Oct 6, 2012
Note: This article originally appeared in the Austin American-Statesman on October 6, 2012.
More confirmation that the American people are right: Obamacare is not the solution for the health care reform we need. The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation recently released their revised projection that now 6 million people will be paying the Obamacare tax in 2016 - a 50 percent increase over their last estimate.
"After accounting for those who will not be subject to the penalty tax, CBO and JCT now estimate that about 6 million people will pay a penalty because they are uninsured in 2016 … and collections are now expected to be about $3 billion more per year."
Digging a little further into their report, we find "that about 30 million nonelderly residents will be uninsured in 2016." Going back to 2010 when Obamacare was passed, there were just fewer than 50 million people uninsured in the country.
So, for just a mere investment of over $1,160,000,000,000 (that's $1.16 trillion, in case there were too many zeros to count), the United States government will: reduce the number of uninsured in the country by (only) 40 percent; take $716 billion out of Medicare to help pay for it; force citizens to purchase an insurance product designed in Washington, D.C., and not of their choosing; require 80 million man hours in compliance; and turn over our health care to legions of new bureaucrats including 4,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents to collect the tax.
Whom will the tax hit? According to the Tax Foundation, 70 percent will have incomes over 200 percent of the federal poverty level, otherwise known as the middle class.
One reason for the adjustment is the continuing poor performance of the economic recovery. More people will be unemployed and thus more uninsured.
But again, Obamacare is on the problem side of the equation and not the solution side. Cited by both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business as a major factor causing businesses not to invest, this new health care law is hindering economic recovery.
The shame of Obamacare is not only the law's negative impact on the current economy but also the opportunity squandered for free market reforms that can truly lower the cost of health care (and therefore health insurance), provide better care to more people, and return health care decisions to the individual. These are goals that can and should be achieved.