“We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.”
Those were Nancy Pelosi’s words a year ago tomorrow about the president’s new health care law. Now, one year later, the American people know what’s in it and they still don’t like it.
Americans want the health care they need, from the doctor they want, at a price they can afford. The new law fails this test. It’s only taken a year to break almost every one of the president’s promises. Let’s take a look, month by month, at how those promises were broken.
In March of 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) evaluated the law to see how much it would cost. They told us that this law could only reduce the deficit if it did something about the long term insolvency of Medicare. Instead, the Democrats cut over $500 billion from Medicare to start a new entitlement – a decision that the CBO said would increase the deficit by $260 billion.
In April, we learned that the costs for those Medicare cuts go beyond dollars and cents. An analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that these cuts could drive up to 15% of hospitals out of business. For this administration, the shortage of hospitals apparently takes a back seat to the shortage of Washington bureaucrats.
In May, we learned that over 200,000 Americans with preexisting conditions and expensive health insurance would not be eligible to enroll in the new high risk pools created in the health care law. That is, unless they dropped their insurance and went without coverage for 6 months.
In June, after the administration sent over four million post cards to small businesses claiming that they would be eligible for a “tax credit,” the Associated Press blew the whistle. It turned out that the only businesses that were eligible for these “tax credits” employed fewer than 25 people. Moreover, the AP reported that the tax credit “drops off sharply” if a company employs more than 10 people at a salary of more than $25,000.
In July, the Obama administration’s own Justice Department confirmed the individual mandate penalty is a tax increase. When ABC News' George Stephanopoulos asked the President if the mandate penalty was a tax increase, he said “I absolutely reject that notion.” So why is his own Justice Department contradicting him?
In August, without so much as a hearing before Congress, the president made a recess appointment. He tapped Dr. Donald Berwick to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – a position that includes oversight of a budget larger than the Pentagon’s. Dr. Berwick believes the government must ration health care, and that the only issue is whether we “ration with our eyes open.” The president promised not to ration care. So why did he appoint someone who believes it’s inevitable?
In September, the administration released new rules estimating that 80 percent of small businesses would be forced to change the coverage they offer their employees. The president said over and over again that if you like the coverage you have today, then you can keep it. Now we know this was another empty promise.
In October, responding to complaints from unions and corporations, the Obama administration began handing out “waivers” that excuse individual groups from ObamaCare’s expensive mandates. These “waivers” went mostly to those politically connected to this administration. -- Most American families still have to bear the law’s expensive burdens. Clearly, for this administration, playing favorites is more important than achieving fairness.
In November, a majority of the American people voiced their opposition to this law and handed Republicans their biggest majorities in the House of Representatives since President Eisenhower. The American people know that they don’t want this law.
In December, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that it was unconstitutional to force Americans to buy a product. The Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU), one of the biggest unions in the country, also admitted that fulfilling the requirements of ObamaCare would be “financially impossible.” This is the same law they said the country needed.
In January 2011, the Medicare actuary called the administration’s claim that the health care law would bring down costs “false, more so than true.” Also, a federal judge in Florida struck down the entire law as unconstitutional.
In February, we learned that the IRS’ 2012 budget specifically mentions the health care law 250 times as a source of authority and funding for new powers. They called the health care law “the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years.” To begin implementing these changes will require thousands of new Washington bureaucrats.
Now we know what’s in the law. It’s clear that it is unsustainable, unaffordable and unconstitutional. It’s time to repeal and replace it.
Republican John Barrasso represents Wyoming in the U.S. Senate.