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"Affordable Care Act" Anything but Affordable

July 2, 2012
Weekly Columns

"We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation's elected leaders."

While I respectfully disagree with its ruling, the Supreme Court did get one thing right: It is up to Congress and the American people to determine whether Obamacare is good policy.  Writing on behalf of the slim 5-4 majority of justices who found the Affordable Care Act constitutional, Chief Justice John Roberts emphasized the limits of the Court's jurisdiction. Had the justices been tasked to rule on the merits, they might well have come to the same conclusion as many Americans: Obamacare is not the right solution to make health care more affordable and accessible.   

In fact, nonpartisan studies have shown that between 3 and 5 million Americans will actually lose their employer-provided coverage each year from 2019 through 2022.  Many will also lose their jobs because Obamacare imposes such high costs on employers.  According to a study conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Obamacare will cost 125,000 to 249,000 private sector jobs by 2021, and 59 percent of those jobs will come from small businesses.

Forcing millions of Americans off of their private insurance and into government-run health care exchanges may be President Obama's definition of increasing access, but the rest of us think it sounds an awful lot like the nationalized health care that is helping to bankrupt Europe.

The so-called "Affordable Care Act" also includes hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of tax increases disguised as "fees" and "penalties."  At least dimly aware that forcing through a new $1 trillion entitlement program during a recession might not go over well, the bill's authors attempted to mask the true cost of Obamacare by a host of taxes on medical device manufacturers, drug producers and importers, health insurance providers and individual health care consumers.

The biggest new tax of all is the individual mandate, which forces all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty to the government.  Although President Obama stated repeatedly during the initial Obamacare debate that the individual mandate is not a tax, the Supreme Court ruled definitively that it is.  Furthermore, it is a tax that will fall disproportionately on middle class families.  According to the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation, a full 75 percent or more of the mandate costs will fall on individuals earning less than $60,000 per year and on families earning less than $120,000.  All in all, Obamacare will raise taxes by at least $675 billion over the next 10 years, according to analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.

Regardless of the Supreme Court decision, Obamacare remains a deeply flawed, unpopular and and damaging law that raises insurance costs, decreases health care access, forces millions of Americans into government-run health care and hurts the economy.  House Republicans will vote on July 11 to repeal this misguided law.  Motivated to prevent the government overreach exemplified by Obamacare, the American people voted in 2010 for small government.  Their choices in 2012 can ensure the law is fully repealed before further damage is inflicted on our economy and health care system.