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An Unlikely Alliance

October 10, 2016
Weekly Columns
When the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was passed in the spring of 2010 it was done so with no Republican votes.  Since then, the Republican controlled House of Representatives has voted more than sixty times to repeal the law.  Republican animosity towards this destruction of our health care system is well established.  But recently another high profile political leader added his voice to the chorus of well deserved criticism of the disastrous consequences of Obamacare.
“People gained access to health insurance but wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half...The people getting killed in this deal are the small businesspeople and individuals who make just a little too much to get in on these subsidies...It’s the craziest thing in the world.”  The sentiments expressed in these statements aren’t a surprise - they are shared by a majority of Americans.  However, the fact that these sentiments were expressed by former President Bill Clinton, arguably the most revered figure in the Democratic Party, speaks volumes about the real impact Obamacare is having on the American middle class.
The American people have known since it’s inception that Obamacare is a disaster.  It has done lasting damage to individual health care options and to the market for health insurance. And in the waning days of his presidency, President Obama himself is even recognizing that the flaws the program has might give way to its demise. Even Congressional Democrats have been developing buyer’s remorse for blindly supporting the law in the first place. Dissent of Obamacare has suddenly become a bipartisan issue as evidenced by Bill Clinton’s unexpected candor.
I could say that I’m shocked that one of the country’s leading Democratic leaders has pulled the curtain back on the truth of Obamacare.  But the reality is that like most Americans, Bill Clinton has come to the conclusion that Obamacare just does not work. I give President Clinton credit for this one and I fully agree with him – the law simply “doesn’t make sense.”
The fundamental flaw of Obamacare is the rapidly rising premiums, which pay for increasingly inferior healthcare. In some states like Minnesota, premiums are increasing by almost 70 percent. Yet despite these massive premium increases, the top four insurance companies in the country are losing hundreds of millions of dollars on their Obamacare plans. Throughout the country, several insurers have made the decision to simply exit the market. The impact of insurance companies leaving markets results in the opposite of Obamacare’s promises – it leaves little competition and no room for a marketplace of choices. In fact, a third of the U.S. will be left out with no health insurance choices in 2017. Many states across the U.S. will only have one choice in the Obamacare marketplace next year – and Oklahoma is one of them
The utter disaster that is Obamacare and the litany of problems it has created will be one of the biggest challenges this Administration will leave to their successor.  Unfortunately, fixing the problems created by Obamacare will be far more complex than simply repealing the law.  Obamacare isn’t just a disaster in it’s own right, it did serious damage to the health care industry that could take years to reverse.  The next President would be well advised to learn from the mistakes of this failed experiment and recognize that free markets, consumer choice, and minimal regulations and mandates are the fundamental principles for successful reform.  Had President Obama heeded these principles, health care reform could have been his legacy rather than the disaster it has turned out to be.