Healthcare’s Unsustainable Trajectory
Americans are starting to pay close attention to healthcare. Complicated policy discussions are moving away from the rhetoric of yesterday, to fact-based conversations about the true causes of our federal debt. The president’s healthcare law has become a case study in America’s rising maturity. Regardless of party affiliation, Americans are viewing the president’s law as unsustainable and flawed.
Americans expect their lawmakers to put aside politics and look at the numbers. The fact is, Medicare will not be around to cover the cost of our retirees’ benefits. Medicare is going broke; actuaries estimate that part of the program will go broke in just twelve years or sooner. With 10,000 baby-boomers retiring every day and healthcare costs continuing to increase, an ever-decreasing pool of younger workers will be forced to square the responsibility of footing our senior generation’s healthcare costs.
It is not just seniors who will suffer at the hands of the president’s healthcare law. Because colleges are finding it difficult to comply with the law’s caps on benefits, many colleges are dropping their student insurance plans or raising the costs to once unthinkable levels.
The president’s healthcare law has become the largest tax increase in American history. According to the latest Congressional Budget Office estimate, the tax increases amount to $1.7 trillion over ten years.
Although the law was passed only because Americans were promised it was not a tax, the law will tax the middle-class like never before, hopefully not out of existence. The poor will suffer because the president’s law will create less coverage and less care. That’s why Congressman Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee Chairman, said, “There are 21 taxes in this bill, 12 of which hit people making less than $250,000 per year. That in and of itself is a violation of the President’s promise not to tax people making less than $250,000.”
For example, many middle-class Americans will see changes to their Health Saving Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). Under the president’s healthcare law, families will have these plans capped, taxed, or gutted. The law contains many more taxes and many other cost uncertainties. As one economist notes, 75% of the law’s cost will fall on Americans making less than $120,000 a year.
While the president’s team goes around “spiking the football,” Americans are well aware that their healthcare premiums are going to skyrocket. Americans will not tolerate Congress putting politics ahead of seniors, middle-class families, and college students. Currently, healthcare is on an unsustainable trajectory and Americans know it. The president’s healthcare law will not survive, mainly because it cannot survive.
Thomas Grier writes on constitutional law, campaigns and elections, and pro-growth policy. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Arizona State University. He lives in Arizona with his beautiful wife and two amazing children. Follow Thomas on Twitter.