Today is the sixth anniversary of President Obama signing into law the signature achievement of his presidency: Obamacare.
This is also President Obama’s last year in office, so it’s worth taking a look back at the promises he and his allies made about the law and compare those to what has actually happened, six years since it passed.
A disturbing trend reveals itself: the law was sold on a series of claims that turned out not to be true, and the American people – the majority of whom have never approved of the law – are left holding the bag.
CLAIM: “If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan.”
This has turned out to be the most infamous guarantee President Obama made to the American people. He and his allies did so dozens and dozens of times, attempting to assuage the concerns of the vast majority of Americans who were content with their healthcare plans that Obamacare’s government takeover would not affect them.
TRUTH: Millions of Americans have had their health plans cancelled, some more than once. And the Obama administration knew this would happen.
As we all know, as Obamacare was fully implemented in the fall of 2013, millions and millions of Americans had their health plans cancelled because the plans did not meet the minimum requirements of Obamacare. Politifact called it 2013’s “Lie of the Year.”
Worse? The Obama administration knew as early as 2010 that millions of people would not be able to keep their plans. They knowingly lied to the American people.
But like a bad TV infomercial, wait, there’s more. Over the past few months, hundreds of thousands of Americans have had their health plans cancelled (many for the second time), as Obamacare’s non-profit state co-ops collapse. The co-ops are selling plans at artificially low rates, and falling victim to a fundamental flaw within the law. Overall, 12 of the 23 co-ops have failed, leaving over 700,000 people scrambling and costing taxpayers over a billion dollars.
CLAIM: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.”
Similar to the claim about keeping their health insurance plans, Obama promised the American people that his law would not disrupt their ability to access the doctor they know and trust.
TRUTH: As a result of Obamacare’s narrow provider networks, millions of Americans are unable to see their own doctor.
Obamacare upended the healthcare market, and unsurprisingly its narrow provider networks have prevented millions of American families from being able to see the doctor they know and trust.
Despite his previous claims, President Obama admitted in an interview that his law has indeed caused this disruption for millions of Americans.
CLAIM: “We’re going to lower your premiums by up to $2500 per family per year.”
This is another promise President Obama made dozens of times, claiming he would work with employers to lower the health insurance premiums of the average family by thousands of dollars every year.
TRUTH: Millions of families have seen their premiums increase by double-digits every year since the law passed.
In order to pay for Obamacare’s massive redistributions, coverage expansions, and mandatory requirements, millions of Americans are seeing massive premium increases year after year. In 2016, 49 states saw average premiums rise, most by double digits, and several by 30 percent or more.
Obamacare proponents claim that the law has bent the cost curve down, but in fact the opposite is true. Premiums are rising faster than they did before the law was passed, health spending is up overall, and millions of families across the country are paying more because of Obamacare.
CLAIM: “No family making less than $250,000 a year will see their taxes increase.”
Running as a champion of working-class families, the President promised that the only people who would see tax increases were businesses and the very wealthy. He claimed that Obamacare would help millions of poor and middle-class Americans save money on their healthcare costs without increasing taxes on anyone besides the rich.
TRUTH: Obamacare contains 18 new or increased taxes, many of which hit the middle class.
It would not be realistically possible to pay for Obamacare simply by taxing the rich. Obviously, in order to pay for this massive new entitlement, the federal government would have to levy tax increases on the middle class, as well.
Obamacare does just that, raising taxes by over $500 billion in its first ten years. These tax hikes will discourage work, saving, and economic growth at a time when families are already struggling with Obama’s sluggish economic recovery and Obamacare’s skyrocketing premiums and deductibles. This law has undeniably caused more harm than good to millions of Americans in the middle class.
CLAIM: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, now or in the future.”
President Obama ran for President on a platform of fiscal responsibility. He called raising the debt ceiling “un-American” and insisted his healthcare reform would not add to the deficit. In fact, he went as far as to claim that this new entitlement program, with a total price tag of nearly $2 trillion, would actually reduce the deficit.
TRUTH: Obamacare adds over $6 trillion to the deficit long-term.
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office confirmed what many already knew – Obamacare will add trillions to the national deficit. Deficits have skyrocketed under President Obama, and he has added more to the national debt than any other president in history.
Obamacare comes with several cost-containment mechanisms, but GAO, the Congressional Budget Office, and other agencies took a realistic view that those mechanisms would not be sustainable in the long run.
Thus, despite the billions of dollars in new taxes, Obamacare’s massive expansion of government will ultimately put the federal government, which is quickly careening toward $20 trillion of debt, even deeper into the red.
CLAIM: “I will sign a universal healthcare bill into law…that covers every American.”
At the end of the day, Obamacare’s staunchest proponents that all of the pain and suffering from the claims and truths above are worth it, because ultimately the United States will finally be able to guarantee health insurance coverage to every single person, fulfilling a decades-long fantasy of the American Left to move this country closer to European-style socialized healthcare.
TRUTH: Obamacare will leave over 30 million without health insurance.
Its millions of health plan cancellations aside, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 10 years into full implementation, Obamacare will leave over 30 million people without health insurance. Certainly, millions of Americans have gained insurance since the law passed. But a closer look reveals that the coverage expansion was almost entirely from the unsustainable, unaffordable expansion of Medicaid, and not from people buying private exchange plans.
Obamacare’s annual enrollment figures continue to fall far, far short of the administration’s projections. For example, in 2016, just over 12 million people signed up on the exchanges – which is less than half of what many organizations had originally projected. To make matters worse, if the trends of the past couple years holds true, about a quarter will not remain insured in Obamacare plans, as they will either be found ineligible or cease paying their premiums.
Clearly, people are not keen on paying artificially-inflated premiums for a healthcare plan that meets President Obama’s needs, but not their own.
President Obama insists that the law is working “better than expected,” and that the debate is over. Are these broken promises his idea of a law working better than expected?
Last year, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was revealed explaining that, “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage, and basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter.”
The Gruber saga brought back to the forefront inside the DC Beltway the lies the American people are still paying for today. The law is indeed a legacy bill, but it is a legacy of lies and failures. For the sake of the American people, let’s make sure this is Obamacare’s last birthday, by repealing it entirely, once and for all.