JOHN BARRASSO, DAILY SIGNAL
Obamacare has failed to deliver the health care reform Americans deserve.
The Senate now has an opportunity to reform health care and walk our country back from the single-payer edge.
After seven years of Obamacare, it’s important to remember the many ways Obamacare has failed us—and why consumer-friendly, market-driven health care should remain the goal.
Here are five ways Obamacare’s track record shows why expanding government’s role in health care would be an even bigger disaster.
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1. Costs keep rising.
President Barack Obama sold his law by promising families a $2,500 reduction in premiums. The reality has been just the opposite.
In the individual market—where most of Obamacare’s new regulations have been imposed—premiums have increased an average of 105 percent since the law took effect in 2013.
Premiums also are soaring for the vast majority of Americans who get their coverage through work. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, family premiums for employer-sponsored plans increased an average of $4,372 from 2010 to 2016.
Deductibles keep rising, too. This year, the average deductible for an individual plan on the Obamacare exchanges is $6,092 for bronze coverage. It’s $3,572 for silver coverage.
2. Choice and competition keep shrinking.
Despite promising to increase insurer choice and competition, Obamacare’s policies have led to an incredibly unstable individual market.
Of the 23 nonprofit health insurers created through the law’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program, 17 have collapsed and one has changed its status to for-profit. Taxpayers loaned more than $2 billion to these companies that will never be repaid.
This year, 70 percent of U.S. counties have only one or two insurers offering coverage on the exchange. For 2018, the situation is poised to be much worse as insurers continue to announce that they are leaving the exchanges.
In some states, insurers are also dropping their Obamacare-compliant off-exchange plans, too.
3. If you like your plan and the government doesn’t, you can’t keep it.
Obama said repeatedly that people who liked their insurance plan could keep their plan. In reality, insurance companies were forced to cancel plans that no longer met the law’s many mandates and rules.
For 2014 coverage, after the rules took effect, the Associated Press counted at least 4.7 million plans canceled in the 30 states where data was available.
4. Imposing $800 billion in tax hikes.
Obamacare created or increased many different taxes that will total more than $800 billion over the next decade to offset the new entitlement spending in the law.
Among these are taxes on health insurers, medical devices, prescription drug manufacturers, and the unpopular individual and employer mandates to buy or offer health coverage.
5. Expanding an already unsustainable Medicaid program.
Medicaid has longstanding issues that left its beneficiaries with limited access to care. Rather than reforming the program, Obamacare made the problem worse by adding millions of new recipients to the rolls.
The law’s expansion significantly changed the program by giving coverage to anyone earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level and providing almost all federal funding for the new population.
The Congressional Budget Office expects Obamacare to add $1 trillion worth of new Medicaid spending over the next decade.
JOHN BARRASSO, M.D., is a Republican senator from Wyoming and chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.