As the Supreme Court prepares to wrap up its hearings on the Obamacare mandate Thursday, the nation will prepare for a final ruling on the constitutionality of the law’s lynchpin. The ruling is expected in late June, and the intervening months provide us with an opportunity to revisit the reform’s other merits – or lack thereof – that the Court is not considering in its review.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to be insured – the element under review by the Supreme Court, dictates how insurance providers can run their businesses, and increases government’s decision-making power in the healthcare process. It fundamentally changes the nature, scope, and implementation of medical care in the United States – for the worse.
In theory, the changes adopted by Congress were based on a desire to ensure that quality healthcare would be available to all Americans at an affordable cost. But make no mistake about it: The promises of ObamaCare are terribly misleading. Name just one government program that has delivered a cost-efficient and reliable service. The United States Postal Service? It’s facing massive budget shortfalls and may very well reduce service, close facilities and lay off workers. Amtrak? Have you ever ridden the train?
Recognizing that the support of big business was the key to legislative success, Obama appealed to the short-term self-interest of insurance and drug companies to convert potential adversaries into allies. Big business played a key role in ramming Obamacare down our throats, making one wonder how lasting or impactful reforms would be if they’re endorsed by the industries supposedly being reformed? Then there’s the costs – excessive costs. Our insurance premiums are anticipated to rise by almost a third, from 10 percent to 13 percent, and the percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on health care costs would jump from 17 percent to 21 percent by 2019. And the mandate “tax” is painfully regressive, imposing higher relative costs on lower-income families.
An estimated 16 million to 25 million Americans are expected to be added to Medicaid, a system that’s already burdened and has its share of financial problems. How can states possibly budget and plan for such an exorbitant expense given the fact that most states are cash-strapped already in part due to current entitlement expenses?
In addition to the financial costs, there are economic and social costs as well. The health care legislation that was supposed to improve the quality of care and access to health care is going to push many families into the unemployment line. In 2011 the Congressional Budget Office acknowledged that by 2020-2021, employment would be reduced by 800,000 jobs because of the law.
In spite of all these concerns, it is estimated that by 2019 approximately 23 million Americans will still not have access to health insurance. The most vulnerable among us are still left without hope. The high-risk pools intended to fill the gap between the law’s passage and implementation in 2014 have already failed Americans with pre-existing conditions, while other measures in the law have led insurers to stop offering child-only policies.
Compassion, caring and fiscal efficiency are not characteristics of government enterprise – period. The care in Obamacare is about Obama, caring about a progressive legacy that will greatly expand government control over lives. Actual care will suffer. If tragedy strikes and your child needs special medical treatment, how long will it take to get an appointment with a specialist – assuming there will be one to find?
Obamacare is not about medicine for your children. It is not about improving the benefits you get at work. And it does not help prevent illness in order to limit health problems down the road. Rather, Obamacare is about Obama’s overriding philosophy that decisions are better left to the government than with the individual, and that the state is a better arbiter of how to allocate our health care dollars than the free market.
The Court has sound reason to declare the mandate unconstitutional and strike a devastating blow to the house of cards upon which Obamacare is built. But we shouldn’t get caught up in relying on the Court to overturn it. Regardless of the Court’s ultimate decision, the evidence is clear that Obamacare is the wrong reform at the wrong time, and the next Congress should overturn it, no matter what the Court rules.
Deneen Borelli is a FreedomWorks Fellow and the author of “Blacklash: How Obama and the Left Are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation.”