The two physicians currently serving in the U.S. Senate have released a blistering comprehensive study of President Obama’s health care law, which reveals disconcerting data on the effects the law will have on the cost of health insurance and health care services in the United States.
Sen. John Barrasso, M.D. (R-WY), who commissioned the report along with fellow physician Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), explained on a conference call with journalists the study, titled “Bad Medicine,” questions Obama’s promise his national health care overhaul would not result in people losing their health insurance or being forced to choose new plans.
It also highlights a new report from the Congressional Budget Office showing premiums for millions of American families in 2016 will be 10-13 percent higher than they would have been without the legislation, representing a $2100 increase in costs per family.
Can’t Keep Plans
Barrasso said the Obama administration recently released a regulation that threatens the health care plans of approximately 75 million Americans.
“This law will increase health insurance premiums, spending, and its overall cost to America is going up,” Barrasso said. “And now they issued this new regulation which effectively means about half of Americans will not be able to keep the original health care plan that they have right now—another promise that this President cannot keep.”
Coburn said the reform represents a “lost opportunity” to have taken pro-market steps to lower health care costs. He calls the new law “unsustainable.”
“Some of the most upsetting, yet not unforeseen, examples of bad policy here include the 16-plus million Americans that are forced into Medicaid, illegal immigrants continuing to get free care while costs are shifted onto Americans, uninsured Americans will be considered violators of the law, and the millions of Americans who will lose their current health plan as employers either drop coverage [and will have to] purchase more expensive, government-dictated health insurance,” said Coburn.
Many Jobs to Be Killed
Barrasso maintains the worst effects of the new law will be felt by low-wage workers because it “raises the cost per hour of hiring workers in America.”
The federal minimum wage requires low-skilled workers to produce goods and services worth $7.25 an hour in order to be worth employing, but the totality of U.S. government regulations before Obamacare pushed the cost per hour of hiring a worker to the mid-$8-range. That trend is exacerbated by the new law, according to Hudson Institute economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth.
“Obamacare moves that cost to a little over $9.00 per hour,” said Furtchgott-Roth. “In order for Americans to get hired, their labor must be worth a little over that amount—a bar that many low-skilled, low-wage Americans just cannot meet.”
Barrasso says this measure will effectively price many people out of the workforce and into unemployment.
“This health care law is especially hard on many Americans who do not have college degrees or technical school training, and that’s many Americans,” Barrasso said. “It’s also hard on those who are looking for work, which is even more Americans during this recession. It makes it harder for small businesses to hire people because of the additional expense to the business of Obamacare’s regulations.”
Small Businesses Strained
Barrasso maintains these health policy changes allegedly undertaken with the aim of lessening the burden on small businesses have actually made the situation far worse.
“Small businesses are suffering from the enormous uncertainty about the ultimate cost of Obamacare on them. There are nearly about 1,700 new rules the Secretary of Health and Human Services has to issue—which they are running behind in issuing, and missing many deadlines,” Barrasso noted. “I believe one of the reasons the unemployment rate has stayed so high, around 10 percent, is because of Obamacare’s new taxes and health care mandates on our country’s businesses and the great uncertainty it has caused.”
“Obamacare is contributing to that high level of unemployment,” Sen. Barrasso explains.
Calls for Repeal
Barrasso has called for the repeal of the health policy overhaul, replacing it with more pragmatic, pro-market solutions that do not damage the economy. He says the aim must be to lower health care costs and make health care affordable to Americans of all socioeconomic levels while fostering personal responsibility and choice.
“Putting 16 million more Americans onto Medicaid is a good example of how wrongheaded this is. You take a system that has repeatedly showed itself to not work with the number of people already in it, and put 16 million more people into it? That will not work,” Barrasso said. “I think we have to repeal and replace this health care law with sensible provisions that will actually lower costs, increase patient control, and put affordable high quality health coverage within the grasp of every American.”
Barrasso, who has read from prior Health Care News stories on the Senate floor, said he plans to keep the drumbeat for repeal and reform going over the coming months.
“While we are in session, I go every week to the Senate floor to give a ‘Doctor’s Second Opinion’ on the health care law, and I note another example highlighting how bad it is for small businesses,” Barrasso said. “I note another unintended consequence of the law, another broken promise made during the debate of this bill, of some new rule or regulation that is bad for patients and health care providers, because this law is bad for Americans.”
Thomas Cheplick ([email protected]) writes from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“Bad Medicine: A Check-Up On The New Federal Health Law,” by Sens. John Barrasso, MD and Tom Coburn, MD