This commentary originally appeared in CNS News on January 24, 2017.
Desperately seeking ammunition to defend their disastrous health care reform act, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and other Democratic Party leaders commissioned the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to report on the effects of repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The CBO played the part of Chicken Little and obediently calculated that 32 million Americans would lose their health insurance coverage at the same time as premium costs would rise, all due to repeal.
How can the CBO calculate the effects of repeal and replace when the plans for repeal and replace have not yet been announced? They can’t.
Before the ACA was passed, the CBO said the cost would be $900 billion over ten years. After passage, the cost estimate was revised upward more than 100 percent to $2.1 trillion. Is this what they call reliable accounting procedure?
In 1965, the CBO said Medicare would cost us $12 billion over 25 years. It actually cost 892 percent more than predicted ($107 billion.)
In 2014, President Obama proudly announced he had “saved Medicare as we know it.” He based his claim on a CBO Report that counted the money in the Medicare Trust Fund as having the money that was used over 13 years for the so-called “DocFix.” It is amazing how good your checking account would look if you said you had $700 billion that you had actually spent.
Only magically thinking liberals trust CBO predictions.
We can use the evidence and logic to suggest what repeal of the ACA might do but without the Republicans’ plans in hand, we cannot do what the CBO claimed it did: calculate.
The ACA drove up the cost of insurance premiums—149 percent in one state. It is likely that repealing the ACA would allow costs to come down.
Insurance carriers UnitedHealth, Aetna, and Anthem lost over a billion dollars in 2015 due to the added costs of ObamaCare. They had to stop selling insurance. If Congress removes the ACA’s massive cost, many carriers will return to the market. We could then have carriers competing for our business instead of what we have now: government-created insurance monopolies in over 100 counties throughout the U.S.
The ACA slashed payments to Medicaid doctors. This made it harder for the newly insured, and everyone else for that matter, to find a physician. If the ACA were fully repealed, that would free up money to pay the doctors. We would then have more providers to care for us.
The ACA is scheduled to cost at least $2.1 trillion by 2020. While repeal will not recoup the hundreds of billions already lost, at least we can stop the ongoing hemorrhage.
How can people say that repealing ObamaCare will kill jobs and raise the national debt, when enacting ObamaCare killed jobsand raised the debt? The same way the CBO can “calculate” 32 million losing insurance: with no data.
Gains By Repeal of ACA
Repeal of ObamaCare will produce both economic and access gains but only if it is repealed in full, eliminating both spending and the regulatory burden. These gains never make it to the front page.
Start with jobs. ObamaCare will reduce aggregate labor compensation by one percent per year starting in 2017. This reduces the labor supply, i.e., jobs, especially for low-income workers. Repeal of the ACA would stop such job loss, estimated at more than 2 million jobs, and hopefully let people keep jobs they will lose if the ACA remains in place.
Many employers had to convert fulltime employees to part-timewith the employee losing both pay and benefits. How much of these jobs can be recouped depends on what Congress does.
ACA’s employer mandate is effectively a tax on employers of more than $10,000 a year per worker for family coverage. If Congress repeals that mandate, employers will suddenly have $10,000 per worker they can give to you as salary or use to hire new workers. This is what we want: private sector job creation.
Repeal of the ACA will stop the diversion of care dollars to pay for bureaucracy and free up billions. If—this is a very big “if”—Washington uses those now uncommitted dollars to pay providers, then all Americans will have greater access to care. However, if the politicians find some pet projects to spend that money on, well, that’s Washington.
Chicken Little: Playing Various Roles
The media commonly calls the CBO “nonpartisan federal agency” when it is in fact a character actor.
When it serves the best interests of the party in power, the CBO can play the part of Chicken Little. When commendations are called for, the CBO can be Pollyanna. The CBO supported President Obama’s promise that each American family would save $2,500 a year with his namesake legislation, even though they knew (or should have known) this would not happen.
The “sky” that Chicken Little said was falling was an acorn. Maybe the 32 million who supposedly will lose their health insurance are in fact 100 million who gain health care!