Promise Made, Promise Broken:
The First Three Months of Health Care "Reform"
Three months after President Obama signed Democrats’ government takeover of health care into law, evidence keeps mounting that his rhetoric surrounding health “reform” does not match the new reality. The American people face higher taxes, higher health costs, and dropped coverage as a result of the law:
Promise Made: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits—either now or in the future.”
— President Obama, speech to a joint session of Congress, September 9, 2009[i]
Promise Broken: In May, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis of the health care law that found that it will increase federal discretionary spending by at least $115 billion—costs not taken into account by Democrats before they passed the health bill into law.[ii] Without cuts to some other part of the federal budget, these spending increases will necessarily add to deficits. Several weeks later, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf concluded that fiscal sustainability could be achieved only by cutting elements of the health care law just enacted: “Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path would almost certainly require a significant reduction in the growth of federal health spending relative to current law (including this year’s health legislation).”[iii]
Promise Made: “If any bill arrives from Congress that is not controlling costs, that’s not a bill I can support. It’s going to have to control costs.”
— President Obama, June 23, 2009[iv]
Promise Broken: In April, the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report concluding that the federal government and the country will spend $310 billion more under the new law than we would have without it.[v] The actuary found that most provisions in the law intended to control future health care costs will have “a negligible financial impact.”[vi]
Promise Made: “What I’m saying is, the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.”
— President Obama, June 23, 2009[vii]
Promise Broken: The bad news for Americans who like their current coverage has been pouring in. For those with employer coverage, the Administration released a rule estimating that 51 percent of all employees, and 66 percent of workers in small businesses, would lose their current plan by 2013—less than three years from now.[viii] For those currently purchasing their own coverage, new regulations could result in “several million enrollees who have to shop and apply for coverage elsewhere.”[ix] For retirees with coverage from their former employers, one study found that the new law’s elimination of a tax subsidy could result in as many as two million retirees losing their drug coverage.[x] And for the millions of seniors in Medicare Advantage (MA), the CMS Actuary projected that “enrollment in MA plans will be lower by about 50 percent.”[xi] Just this week, one insurance carrier announced it would stop offering its national MA plan effective next year, leaving 92,000 seniors without their current coverage[xii]—the first of many similar announcements harming seniors in MA plans over future years.
Promise Made: “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”
— Barack Obama, Rally in Dover, NH, September 12, 2008[xiii]
Promise Broken: In April, the CBO found that at least three million of the 3.9 million people expected to pay tax penalties under the individual mandate will be families making less than $250,000.[xiv] The mandate is just one of 12 separate tax increases on the middle-class as a result of the health care law.[xv]
Promise Made: “For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase.”
— President Obama, September 20, 2009[xvi]
Promise Broken: In an attempt to head off a court challenge to its constitutionally dubious mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance, the Obama Administration recently filed a brief justifying the mandate on the grounds that it is in fact a tax increase.[xvii] The brief also notes that the mandate “will raise substantial revenue”—meaning that the Administration concedes this tax increase is a large one.[xviii]
Promise Made: “The plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over ten years.”
— President Obama, speech to a joint session of Congress, September 9, 2009[xix]
Promise Broken: The CBO found that the legislation spends $938 billion on health insurance subsidies alone, and another $93.9 billion in other mandatory federal spending—more than $1 trillion total, not even counting new discretionary spending.[xx] And the CMS actuary also considered some of the Medicare savings provisions “unsustainable,” meaning that spending may rise even higher if Congress is forced to override some of the law’s unrealistic spending cuts.
Promise Made: “I think the health care debate as it unfolded legitimately raised concerns not just among my opponents, but also amongst supporters that we just don't know what's going on. And it's an ugly process and it looks like there are a bunch of back room deals.”
— President Obama, ABC television interview, January 25, 2010[xxi]
Promise Broken: Under new insurance rules promulgated by the Administration this month, small businesses cannot change their insurance carrier without becoming subject to the health law’s myriad new regulations—but union plans face no such prohibition.[xxii] Just as with the notorious backroom deals previously negotiated behind closed doors,[xxiii] this latest sweetheart deal for unions was not subjected to public scrutiny before being announced.
These new revelations about the health care law’s ill effects—and the way in which ordinary families will be harmed by the legislation—will only add to the dissatisfaction with the unpopular health care law. Millions of Americans are asking: If President Obama and Democrats had to break so many promises to enact this legislation, how good can this government takeover of health care be?
This document courtesy of the Republican Policy Committee.