The House is scheduled to vote today on full repeal of Obamacare. Although many reports are circulating that Congress has already voted on this numerous times, this is only the second time the House will have voted to fully repeal the law.
Heritage has laid out the impacts of Obamacare on the American people—and according to a poll released this week, a majority of Americans agree that Obamacare should be repealed. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took to the pages of The Washington Post this week to re-argue the Administration’s positions, claiming basically the opposite of the havoc Obamacare is wreaking on the U.S. economy and health care system.
As Congress takes up the issue, we present the Top 5 Reasons to Repeal Obamacare:
5. To stop adding to the U.S. deficit and debt.
Medicare and Medicaid is pushing the federal budget to the breaking point. Obamacare makes the problem much worse by adding to the entitlement crisis in the form of a massive Medicaid expansion and a new entitlement subsidy for households with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. These two spending entitlement programs will add at least 35 million Americans to the government rolls at an expense of more than $200 billion annually by the end of the decade.
4. To help stop Taxmageddon.
In addition to being a massive federal power grab, Obamacare contains a massive tax increase on the American economy—at a time when job growth should be the nation’s number one priority. In total, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the Obamacare tax hikes would raise about $800 billion in new revenue over a decade. Taxmageddon—the unprecedented, $494 billion tax hike scheduled to hit Americans on January 1, 2013 —includes just five of Obamacare’s 18 new taxes.
3. To preserve freedom, including religious freedom, for all Americans.
Obamacare tramples on individual freedom and religious liberty. One of the first examples is the especially controversial provision of the HHS preventive services mandate that takes effect in a few short weeks on August 1. After that, as employers renew their health plans in the coming year, they will have to comply with the HHS mandate’s coercive requirement to cover abortion-related drugs, contraception and sterilization—regardless of religious or moral objections. This is one of the first chilling examples in Obamacare that shows how Americans will lose their individual liberties.
2. To keep health care decisions where they belong—with patients and their doctors.
Obamacare is a massive intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship, micromanaging how health care should be delivered to patients. When the government is given this much authority and discretion, it does not result in higher-quality care for patients. Rather, it leads to price controls and one-size-fits-all regulations that misallocate resources and will lead to headaches for doctors and problems for patients trying to access health care.
1. To make way for real, patient-centered, market-based health care reform.
Health care reform that preserves American liberty is possible and is direly needed. The Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream provides such a plan and would put us on a course toward a truly consumer-based health care system. A starting point should be setting commonsense insurance rules for those who buy their own insurance—individuals and small businesses outside the large group market. Congress should combine sensible individual health insurance market reforms with appropriate tax and Medicaid reforms for a fair and fiscally sound strategy to expand coverage to the currently uninsured.
Is Repeal Possible?
As research by Heritage’s Bob Moffit concludes, “Based on Washington’s record of health policymaking, ending or rolling back Obamacare is hardly implausible.” Moffit points to examples from history: the repeal of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 and President Bill Clinton’s failed attempts at reform in 1994. Moffit notes that the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 was originally enacted with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, but repealed one year later. The reason? Plain and simple: it was the disapproval of the American people that drove the law’s removal.
The failure of Obamacare is not only a matter of the public’s continued opposition to it; the law is also a major policy failure. It is based on the false premise that more government, more regulations, and more mandates are the right solution to America’s health care problems. Obamacare falls short of genuine reform because its alleged benefits increase not only government spending, but also the cost of private health insurance—on the backs of taxpayers.
To achieve a health care system where patients come first, Congress must not embrace the flawed and failed policies in Obamacare. Instead, Congress must use this opportunity to offer an alternative vision for the future of health care—a future where individuals get better care at lower cost without government controlling the dollars and decisions.