Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Obama broke promises on health care


    “If you like your current insurance, you keep that insurance. Period. End of story.”
    It turns out that wasn’t the end of the story. By now, we all know this promise made by President Obama, repeated dozens of times in recent years, is not true.  It’s been called “the lie of the year.” As Obamacare rolls out, Americans are learning it firsthand as cancellation letters arrive in the mail.  In fact, more people have lost their insurance (about 4.7 million) than have purchased new insurance plans through the exchanges (about 2.2 million). Promise broken.
    Of course, this dubious claim is just one of many going unfulfilled as Obamacare’s many regulations are implemented.
    I’ve warned Idahoans for years that Obamacare would lead to rationing and longer waiting times. Unfortunately, these predictions are coming true. In their latest “report card,” the American College of Emergency Physicians lowered the nation’s previous C- rating to a D+, indicating that access, quality and injury prevention and preparedness scores are declining as Obamacare adds more pressure on the system.  President Obama claimed Obamacare would increase access and quality, yet by every measure we continue going in the wrong direction.  Promise broken.

For most Americans, keeping their doctor is not an economic issue, but a personal one.

    Who can forget the now infamous claim, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?”  As people learn that they can no longer use their regular doctor, many can’t find one who accepts their new plan. For most Americans, keeping their doctor is not an economic issue, but a personal one. In fact, the mother of one of my own staffers was recently told she can no longer make appointments at her eye doctor of 42 years without first being referred by her primary care doctor. I am hearing similar stories from people all across Idaho. Promise broken.
    Obamacare’s defenders have asserted that those whose insurance is being cancelled can simply enroll in a different plan with the same insurer. What they don’t mention is this “seamless transition” is usually to a more expensive plan. Some estimate Obamacare will increase costs by almost $2,000 per family by 2016 and increase healthcare spending by $625 billion over the next decade. Remember when President Obama claimed his law would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year”?  Promise broken.
    Unfortunately, I fear it will only get worse. Target announced it is ending health insurance for its part-time employees because of Obamacare, joining Trader Joe’s, Home Depo, and other retailers that see the writing on the wall:  they can’t afford to offer Obamacare plans to their employees.  They’ve done the math, and it would cost less to pay $3,000 per employee—the fine for failing to comply with Obamacare’s mandates—than to offer plans under this flawed system.  According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Americans will lose roughly 2.5 million jobs when the law is fully implemented. Democrats sold Obamacare as an economic booster, not a job killer.  Promise broken.
    The administration made a number of promises it could never keep, and now that the facts are coming to light, support for Obamacare has plummeted—today only 35 percent of Americans support it. 
    We had a broken healthcare system before Obamacare. Regrettably, it’s more damaged now.  Obamacare was the wrong path to take, and I continue to support delaying, defunding, reforming, or repealing it, and offering solutions to replace the law with real reforms to improve the health system for all Americans.
    As the broken promises from the Obama administration pile up, I will continue working to return healthcare decisions back into the hands of families, patients, and doctors.

    Mike Simpson, a Republican, is the senior U.S. congressman from Idaho. He represents Idaho’s 2nd congressional district, which includes Blaine County.

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