James Kerian: Obamacare Is Already Broken
A ruling is expected soon from the US Supreme Court on whether or not the Obama administration can ignore the wording of the so-called Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and just pretend that the law says what they now assure us they always meant it to say.
The wording of the law clearly states that subsidies may only be administered “through an Exchange established by the State.” This was not a typo. The “architect” of Obamacare has repeatedly stated that “[I]f you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. … I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these Exchanges, and that they’ll do it.”
The problem arose when, as Obama put it in 2013, “we discovered that buying health insurance is complex.” Oregon, a state completely run by Democrats,gave up on their state exchange. Maryland (completely devoid of Republicans) put $125 million into their exchange before also giving up. All in all there arethirty-four states that do not have a functioning exchange.
The Obama administration’s proposed solution is simple… and consistent. They just want to ignore what the law says and pretend it says something different. If we could all just pretend that the law says subsidies could be administered through an exchange operated by the federal government then that would be a lot more convenient for the supporters of Obamacare, so they have asked the US Supreme Court to tell us all to pretend.
The President has gone on to insist that we have to pretend because otherwise his “working” overhaul of the nation’s health insurance system will be endangered so severely that up to six million Americans may lose the subsidies that are now available to them to help them pay some of the cost for the insurance that they are now legally required to buy.
But Obamacare is not working, it is broken, at least if the goal was to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. If the goal was to concentrate more power in the hands of the federal government then it is working beautifully. But this “working” plan has already taken insurance from 4.7 million households. It has increased the cost of insurance by an average of 24% annually with costs increasing in all but six states.
Most importantly, however, according the CDC numbers released in March the nation maintains an essentially unchanged percentage of uninsured Americans. By making deceptive graphs that only go back to the depths of the recessions liberals can pretend that Obamacare is improving access to healthcare but the truth is that we have about the same uninsurance rate now that we have had the last few times that the stock market was in record territory.
There is not a single measure (cost, options, or increased access) by which Obamacare can be seen as anything except an abject failure. The President’s objection that upholding the rule of law could interfere with his “working” plan should be seen as laughable. Unless, of course, the purpose of Obamacare never was to reduce cost, increase options, or lower the number of Americans without health insurance.