Even though many Oklahomans did not buy into the idea of socialized medicine through ObamaCare, most are now stuck with buyer’s remorse anyway. Why? Because for the first time in our history, we now have on the books a law that forces Americans to purchase a product or face IRS sanction. Contributing to the buyer’s remorse suffered by opponents and supporters alike are increased health care costs, new taxes, the constitutionality of the mandate itself, and over-regulation.
While the Obama administration’s primary argument for the massive government take-over of the health care industry was to reduce health care costs, since its passage, just the opposite has happened. For millions of individuals, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that health insurance premiums will be 10-13 percent higher than they otherwise would have been without ObamaCare. That represents a $2,100 increase per family.
The $200 billion cut from Medicare Advantage included in the new law means that more than 11 million seniors will likely see their Medicare Advantage premiums increase significantly or have their benefits noticeably lessened.
Additionally, states will see their spending on health care increase. A new study by Deloitte predicts that by 2030 Medicaid costs could rise to somewhere between 35% and 50% of states budgets with no relief in sight from ObamaCare.
The picture is not any better for the federal government. Under the most realistic forecast of likely congressional actions, CBO says the nation’s debt is headed toward “unsustainable levels.” ObamaCare was supposed to reduce health care spending and the deficit, but according to the same report, our tsunami of debt includes “all the effects of the recently enacted health care legislation.”
In addition to increased costs, Americans and businesses are faced with a $569 billion increase in taxes. These taxes include $200 billion in taxes on individuals and small businesses, $50 billion in taxes on employers that cannot afford to provide their workers with health coverage, $20 billion in taxes on the uninsured through penalty payments for not meeting the individual mandate, and $20 billion in taxes on medical devices.
While promoting the legislation, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress repeatedly argued that the requirements of the bill were not taxation on the American people. Obama himself said of the law, “Nobody considers that a tax.” However, constitutional challenges from states’ attorneys general have forced Obama’s own Justice Department to recognize that the mandate’s best line of defense comes from Congress’ power to impose taxes. The Justice Department argues the mandate is a “valid exercise” of that right. What at first the Administration was so reluctant to admit is quickly becoming their primary defense of the law’s constitutionality. By caving to the accusations that the mandate is in actuality a tax, the Obama Administration is admitting a weariness and very real possibility that the Supreme Court could deem the mandate unconstitutional.
While the challenge to ObamaCare’s constitutionality continues, various federal government agencies and departments press forward in creating the regulations that will govern its implementation. In addition to the nearly 3,000 pages of the legislation itself, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently issued a 1,250 page proposed rule on Medicare payment policies for 2011. This is in addition to the 121 page proposed rule limiting how companies can grandfather their employee health-insurance plans to avoid other federal mandates. With these and other regulatory efforts underway, the business community is understandably rethinking its support for Obamacare.
With over-regulation, increased costs, higher taxes and even the law’s constitutionality in question, it is no wonder that states like Missouri are overwhelmingly voting to opt out of the law’s mandate. It should come as no surprise that recent polling shows 55 percent of Americans favor a repeal of ObamaCare. The buyer’s remorse has even caused Democrat congressional leaders to encourage their members to not focus on the law as they prepare for a difficult election season. The only way to get rid of this buyer’s remorse is to return the awful product to the seller from which it came. Voters in Oklahoma and across the country can do just that when they go to the polls this coming November.