Top 10 Reasons ObamaCare is Unraveling

Many embattled House Democrats who voted to pass ObamaCare just seven months ago no doubt wish they had listened to the American people rather than to their leadership and said “No!” to the massive health overhaul law.
If a Democrat boasts about voting Yes, it is such a rarity that it makes news. In all but a very few races, support for the law is a huge liability on the campaign trail.

Nervous Democrats are defensively asking voters to give them another chance so they can fix it and get it right this time. It would be something of an understatement to say that most voters are disinclined to do that.

There will be huge political consequences for slamming such a massive change into law – one that will directly affect virtually every American and every corner of the health sector.

Here are the top 10 reasons the health law is unraveling:

  1. State pushback: State opposition is building and will become more intense next year. About 10 states, led by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, are talking about forming a unified front to oppose the law’s mandates. And up to 25 new governors will be elected on Nov. 2, most facing huge budget pressures and most with no intention of falling into line to implement a law many actively campaigned against.
  2. Voter rejection: Three states — Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado — have ballot initiatives before the voters in November, all repudiating the health law. Passage will give even more impetus to proponents of repeal, following the 71% vote against the law in Missouri in August.

  3. Lawsuits: There are at least 15 lawsuits against the law, and the two largest moved forward in the last week. Two federal judges have said that there is enough substance to the constitutional questions to allow the challenges to proceed. Arguments were heard in Virginia on Monday and are scheduled for December in Florida. The suits are marching toward the U.S. Supreme Court, likely in 2012-2013.

    Backers of the health law are concerned that if the individual mandate is declared unconstitutional, the court will strip out everything that wouldn’t have passed without the mandate. That would surely include insurance “reforms” but possibly hundreds of billions of dollars in insurance subsidies.

  4. Rising costs: Health insurance costs already are rising as a result of the law, and the pressures will intensify. Boeing is the latest company to tell its 90,000 employees that it plans to increase the price of employee health insurance for its non-union workforce over the next few years in response to rapidly rising insurance costs, at least partly because of the health law.
  5. Towering deficits: Gov. Philip Bredesen, Democrat of Tennessee, warned in a Wall Street Journal commentary Thursday that the health overhaul law creates strong incentives for employers to drop health coverage. This would dramatically increase the cost for taxpayers, as former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Holtz-Eakin of American Action Forum has explained. Congress may find it is essential to ask the CBO to recalculate the actual cost of the health overhaul law to protect taxpayers from an even larger wave of red ink.
  6. Seniors hit hard: Medicare Actuary Rick Foster confirmed that the health overhaul law will result in “less generous benefits packages” for seniors on the popular Medicare Advantage program and that the coverage will cost them more. Foster estimates seniors’ costs will go up by $346 in 2011 and as much as $923 by 2017.
  7. Millions losing coverage: The Principal Group announced it plans to drop health coverage for 840,000 policyholders; millions of seniors will lose Medicare Advantage plans; child-only policies already are vanishing from the market because of HHS rules; retirees are losing supplemental coverage; and major employers such as AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere, Verizon, and countless others are considering dropping health benefits over the mid- to long-term.
  8. Job-killing mandates: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that nearly eight in 10 small business leaders expect their costs to increase as a result of the new law. Many are fearful of the impact of new health insurance mandates, and the majority say they will be less likely to hire new employees and more likely to reduce current benefits.
  9. Searching for the exits: The McDonald’s waiver shows that companies have to be protected against the law to avoid its damage; dozens more waivers have been granted so a million people didn’t lose their mini-med coverage just before the election. The Wall Street Journal asked, “Wouldn’t it be better to write less destructive rules in the first place? Or why not give everyone a waiver from everything?”
  10. Reduced quality, higher costs: A Wall Street Journal poll last week found that a majority of voters believe the new law will cause them to get lower quality care, pay more in insurance premiums or taxes, or both. A plurality favors repeal, and those who know most about the law favor repeal by more than two to one.

If Republicans capture the House on November 2, expect dozens of hearings to point out the many problems we already are seeing with the law — from driving up costs, to causing millions of people to “lose the coverage they have today,” to massive new deficit spending on new entitlement programs, to budget-busting Medicaid mandates.

As Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said at a briefing about the overhaul law, “This cannot stand!”

Published on ObamaCare Watch, Oct. 22, 2010.

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You have to wonder whether embattled House Democrats who voted to pass ObamaCare just seven months ago would have stood up to their leadership and said “No!” if they had known what an albatross the law would become on the campaign trail.

If a Democrat boasts about voting for the health overhaul law, it is such a rarity that it makes news. In all but a very few races, support for the law is a huge liability. Nervous Democrats who do talk about it are asking voters to give them another chance so they can fix it and get it right this time. It would be something of an understatement to say that most voters are disinclined to do that.

You just can’t slam such a massive change into law — one that will directly affect virtually every American and every corner of the health sector — without political consequences.

Here are the top 10 reasons the health law is unraveling:

  1. State pushback: State opposition is building and will become more intense next year. About 10 states, led by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, are talking about forming a unified front to oppose the law’s mandates. And up to 25 new governors will be elected on Nov. 2, most facing huge budget pressures and most with no intention of falling into line to implement a law many actively campaigned against.

  2. Voter rejection: Three states — Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado — have ballot initiatives before the voters in November, all repudiating the health law. Passage will give even more impetus to proponents of repeal, following the 71% vote against the law in Missouri in August.

  3. Lawsuits: There are at least 15 lawsuits against the law, and the two largest moved forward in the last week. Two federal judges have said that there is enough substance to the constitutional questions to allow the challenges to proceed. Arguments were heard in Virginia on Monday and are scheduled for December in Florida. The suits are marching toward the U.S. Supreme Court, likely in 2012-2013.

    Backers of the health law are concerned that if the individual mandate is declared unconstitutional, the court will strip out everything that wouldn’t have passed without the mandate. That would surely include insurance “reforms” but possibly hundreds of billions of dollars in insurance subsidies.

  4. Rising costs: Health insurance costs already are rising as a result of the law, and the pressures will intensify. Boeing is the latest company to tell its 90,000 employees that it plans to increase the price of employee health insurance for its non-union workforce over the next few years in response to rapidly rising insurance costs, at least partly because of the health law.

  5. Towering deficits: Gov. Philip Bredesen, Democrat of Tennessee, warned in a Wall Street Journal commentary yesterday that the health overhaul law creates strong incentives for employers to drop health coverage. This would dramatically increase the cost for taxpayers, as former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Holtz-Eakin of American Action Forum has explained. Congress may find it is essential to ask the CBO to recalculate the actual cost of the health overhaul law to protect taxpayers from an even larger wave of red ink.

  6. Seniors hit hard: Medicare Actuary Rick Foster confirmed that the health overhaul law will result in “less generous benefits packages” for seniors on the popular Medicare Advantage program and that the coverage will cost them more. Foster estimates seniors’ costs will go up by $346 in 2011 and as much as $923 by 2017.

  7. Millions losing coverage: The Principal Group announced it plans to drop health coverage for 840,000 policyholders; millions of seniors will lose Medicare Advantage plans; child-only policies already are vanishing from the market because of HHS rules; retirees are losing supplemental coverage; and major employers such as AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere, Verizon, and countless others are considering dropping health benefits over the mid- to long-term.

  8. Job-killing mandates: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that nearly eight in 10 small business leaders expect their costs to increase as a result of the new law. Many are fearful of the impact of new health insurance mandates, and the majority say they will be less likely to hire new employees and more likely to reduce current benefits.

  9. Searching for the exits: The McDonald’s waiver shows that companies have to be protected against the law to avoid its damage; dozens more waivers have been granted so a million people didn’t lose their mini-med coverage just before the election. The Wall Street Journal asked, “Wouldn’t it be better to write less destructive rules in the first place? Or why not give everyone a waiver from everything?”

  10. Reduced quality, higher costs: A Wall Street Journal poll last week found that a majority of voters believe the new law will cause them to get lower quality care, pay more in insurance premiums or taxes, or both. A plurality favors repeal, and those who know most about the law favor repeal by more than two to one.

If Republicans capture the House on November 2, expect dozens of hearings to point out the many problems we already are seeing with the law — from driving up costs, to causing millions of people to “lose the coverage they have today,” to massive new deficit spending on new entitlement programs, to budget-busting Medicaid mandates.

As Rep. Paul Ryan said, “This cannot stand!”

***

Sinking Regulatory Roots: In just a few short months, we see the deep roots of bureaucratic control sinking into our health sector as the debate switches to the mind-numbing complexity of writing regulations.

Maybe they think we just won’t notice the government takeover of our health sector if they can bore us to death.

At issue: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners meeting in Orlando to finalize its recommendations on how to calculate the “medical loss ratio” for health insurance.

Hundreds of lobbyists were on hand to try to influence the shape of regulations that ultimately could determine whether health insurers, brokers, and others in the health sector can survive and whether millions of people will even have access to private health insurance after all is said and done.

America’s Health Insurance Plans President Karen Ignagni blasted the NAIC vote, saying the rules would “reduce competition, disrupt coverage and threaten patients’ access” to consumer services.

Companies inside and outside the health sector are deeply concerned about the regulatory process that is just beginning to unfold, with many fearing that the rules threaten their business model.

And what’s worse, this rule-making is happening in meetings that are closed to the media and the public.

What kind of democracy and what kind of transparency is that?! It is an ominous beginning for implementation of a law that will reach into every corner of the health sector — and our lives.

This will not stand.

CLIP OF THE WEEK

Medicaid and ObamaCare: The impact of the overhaul law on the states

In this video, Grace-Marie Turner introduces the October 7 briefing on “Medicaid and ObamaCare: The impact of the overhaul law on the states.” In the following three videos, Christie Herrera of the American Legislative Exchange Council, Marc Kilmer of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, and John R. Graham of the Pacific Research Institute give insights on Medicaid’s expansion and its impact on the states.
Watch now >>

 

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GALEN IN THE NEWS

ObamaCare Requires Urgent Dismantling

Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute
Letter to the Editor of The Wall Street Journal, 10/20/10

Scott Gottlieb and Tom Miller are correct to recommend options for the states to resist the health-care overhaul law in “How to Reform ObamaCare Starting Now,” writes Turner in a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal. But Congress still must do heavy lifting to put the brakes on the tidal wave of federal taxes, spending and new authorities which the law mandates, starting now. For starters, Congress must find Democrats, including many newly elected by opposing ObamaCare, to build a bipartisan coalition to begin to defund, dismantle and delay regulations; do direct oversight and, as Messrs. Miller and Gottlieb write, delegate more authority to the states to take back control.
Read More »

HEALTH REFORM

Judge to Rule on Virginia’s Health-Care Lawsuit This Year
Rosalind S. Helderman, The Washington Post, 10/19/10

There’s No Avoiding ‘Repeal and Replace’
Jim Capretta, National Review Online: Critical Condition, 10/20/10

ObamaCare’s Incentive to Drop Insurance
Gov. Philip Bredesen, The Wall Street Journal, 10/21/10

Health Reform and the American Creed
Dr. Richard Reece, MedInnovation, 10/06/10

The $6-an-Hour Health Minimum Wage
John Goodman, National Center for Policy Analysis, 10/18/10

Private Company CEOs Size Up Healthcare Reform
PwC Trendsetter Barometer, 10/14/10

Last Insurer to Offer ‘Child-Only’ Plan Drops It
Christopher Snowbeck, Pioneer Press, 10/15/10

Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara Shares Personal Tragedy in Fight Against Obama Care
PR Newswire, 10/19/10

Health Care Plans, Waivers, Choice?
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, RealClearMarkets, 10/14/10

When Obama Appears on ‘Health Care Mythbusters’
Merrill Matthews, Forbes: Right Directions, 10/20/10

CONSUMER CHOICE MATTERS NEWS®

Cigna Choice Fund Experience Study: Summary of Key Findings
Cigna, 10/10

Can Consumer-Driven Health Plans Reduce Costs and Help with Health Reform Compliance: A Case Study
Mercer, 10/10

INTERNATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEMS

Calgary Tests Waters with Private Health Care
Kristen Gerencher, MarketWatch, 10/20/10

Canada’s Drug Price Paradox, 2010
Brett J. Skinner and Mark Rovere, Fraser Institute, 10/10

Events

Can Medicare Save Itself?
American Enterprise Institute Event
Friday, October 22, 2010
9:15am – 11:30am
Washington, DC

Designing a Marketplace that Works: Steps to Affordable Coverage
Alliance for Health Reform Briefing
Friday, October 22, 2010
12:15pm – 2:00pm
Washington, DC

Health Care Reform: What Are the Big Changes for Small Businesses?
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
10:00am – 12:00pm
Edison, NJ
Grace-Marie Turner will discuss how the health overhaul law will affect small businesses.

The Competition Prescription for Better Hospital-Care Quality
American Enterprise Institute Event
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
9:15am – 11:00am
Washington, DC

How Quality-Focused Payment Changes under Health Reform will Affect Hospitals
Philips Webinar
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
1:30pm – 2:45pm ET

New Applications for Existing Technologies to Improve Maternal Health
Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative Event and Webinar
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
3:00pm – 5:00pm
Washington, DC

Health Reform After the 2010 Election: Assessing the Viability of Health Insurance in the Aftermath of the Mid-Term Elections
Amplify Public Affairs Event
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
8:30am – 11:30am
Washington, DC

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