State of the Union Fact or Fiction: Obamacare is Helping to Slow the Growth of Health Care Costs
By Leigh Claffey
February 15, 2013
“Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs...” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, February 12, 2013)
It hasn’t even been fully implemented, and already employers, doctors, private insurance companies and citizens are bracing themselves for the Obamacare wave to come crashing down. The Affordable Care Act has devastating effects on so many aspects of our economy: jobs, cost of health care, manufacturing costs – the list goes on and on. We were promised that if we liked our current insurance, that we could keep it. Turns out that is just another lie as well.
In fact, the CBO reports that 7 million people will be forced out of their job-based insurance coverage. The tax cuts affect incentives for businesses and make it harder for them to afford providing insurance for employees. It’s more cost efficient for the businesses to pay the penalty to the government, but at the price of being able to provide coverage for their employees and families. Nearly 74% of small businesses owners said that the rising health care costs was hurting their business, and 61% point to the potential cost of healthcare as the reason why they aren’t hiring.
Not only are we losing jobs, but we are losing them to overseas manufacturers. The medical device industry could lose 10% of its U.S. workforce, an estimated 43,000 jobs, overseas due to the medical device tax. The House passed legislation to repeal this tax in the previous Congress and has reintroduced the bill into the 113th Congress, while Senate Democrats have refused to take action.
On top of our workforce being affected, Obamacare will reach into each individual pocket. Health insurance premiums climb each year and, on average, are up 3% ($186) for individuals and 4% ($672) per family. In a survey conducted by the American Action Forum, younger, healthy individuals and small employers in Atlanta, Georgia can expect their average premium impact to increase 164%. This encourages younger individuals to just pay the penalty, or not purchase insurance at all.
I think President Obama misspoke when giving his address. He must have meant to say: “Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to GROW the cost of health care...” For that, I rate his actual statement as FICTION.
Leigh Claffey is Congressman Westmoreland's deputy press secretary.