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Seasons May Change, But the Broken Promises of the Democrats’ Health Care Law Remain the Same

October 02, 2012

As seasons change and summer turns to fall, the health care landscape is changing, too.  Some changes may be more welcome than others, like open enrollment in private Medicare plans.  Conversely, new provisions of the Democrats’ health care law taking effect this month might leave some wondering whether the law will yield the same broken promises as the past.  Consider just five of the law’s most often repeated broken promises.

Promise: Health Care Costs Will Go Down

“In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”
(Then-Senator Barack Obama at a health care Town Hall in Bristol, Virginia, June 5, 2008)

Reality: Costs Have Gone Up

  • According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “The average [2012] premium for single coverage is 3% higher and the average premium for family coverage is 4% higher” than in 2011.
  • The 2012 premium increases are on top of 2011 premium increases.  A Kaiser Family Foundation report found that health care premiums in the workplace increased 9 percent, or over $1,200, for an average American family in the year following enactment of the Democrats’ health care law.

Promise: You Can Keep the Health Plan You Have and Like

“Here are the details that every American needs to know about this plan…nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. (Applause.) Let me repeat this: Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”
(President Obama before a Joint Session of Congress, September 9, 2009.)

Reality: Many Are Losing the Plan They Had and Liked

  • Based on two separate analyses provided by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Deloitte, as many as 20 million to 65 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored health insurance as a result of the Democrats’ health care law.
  • A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis finds that, “The share of workers in a grandfathered health plan decreased significantly from the previous year to 48% of covered workers.”  This means that because of ObamaCare’s mandates, more than half of workers and their families with health insurance have lost the plan they had prior to the Democrats’ heath care law.
  • The Obama Administration’s own analysis predicts that as many as two-in-three health plans offered to American workers, including nearly eight-in-ten health plans offered to employees of small businesses, will lose “grandfathered” status.

Promise: The Health Care Law Will Create Jobs

“It’s about jobs.  In its life, it [the health care law] will create 4 million jobs – 400,000 jobs almost immediately.”
(Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at Health Summit, February 25, 2010)

Reality: The Health Care Law Threatens Job Creation

  • According to CBO, the amount of workers in the labor force will be reduced by 800,000 in 2021 as a result of the Democrats’ health care law.
  • A single provision in the law, the medical device tax that is set to take effect in 2013, has already led to job loss.  Manufacturers are reacting to this 2.3 percent excise tax on all U.S. sales of medical device products by laying off current employees or by eliminating or cancelling planned employment expansions.

Promise: Tax Credits Will Lower Costs and Increase Coverage for Small Business

 “…new tax credits in the law are saving hundreds of thousands of small companies thousands of dollars each on their insurance costs.”
(Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a Washington Post op-ed on July 9, 2012)

Reality: Small Business Premiums Continue to Increase and No Additional Firms Offer Insurance

  • A recent New York Times piece detailed the complexity of the credit citing a General Accountability Office (GAO) report finding that only 170,000 small businesses claimed the credit in 2010.  The article notes that, “Of these, only a small fraction, 17 percent, were able to claim the whole credit.”  This is a fraction of the 4 million businesses the Obama Administration claimed would take advantage of the tax credit.
  • According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of firms with fewer than 25 employees offering health benefits to their workers has been relatively unchanged and hovers at just over 50 percent – and the number actually decreased between 2010 and 2012.

Promise: Medicare Benefits Will Be Safe and Secure

“And I’ve proposed reforms that will save Medicare money by getting rid of wasteful spending in the health care system and reining in insurance companies – reforms that won’t touch your guaranteed Medicare benefits.  Not by a single dime.”
(President Obama in a Weekly Address on Preserving and Strengthening Medicare, August 25, 2012)

Reality: Medicare Costs Are Rising and Access Is Being Jeopardized

  • According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Democrats’ health care law will gut the Medicare program by more than $750 billion from 2013-2022.
  • Of these cuts, $308 billion will be from the Medicare Advantage (MA) program, which the Medicare Trustees predict will cut enrollment in MA in half by 2017.
  • For the seniors that remain enrolled in MA, they will see their average benefit cut by $816 in 2019 alone relative to what they would have otherwise received.
  • The vast majority of seniors – nearly 90 percent – will see no benefit from changes to the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” included in the Democrats’ health care law, and many could end up paying more for their prescription drug coverage.
  • Approximately 9 in 10 seniors with retiree benefits will lose their retiree prescription drug coverage through their employer under the Democrats’ health care law.