Obamacare’s Provisions Have Already Been Tried, and Failed, at the State Level

When the Senate Finance Committee votes on President Obama’s health care plan, it won’t even have the text of the bill in existence.  It will just be voting on a summary of what the bill will supposedly contain. Senate Democrats voted down Republican proposals that the bill’s text be made available to Senators and the public 72 hours before the vote.

And the bill itself is likely to be changed by Senate leaders at the last minute, right before the Senate as a whole votes on it, “to add the public option provision they have long favored,” but removed from the Committee version of the bill to appease moderates.

The desire of Obamacare’s supporters to avoid any scrutiny or review of their bill is understandable, because its provisions have already been tried, and failed, at the state level.  As Peter Suderman of Reason (and formerly of CEI) notes in today’s Wall Street Journal, “The major provisions of ObamaCare already have been tried.  They’ve led to increased costs and reduced access to care” for people who once had private insurance.  The states that adopted these “reforms” have the most expensive and unaffordable health insurance.

Despite these state-level failures, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing forward a slate of similar reforms. Unlike most high-school science fair participants, they seem unaware that the point of doing experiments is to identify what actually works. Instead, they’ve identified what doesn’t—and decided to do it again.

Obama is relying on $2 trillion in imaginary savings to pay for his health care plan.  Even Democratic governors have criticized its huge cost, much of which would be passed on to state taxpayers through higher state-government Medicaid costs. One of Obama’s economic advisers said his health-care plan would lead to “crippling deficits” and “higher taxes.”

It also breaks Obama’s campaign promise not to raise taxes on the middle class.  Americans for Tax Reform summarizes the tax increases in the trimmed-down version of Obamacare revealed by its principal drafter, Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Here are just a few of those tax increases: an individual mandate tax of $900 per individual or $3800 per family (if you don’t have health insurance); an employer mandate tax of $400 per employee if health coverage is not offered; an “excise tax on high-cost health plans”; a “medicine cabinet tax”; capping flexible-spending accounts (FSA’s); abolishing most health savings accounts; and increasing tax penalties for HSAs.

This is part of a long line of broken promises, such as Obama’s pledge to enact a “net spending cut,” which he broke with huge budgets that will explode the national debt through $9.3 trillion in massively increased deficit spending.

Fact-checkers, including the Associated Press and Washington Post, say Obama has made many false claims about his health-care plan. For example, Obama claims that nothing in his health-care “plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.” But that’s not true of the House and Senate versions the plan. AP noted that, “the Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill written by House Democrats and said that by 2016 some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers would decide to stop offering it.”

ObamaCare has other dubious provisions, like its racial preferences, which drew criticism from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.