by Dan Mitchell
Like many Americans, I’m suffering from Obamacare fatigue.
Before the law was implemented, I repeatedly explained that more spending and more intervention in the health sector would worsen a system that already was suffering from too much government.
So I’m tempted to wash my hands of the issue.
But that would be wrong, particularly since advocates of statism disingenuously might claim that silence somehow means acceptance or approval.
Moreover, we need to continuously remind ourselves that big government doesn’t work just in case there’s a chance to enact good reforms after Obama leaves office.
With that in mind, let’s look at recent developments that underscore the case against government-run healthcare.
How about the fact that Obamacare is extremely vulnerable to fraud?
…the GAO report showed that federal auditors 11 out of 12 times were able to gain subsidized coverage with fictitious applications, three of the successful applications never provided citizenship or immigration documentation. The investigators in each case were able to obtain $2,500 or around $30,000 annually in advance premium tax credits.
And what about the fact that the Obamacare co-ops have been a big flop?
Nonprofit co-ops, the health care law’s public-spirited alternative to mega-insurers, are awash in red ink and many have fallen short of sign-up goals, a government audit has found. Under President Barack Obama’s overhaul, taxpayers provided $2.4 billion in loans to get the co-ops going, but only one out of 23 — the one in Maine — made money last year, said the report out Thursday. Another one…was shut down by regulators over financial concerns. The audit by the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office also found that 13 of the 23 lagged far behind their 2014 enrollment projections.
Or what about the fact that deductibles have increased under Obamacare?
A survey released earlier this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that..deductibles have risen almost three times as fast since 2010 for employer-sponsored plans.
And should we care that Obamacare has meant rising health care costs?
…the actuaries estimated that health spending that year jumped by 5.5 percent, a bigger rise than the country had experienced in five years. …The actuaries cited three main reasons they think health spending is set to tick up. One is the aging of the population… Another is the improving economy… But the third, and a big one, was Obamacare’s coverage expansion.
All of the aforementioned things are contrary to what Obamacare supporters promised.
Though since I focus on policy rather than politics, I’ll take this opportunity to point out that higher deductibles in some ways are a good thing. Which is why I’ve defended Obamacare’s Cadillac tax.
But now let’s look at two additional Obamacare developments. And both represent very bad news.
…the average financial burden will increase for all income levels once insured. Subsidy-eligible persons with incomes below 250 percent of the poverty threshold likely experience welfare improvements that offset the higher financial burden, depending on assumptions about risk aversion and the value of additional consumption of medical care. However, even under the most optimistic assumptions, close to half of the formerly uninsured (especially those with higher incomes) experience both higher financial burden and lower estimated welfare.
In other words, people generally were making sensible choices when they had some degree of freedom.
Second, we now know that President Obama’s promise to lower health insurance premiums by $2,500 was laughably misleading.
But it’s not simply that the President exaggerated. As Investor’s Business Daily explains, the numbers actually have gone in the other direction
Since 2008, average family premiums have climbed a total of $4,865. The White House cheered the news, saying it was a sign of continued slow growth in premium costs. …Slightly less higher premiums aren’t what President Obama promised Americans when he ran for office touting his medical overhaul. He specifically said his plan would cut premiums. “We will start,” Obama said back in 2008, “by reducing premiums by as much as $2,500 per family.”
And keep in mind that Obama’s claim of big savings was not a one-time, off-the-cuff comment.
As you can see in this video, it was a pervasive part of his campaign for further government control of the health care system.
But the real story isn’t prevarication by a politician. That comes with the territory.
And keep in mind that fixing the problem means a lot more than simply repealing Obamacare. We also need to deal with spending programs such as Medicareand Medicaid and address tax preferences and regulations that encourage over-insurance.
After all, never forget that our real healthcare crisis is a giant government-caused third-party payer problem.