Obamacare is now the law of the land.
And thanks to the Supreme Court, President Obama's centerpiece legislation now amounts to the largest tax increase in history on the middle class.
While Republicans are right to bemoan this fact, the tragedy of Obamacare goes far beyond massive tax hikes. The real failure of this legislation is that it will do nothing to fix the ailing health care system it was designed to save.
The President promised Americans that his plan would decrease premiums by double digits. But his estimates have been proven to be exaggerated and incorrect.
Two years into Obamacare, premiums continue to rise and are likely to keep increasing thanks to the court's recent decision.
"Many of these regulations are going to increase the cost of premiums. Six in 10 Americans have already seen a hike in their premiums since the law was passed," stated Tevi Troy, former deputy secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. "I think this is bad news for consumers overall. They're going to be suffering the brunt of this."
The Congressional Budget office confirms Mr. Troy's sentiments. The nonpartisan agency has said that annual premiums for individual plans in 2016 would be $5,800 compared to the $5,500 an individual would pay without reform. And a 2011 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the average annual premium for family coverage increased 9 percent in the first year under Obamacare.
Many families and small businesses have already been warned higher health payments are on the way.
Small business woman Victoria Asness just received notice that her insurance company was seeking to increase premiums by 20 percent.
The popular Herbfarm Restaurant located north of Seattle, has also gotten notice from their insurer demanding a 30 percent increase on all of their employee health care plans. Even though the restaurant employs 25 people and technically qualifies for the small business tax credit under health reform, the IRS has required them to calculate their earnings in a way which disqualifies them from receiving the benefit.
In addition to increased premiums, Obamacare also adds 17 additional taxes to help finance expansion of the Medicaid program and subsidies to purchase health insurance. The total cost of Obamacare taxes reaches well over $500 billion dollars in the next decade. Add to this the court's decision to classify the individual mandate as a tax and the tab increases for the American taxpayer.
Despite all this added revenue, the Affordable Care Act does not make health care more affordable. In fact, costs appear to be rising at a faster pace under Obamacare. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has said the law will add $478 billion to health care costs over the next decade, increasing average spending by one-10th of a percent faster than if the law had never existed.
Thursday's health care ruling was a major victory for President Obama, but it was a huge defeat for Americans. Consumers are now saddled with higher premiums and higher taxes to fund a dysfunctional government program that does nothing to make the health care system more effective and efficient.
Alexis Garcia is a political producer and correspondent for PJTV.com. She also worked as a communications aide for the Giuliani and McCain-Palin 2008 presidential campaigns.