On this day in 2010, President Obama signed into law his signature health care legislation. Despite being only seven years old, Obamacare has had a lifetime of disappointments—enough to warrant its complete repeal. Even more, the current House “repeal” bill (aka the American Health Care Act) does NOT fully repeal Obamacare.
Here are seven reasons why Congress should completely scrap Obamacare on its seventh birthday – and not replace it with Obamacare 2.0:
1. Monthly costs keep increasing: The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make health care more affordable. But since it took effect, Americans have seen their health care prices soar. Monthly premiums for Obamacare plans rose by an average of 25 percent across the country this year. In Utah, where almost a third of the population belongs to the millennial generation, residents saw their premiums increase by as much as 37 percent this year.
While Millennials could be putting more money toward their student loan debt or saving up to buy a house, they’re instead shelling out hundreds of dollars a month for health care they don’t need. Millennials—and all Americans—should have the ability to buy exactly the right amount of health care coverage to meet their needs.
2. Higher out-of-pocket expenses: On top of the higher monthly costs, Obamacare has increased the out-of-pocket expenses people must pay. An analysis from HealthPocket revealed Obamacare plans’ deductibles would average $6,000 in 2017. For the most basic Obamacare plan, families nationwide will pay an average of $12,393 in out-of-pocket for medical expenses. And that’s not even including the monthly premium payment.
3. Overreaching government mandates: Obamacare’s mandates are well known. There’s the individual mandate which requires a person to have health care coverage or else pay a fine. Then there’s the employer mandate which requires an employer with as few as 50 full-time employees to provide health care coverage for all.
The individual mandate didn’t work out as Obamacare architects had hoped—they can thank the outrageously expensive health care plans for that. In 2016, a person without health care coverage had to pay $695 to the IRS. That seems like a lot, but that’s a one-year cost. The average monthly premium for a 30-year-old in 2016 with a bronze Obamacare plan was $257.68—that’s more than $3,000 for the year.
The employer mandate has had negative consequences on our economy. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates Obamacare will lead to two million fewer full-time workers by 2025. That’s because the law sets the full-time hour limit at 30 instead of the typical 40—many employees have had their hours reduced because employers can’t afford the added health care expenses. And with the 50-employee limit, many small businesses have put plans to expand on hold for the same reasons.
4. Cancelled plans: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”—that was PolitiFact’s 2013’s “Lie of the Year,” repeated by President Obama even after he knew millions of Americans wouldn’t be able to keep their plans. Many insurance companies had to stop offering catastrophic-type plans that didn’t cover all the bells and whistles mandated by Obamacare. That meant many college students—like those at Bowie State, an HBCU that had to stop offering its student health care plan because of Obamacare regulations—had to deal with cancelled low-cost student health plans.
5. Failed co-ops waste taxpayer dollars: As a way to provide some “local control” in the health care market, Obamacare allowed states to create their government-created non-profit insurance co-operatives. Like every other component of the law, the co-ops failed to meet expectations. Of the 23 Obamacare co-ops created—thanks to roughly $2 billion in taxpayer dollars—only five are still operating.
These health care co-ops were supposed to be the epitome of government-run health care—a shining example of how great it would be. Instead, the co-ops have wasted billions of dollars and left hundreds of thousands of people with cancelled plans. On top of that, the government wanted taxpayers to bankroll a $6 billion bailout to insurance companies through the risk-corridor program. That effort luckily failed, and you can read more about problems with the risk-corridors here.
6. Another entitlement program: To help Americans in need afford coverage, Obamacare created taxpayer-funded subsidies. However, millions of people don’t qualify for this financial help. When premiums increase by 25 percent, it hurts many in the middle-class, who fall just outside of qualifying for federal assistance, the most. Those who are eligible for subsidies aren’t affected because the government increases the amount they receive as coverage prices rise.
This is another federal entitlement program that squeezes the middle-class who pay for the subsidies through higher taxes but aren’t eligible for them. It also adds to our federal debt, putting a burden not only on the millennial generation, but those to come.
7. Fewer choices for care: Obamacare also promised to give consumers more choice and control over their health care. In reality, millions of Americans have hardly any say in their coverage. Almost 1,000 counties across the country are likely to have only one health insurance provider available through Obamacare’s exchanges this year. Additionally, in at least 18 states, 75 percent of Obamacare plans place severe restrictions on patients’ ability to choose their doctor and medical facility.
Obamacare has failed to live up to its promises. Seven years is far too long to burden Americans with unaffordable, limited health care coverage. Congress needs to repeal this broken law and provide targeted, patient-centered reforms that will allow people to obtain the coverage they need at a cost that fits their budget.
Today, the House is expected to vote on an Obamacare repeal bill, but this is Obamacare 2.0 and should be stopped. Call, email or Tweet your representative and demand they vote NO on the AHCA!