Workers and Families Left Holding the Bag as Democrats Break Healthcare Promises

March 11, 2011

Democrats Continue to Claim ObamaCare Is Reducing Costs and Premiums as Americans are Paying More


House Democrats yesterday held a press conference in anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the passage of their job-destroying healthcare law where Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, among other statements, touted ObamaCare’s role in lowering healthcare costs:


PELOSI: “We would still have to do this legislation because we simply were on an unsustainable course of cost, cost for individuals and their families, cost to businesses to provide health insurance for their workers, costs to the economy in terms of our competitiveness, internationally, other countries.  Businesses in other countries don’t have to deal with health care costs.  But our companies do and that is a competitive issue and cost to the national budget.

“So personally, economically, fiscally in terms of our budget, we could not sustain the course that we were on.  Every piece of this comprehensive bill is essential to reducing costs, improving quality, and expanding access.“(“Transcript of Press Conference on Patients’ Rights Ahead of Affordable Care Act Anniversary,”Office of the Democratic Leader, 3/10/2011)


But one year later, the evidence shows that ObamaCare raises costs for businesses and families, undercutting one of Democrats’ central justifications for the law. The National Business Group on Health released its annual employer survey Thursday, reporting that the healthcare costs and premiums continue to increase, while several businesses plan to drop coverage for their employees:


“COSTS CONTINUE TO OUTPACE INFLATION,” WITH 7 PERCENT INCREASE IN JUST ONE YEAR: “[T]otal health care costs continue to climb to unprecedented levels, reaching an anticipated $$11,176 per active employee in 2011—up from $10,387 in 2010 (Figure 6, page 5)—a 7.6% increase in gross costs over this period.” (“16th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care,” Towers Watson, March 2011)

“The economic slowdown and the likely increase in costs due to health care reform have led many employers to use various incentives to promote greater individual responsibility… Over the last year, employers put more emphasis on increasing premium contributions (Figure 23). Nearly two-thirds of companies have increased the share employees and their dependents pay in premium contributions (versus 2010).” (“16th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care,” Towers Watson, March 2011)


81 PERCENT OF EMPLOYERS REPORT INCREASED ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN: “[M]ore than 80% of companies indicate that health care reform has increased the administrative burden on their HR departments.” (“16th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care,” Towers Watson, March 2011)


PLANS TO DROP COVERAGE: “More than one-quarter of companies plan to discontinue retiree medical sponsorship in 2012 for at least one segment of current and/or future retirees (Figure 22).” (“16th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care,” Towers Watson, March 2011)


A report out Thursday from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reaffirmed these findings, projecting that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending will continue their steady rate of increase in the federal budget, “driven largely by rapid growth in health care costs”:


“CBO projects that spending for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care programs will grow from 9.9 percent of GDP in 2010 to 12.0 percent by 2021, driven largely by rapid growth in health care costs.” (“Reducing the Deficit; Spending and Revenue Options,” Congressional Budget Office, March 2011)


Democrats have been responding to this sobering reality with deceptive accounting to try to spin their way out of the mess created by their healthcare experiment gone wrong. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally admitted as much during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last Friday, conceding she had been double-counting the law’s cuts to Medicare as both new spending and “savings”:


“‘There is an issue here on the budget because your own actuary has said you can’t double-count,’ said Shimkus. ‘You can’t count — they’re attacking Medicare on the CR when their bill, your law, cut $500 billion from Medicare.’


“He continued: ‘Then you’re also using the same $500 billion to what? Say your funding health care. Your own actuary says you can’t do both. […] What’s the $500 billion in cuts for? Preserving Medicare or funding the health-care law?’


Sebelius’ reply? ‘Both.‘” (Amanda Carey, “HHS Secretary Sebelius Admits to Double-Counting in ObamaCare Budget,” The Daily Caller, 3/4/2011)


Democrats, though, are continuing to blockade any and all efforts to repeal and reform the law, voting en masse against repeal, and even opposing an effort to remove onerous 1099 reporting requirements under the law:


ONLY 3 DEMS JOIN GOP ON OBAMACARE REPEAL: Final Vote: 245-189 (House Vote #14, 1/19/2011)




No wonder solid majorities of Americans want to see ObamaCare repealed:


“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that 54% favor repeal of the law, including 44% who Strongly Favor repeal. Thirty-nine percent (39%) oppose repeal of the law, including 31% who are Strongly Opposed.” (“Health Care Law: 54% Favor Repeal of Health Care Bill,” Rasmussen Reports, 3/7/2011)