Saturday, June 27, 2015

[COMMENTARY] Obamacare wins one, America loses

The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday in King v. Burwell has temporarily saved the Affordable Care Act, but millions of Americans are still hurting under Obamacare. The high court’s six-justice majority agreed that the IRS can change the wording of the law to the administration’s liking. No one, however, can change that Obamacare is an expensive failure — unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable.
Obamacare enrollees are facing double-digit premium increases, the opposite of what they were promised. The president’s health-care law was supposed to “bend the cost curve” — and it has, in the wrong direction. Obamacare piled mandates on the insurance industry while drastically increasing uncertainty in the market. Early on, insurers were working with incomplete data when setting rates. They didn’t know how sick or expensive their millions of new enrollees would be. Now they have a better idea and are proposing enormous rate hikes — 30 percent or more in states such as in Maryland, Tennessee and New Mexico.
Commentary: Obamacare wins one, America loses photo
The president has two options: He can ignore these staggering numbers and let the Obamacare juggernaut roll forward. Or he can sit down with Republicans and find ways to offer relief to hardworking Americans.
President Obama should welcome a full airing of ideas. The health care law still lacks the support of most Americans. A June 8 poll by the Washington Post and ABC News put support for Obamacare at 39 percent and opposition at 54 percent. Is it any wonder? The bill was written behind closed doors, with no real discussion of opposing views, and passed on a party-line vote. The plan was far too complicated, with too many mandates and penalties. It was never designed to increase choice and lower prices. The subsidies to buy insurance served only to hide the true costs.
One of the main arguments the law’s defenders made in King v. Burwell was that if the subsidies at issue were struck down, another 6 million Americans would find health care too expensive. In other words, they cannot afford insurance without government help. That is a clear sign that the law has failed to rein in costs and should be replaced.
It’s time for the president to focus on addressing the real problems with this law. Republicans have good ideas about how to lower costs, improve access and help Americans lead healthier lives.

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