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March 27, 2012

Obamacare's terrible twos

Edmond Sun

Obamacare’s terrible twos

By: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Link to Op-Ed 

Obamacare just turned two, and according to a recent Gallup poll, 72 percent of Americans believe the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional.  

Despite the law being President Obama’s signature issue, its second birthday received no party and was barely mentioned by either the President or Democrats on Capitol Hill. This is supposed to be the biggest accomplishment of this Administration, and a reason for re-electing Obama in 2012.  Yet all the Administration did to commemorate its passage was a short report, released with little exuberance, lauding the law. 

Ignoring Obamacare, or distancing themselves from it, doesn’t change the facts.  The law that is now a political albatross is simply costing individuals, families, and the government too much. 

While some of us in Congress fought the move toward socialized medicine, President Obama promised it was the prescription for lowering the cost of health care.  He promised it would save money and improve coverage.  Just as those of us opposed to the bill predicted, that has not been the case. 

In fact, since Obamacare’s passing, individuals and families have seen their health care premiums increase.  A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization tracking employer-sponsored health insurance, found the average premium for family coverage increased by nine percent in 2011.  The same study found that premiums for individuals rose eight percent.  Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects premiums for an average family plan to increase by $2,100 when all is said and done.  These increases outpace growth in employee wages, which may also be reduced for many workers so that businesses can pay the $52 billion in new tax penalties the law prescribes. 

Obamacare is also costing the government too much money.  A recent report by CBO estimates the coverage provisions alone will cost nearly twice as much as originally projected – now reaching an estimated $1.76 trillion over the next ten years. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently projected overall national health spending to increase by an average of 6.1 percent per year for the next ten years.  This means total U.S. health spending will climb to $4.6 trillion by 2019, weighing down our entire economy. 

The CBO has also found that the mandates in Obamacare will significantly increase the government’s mandatory health care spending “from $26 billion this year to $161 billion in 2022.” 

The bottom line is costs will continue to go up, and the government will be financing a larger share of those costs.  We are already seeing record deficits and a national debt of $15.6 trillion.  Obamacare is only making things worse. 

In addition to the monetary costs, CBO found that Obamacare will cost 800,000 jobs, a price Americans and our struggling economy can’t afford.   

In addition to an election year in which voters will have the opportunity to register their disapproval of this and other policies, the Supreme Court is hearing an unprecedented three days of oral arguments from 26 states that are challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare.  

The broken promises make it clear:  Obamacare is not the prescription America needs.  Its second-year gift that keeps on giving is even higher record deficits for future generations.   

Before these costs spiral further out of control, the best medicine is to repeal and replace President Obama’s so-called health care reform.  

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is a leading fiscal conservative in the U.S. Senate. 


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