Monday marked five years since President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. While the White House is celebrating the milestone, the anniversary brings to mind some of the broken promises made in the struggle to get it through Congress in March 2010.
1. You can keep your health care plan
Certainly the most famous broken pledge made prior to the passage of the law was Obama’s promise: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”
2. Rising health care costs curbed
Obama pledged that the cost of health care would go down by $2,500 per family, but increases have occurred on a number of fronts.
Americans who had private health insurance reportedly spent more in 2013 for medical services and used fewer. Earlier this month, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that deductibles are rising at such a rate that it’s becoming more difficult for moderate- and low-income Americans to pay them, and in some cases families are going in to debt. A midrange deductible is $1,200 for an individual and $2,400 for a family.
A Gallup poll found that a third of Americans said they were putting off getting medical treatment because of costs. The average since Gallup first started asking in 2001 about delaying treatment has been about 30 percent, but 2015 marked “among the highest readings in the 14-year history” of asking the question.
“Despite a drop in the uninsured rate, a slightly higher percentage of Americans than in previous years report having put off medical treatment, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act has not immediately affected this measure,” Gallup said.
3. Law will bend the cost curve downward
As recently as Sunday, Obama said in a statement that “in stark contrast to predictions that this law would cause premiums to skyrocket, last year the growth in health care premium costs for businesses matched its lowest level on record. If premiums had kept growing over the last four years at the rate they had in the last decade, the average family premium would be $1,800 higher than it is today.”
But a nonpartisan government study suggests that a sluggish economy is the reason behind that, not the health care law.
The 2013 National Health Expenditure Report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said health care costs would be on the upswing.
“Health spending growth through 2013 is expected to remain slow because of the sluggish economic recovery, continued increases in cost-sharing requirements for the privately insured, and slow growth for public programs,” the CMS report said. “However, improving economic conditions, combined with the coverage expansions in the Affordable Care Act and the aging of the population, drive faster projected growth in health spending in 2014 and beyond.”
An analysis last September by National Journal projected that health care makes up 17 percent of the economy now, and will increase to 19 percent of the economy over the next 10 years.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded Monday saying the slower growth is no accident.
"There are a number of things that have contributed to the historically slow growth in health care costs that we've seen and when I say historic, I mean the slowest growth in 50 years," Earnest told TheBlaze. "And certainly it seems that even the hardest-core critic of the Affordable Care Act would be hard pressed to make the case that it's just a coincidence that in the year after the Affordable Care Act, and in subsequent years, that the slowest growth in health care costs just happened to coincidentally occur in the first few years that the Affordable Care Act was implemented."
4. Deficit Reduction
During the congressional debate, Obama said, “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future.”
A Senate Budget Committee Republican staff report from October concluded that Obamacare actually adds $131 billion to the deficit over the next decade.
5. Boost for Small Business
Obamacare was also supposed to make health insurance more affordable for small businesses through the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, tax credits. But businesses cited credits that were “too small and administratively complex” with not enough health insurance options, according to the Government Accountability Office. This failed to provide the proper incentive for small employers to insure workers. There was also a lack of employer awareness, according to the GAO.