Monday, August 27, 2012

Fixing Obamacare’s Broken Promises
Hell’s broken loose.
John Milton (1608-1674), Paradise Lost

August 27, 2012 -  These days you often see the word “broken.”
The U.S. health system is said to be “broken.”
In the movie Hope Springs,  a marriage is said to be “broken.” The marriage is compared to a deviated septum. The marriage counselor  says the only means of fixing the nose  is to break it and start all over.
And,  of course,  the promises of Obamacare are said to be “broken.” In the August 26 National Review Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute gives “An Overview of Obamacare’s Broken Promises.” It needs to be said that promises were not necessarily broken because of flawed policies,  but because of circumstances beyond anyone's control.
A few of these broken promises include:

·         Health insurance: “If you like your health insurance, you will be able to keep your health insurance” — when at least 20 million people are likely to lose their job-based health insurance, according to the CBO, and as many as 80 million people could be forced to switch plans to comply with Obamacare, according to McKinsey.

·         The deficit: “We will not add one dime to the deficit.” If the president wants to use the Medicare-savings provisions to extend the life of the Medicare trust fund and not to fund the new entitlements created by the law CBO estimates the fiscal impact would be “a net increase in federal deficits of $260 billion” through 2019.

·         Health-care costs: Mr. Obama promised during the 2008 campaign that, under his health reform plan, health-insurance premiums would go down by $2,500 a year for every family by the end of his first term. But they actually have gone up by nearly as much — from $12,680 in 2008 to $15,073 in 2011.  During the past four years, the average family has spent a total of $12,230 more on private health insurance, while the average individual has spent $4,163 more.

But how do you fix the health law’s broken promises?

Hint: It won’t be easy even if Mitt Romney is elected and repeals Obamacare as promised.

In “Romney’s First 100 Days, ” in David Leonhardt, the Washington Bureau Chief  of the New York Times, speculates Romney  may use the Reconciliation process, under which filibusters are prohibited and only a simple majority of 51 Senate votes, rather than 60, is needed.  Republicans could not repeal all of the health law with reconciliation, but they could undo most of the insurance expansion which relies on government subsidies for the uninsured.  And they could, perhaps, restore much of that $716 billion taken from the Medicare fund to finance Obamacare.   They could  shrink Medicaid.  Ryan’s budget envisions 75% less Medicaid spending.  Federal spending now makes up 22% of the American economy, compared to 3% a century ago.  The choice will be to continue expanding spending on Medicare and Medicaid, which make up the bulk of government spending,  Or, says Leonhardt, “as a Romney administration would, it can take a more laissez-faire path than any  wealthy country has previously tried.”

Tweet:  Obama has broken his promises to being able to keep your doctor, on not adding a dime to the deficit, and on cutting  premiums by $2500.



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