Exactly six years ago, Obamacare was signed into law after being forced through Congress over the objections of the American people. Many warned that this partisan law’s promises couldn’t be kept, that health costs and taxes — rather than jobs — would go up, and that its implementation would be a predictable mess. These are reasons why every Republican voted against the partisan law.
I wish these predictions hadn’t been correct, but the fact that they are reminds us why we need to build a bridge away from Obamacare and toward better care. The Republican Congress recently passed legislation to repeal this partisan health law. Now, on Obamacare’s sixth anniversary, we’re reminded of the many reasons why we need a President in office with the courage to sign it.
On Obamacare’s sixth birthday, Americans remember the broken promise that they could keep their health plans if they liked them.
It turned out Americans could only keep their health plans if the president liked them. Millions saw the coverage they had and liked canceled. For too many, family doctors and trusted hospitals fell out of network. And top Democrats, rather than apologize for what they’d done, tried to dismiss stories as lies. Some even went so far as to say Americans should be grateful for the government taking their plans away, because they were lousy in their view anyway. This may be Obamacare’s signature broken promise — and one that was recognized by PolitiFact as the “Lie of the Year”— but it’s hardly Obamacare’s only broken promise. For instance, despite the President’s promise that Obamacare would “protect” Medicare, it instead raided Medicare to finance more government spending on his partisan health law. There are many other broken promises as well…
On Obamacare’s sixth birthday, Americans remember the broken promise that health costs would go down.
According to one recently released survey, less than 1-in-10 Americans say health care services have gotten more affordable in recent years. The same survey showed that more than half would classify health care costs in their state as a “major problem.” Under Obamacare, premiums certainly didn’t go down by $2,500 per family as the President promised but instead continue to skyrocket across the country. From coast to coast, states saw plans with double-digit premium increases, including plans in my home state of Kentucky. Combined with outrageous deductibles, co-pays and prescription costs, too many Americans have simply given up on health insurance and opted to take their chances going uninsured and paying Obamacare’s penalty instead.
On Obamacare’s sixth birthday, Americans remember the broken promise that taxes wouldn’t increase on the middle class.
Obamacare has actually imposed more than a trillion dollars in new taxes, and many of them fall squarely on the shoulders of the middle class. These taxes come in various forms: some are paid directly by consumers and others come in the form of higher premiums and increased costs. For instance, Obamacare limits the amount of money families can save in tax-advantaged health accounts used to help pay for medical expenses, and it limits what can be bought under these plans. When it comes to tax season, many families who normally look forward to a much-needed tax refund were shocked instead to find that they owed the IRS hundreds or thousands of dollars in repayments for Obamacare subsidies.
On Obamacare’s sixth birthday, Americans remember the broken promise that it would create millions of jobs.
Democrats have now been reduced to claiming that Obamacare will allow workers to “escape” their jobs, whatever that means. In Kentucky, our recently departed Democrat Governor declared it an “undisputed fact” that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion would add 12,000 jobs to Kentucky’s economy. Turns out, he was undisputedly wrong. Not only did those jobs fail to materialize, but healthcare jobs have actually declined in Kentucky since the passage of Obamacare.
On Obamacare’s sixth birthday, Americans remember the broken promise that it would work well and provide an online health shopping experience as simple as Amazon.
From crashing websites and consumers spending hours on hold, to billions of dollars wasted in state exchanges that have failed outright or continue to struggle financially, to collapsing co-ops that have left thousands scrambling to find other insurance, Obamacare is hardly working the way they promised. Implementation has been a bureaucratic nightmare, with a plethora of new government agencies, boards, and programs working to enforce the ever-growing pages of rules and regulations associated with this law.
It’s past time for Democrats to face up to the pain and failure their law has created. Americans are living with the consequences of this broken law and its broken promises every day. That’s why middle-class families continue to call for a bridge to real health reform and better care.
The Republican Congress they elected recently succeeded in passing an Obamacare repeal bill — overcoming a years-long Democrat campaign of obstruction to prevent us from doing so — and putting it on President Obama’s desk. It presented him with a critical choice for the very first time: would he stand with Obamacare or would he stand with the middle class?
It’s unfortunate that he would choose Obamacare and veto the legislation. But here’s the good news. President Obama is currently the only obstacle standing between the American people and better care in a post-Obamacare world, and he has only a few months left in office. If the American people elect a president this November who chooses to stand with the middle class instead of Obamacare, we can finally build a bridge past the broken promises of this partisan law and toward better care for our country.
Mitch McConnell is a U.S. Senator and majority leader of the Senate from Kentucky.