Obamacare was passed with very specific promises from Democrats. President Obama said “We [Senate Democrats and the Administration] agree on reforms that will finally reduce the costs of health care. Families will save on their premiums.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid added, “We can reduce the costs of premiums for Nevadans and all Americans. This is one more reason why we need to pass health insurance now, protecting patients and making health care affordable.”
None of that has turned out to be true. Two new reports out from the Wall Street Journal this week find that both Americans and the federal government will be spending more on healthcare for the foreseeable future.
Remembering back to the campaign trail the impact of rising costs of healthcare premiums on families was the primary reason for reform. We were told that Americans, and America for that matter, could not afford the path we were on. We were promised change. Turns out that it wasn’t quite the change we were looking for. Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield, and other insurance carriers are planning on raising premiums 1 to 9 percent. But the rate change isn’t result of the evil corporations trying to screw over Main Street – it’s the expected costs these companies will bear because of new extra benefits required under the Democrats’ health care law.
This should not be all that surprising. Less than one month ago a leaked Democratic memo showed that the pary was drastically shifting their attempts to defend their healthcare bill. The memo encouraged them to abandon the claim that it would reduce costs and instead encouraged Democrats to stress that they will work to “improve it.” So much for Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, claim that “for all Americans – all Americans – premiums will be lower.”
As it turns out Democrats are about as good at predicting the results of their healthcare bill as they were at predicting the success of the stimulus. That is to say…not very good.
Individuals aren’t the only ones likely to see a rate increase. A new report from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services finds that the federal share of healthcare costs will continue to soar upward. According to the report, by 2019 the United States will spend $4.6 trillion on healthcare, up from the $2.6 trillion we spent this year. That is much faster than the expected growth of inflation and faster than if the law had not been passed.
That is a huge expenditure growth that Washington must find a way to pay for amidst declining tax revenues and a budget already awash in red ink. As Vice President Joe Biden said at the Health Care Summit last February, “unless we bend that cost curve, we’re in trouble.” He’s exactly right. Sadly, his party’s healthcare reform package bent it the wrong way creating costly regulations and adding millions of people to Medicaid’s rolls.
With all the bad news rolling in it is no surprise that Democrats have gone quiet on healthcare. What was once supposed to be their clarion call for the November elections has since turned into a dirty word. As the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page said today,
‘They’re betting that between now and November, you’re going to come down with amnesia,” President Obama told a Milwaukee crowd on Monday, vilifying the Republicans who “helped devastate our middle class.” But it seems as if the real case of amnesia—or maybe post-traumatic stress disorder—has struck the Democrats, who are now doing everything they can to help voters forget ObamaCare.”
Gone are the days when Democrats thought they could use healthcare reform as a lever to retain the momentum in 2010. Gone are the days when President Obama had the guts to say that if we don’t pass healthcare reform “Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage…And more will die as a result.” No, that big-talk has turned into mere whispers. It turns out all those harsh realities exist and possibly made worse by the passage of healthcare.
I’m not sure whether it was ignorance or ego that led them to believe that the flawed healthcare bill they passed would actually be a help come November. Regardless, as members of their own party are tripping over themselves in their attempts to distance themselves from the bill and the administration who passed it, it has become clear it isn’t. Instead, it has become yet another symbol in the inability of Washington to match their rhetoric with reality
I doubt any of this news is what Nancy Pelosi had in mind when she said “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee