Experts have testified before Congress that the website is not secure and individuals’ data including financial information is vulnerable.
What about bypassing the website and using the government navigators to enroll? Navigators are the people hired to take personal and sensitive information including Social Security numbers, salary and health information to assist individuals through the maze of health care complexities to enroll in ObamaCare.
But problems exist there. When US Senator John Cornyn asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a hearing if felons may have been hired as navigators, she said “that is possible.” Background checks have not been required.
Navigators at the Urban League of Dallas have been suspended after being caught on tape advising consumers to lie about their salaries and health habits such as smoking.
ObamaCare implementation is plagued with problems.
When someone is sick, it’s not enough to treat their symptoms—the underlying cause should be diagnosed.
The President issuing an administrative “fix” to allow people keep their plans for another year is more about politics than it is about addressing the problems of Obamacare. With this “fix,” you can keep your plan if you like it—until after the next election.
Here’s the real diagnosis: President and his supporters over-sold and over-promised on ObamaCare. And now that the law’s impact is being felt by voters, elected officials are focusing on trying to save their political future rather than the future of health care in America.
No wonder citizens are cynical of the political process.
The President’s health care law is premised on the idea that politicians and bureaucrats know what’s best for consumers—rather than Americans themselves.
Sen. Ted Cruz is right to call for repeal of ObamaCare. But simply repealing the law is not the cure. Americans deserve a robust healthcare marketplace which empowers consumers and is free of cumbersome mandates.
Imagine a health care system which puts individual consumers in control. A system with price transparency, cost determined by the policy selected and in which consumers feel secure in knowing they can keep the doctor they like while the safety net is strengthened for those who need it.
It can be done, but will take political courage and citizens demanding individuals — not the government — control their own healthcare.
Peggy Venable is Texas Director of Americans for Prosperity and transitioning to Senior States Policy Advisor for the AFP national organization.