One of the main focuses of President-elect Donald Trump and the GOP Congress will be repealing Obamacare – although the GOP is already starting to cave on that. If they do in fact cave, the grassroots will be furious and the GOP will be squandering a golden opportunity to do something that is a political and policy winner.
Here are the 11 biggest problems with Obamacare.
1. Premiums are skyrocketing. Earlier in 2016, the Obama administration admitted that Obamacare's premiums would increase by an average of 25 percent, but attempted to spin it by suggesting that most people wouldn't feel the increase because of higher subsidies to help offset the costs. However, former Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget staffer J.T. Young noted in RealClearMarkets that this defense ignores the cost to the taxpayer as well as the fact that subsidies are indicative of a bad economic model:
Successful economic endeavors do not need subsidies. Producers create a product consumers want to buy and realize a competitive rate of profit. Both sides gain and willingly enter into a transaction. Absent that mutually beneficial relationship, there is no market.
ObamaCare shows what occurs when government tries to enforce a market. By applying subsidies to one or both sides of the economic equation, its enforced market cannot exist without continued government subsidies in the short-term, and becomes unsustainable in the long-term as politics compounds subsidies' distortion.
There's also the fact that there are millions of people on the Obamacare exchanges who won't qualify for the subsidies and will be economically pinched by the skyrocketing premiums.
In many parts of the country, the premium increases are worse than the Obama administration lets on, as states like Georgia and Minnesota are projected to have premium increases of 33 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
2. Deductibles are also increasing. According to CNBC, Obamacare's deductibles are set to increase by an average of 17 percent for all silver plans and an average of six percent for bronze plans. For the latter, the increase is slated to be a whopping 21 percent for those who don't qualify for the subsidies.
Deductibles, of course, are the threshold people need to pay under their insurance plans before they share the costs with their insurance companies, so higher deductibles in addition to higher premiums both are major squeezes on consumers.
3. There are a lack of insurance options under Obamacare. Seven states have only one insurer providing insurance through Obamacare due to the fact that major insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare and Aetna are all leaving the exchanges because of unsustainability. As a result, there has been less competition throughout the Obamacare exchanges, contributing to the rise of premiums and deductibles and less consumer choice.
4. The co-ops are failing. There were 23 co-ops created under Obamacare and at least 15 of them have gone under as a result of Obamacare's risk adjustment program that compelled insurers with healthy customers to redistribute wealth towards those with sicker customers. That's over $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars down the drain.
5. Obamacare's Medicaid expansion is a burden for states. Thirty-two states were suckered into expand Medicaid under Obamacare, but the costs have been higher than expected – a whopping 49 percent higher, to be exact. The higher costs are due to the higher than expected enrollment numbers for Medicaid, as over 11.5 million have signed up for Medicaid in 24 states that only expected 5.5 million signups.
"States that expanded Medicaid will either have to boost health costs, raise taxes or cut spending to cover this ObamaCare 'freebie,'" the editors of Investor's Business Daily wrote. "Given that Medicaid is already swamping state budgets, this will not be good news."
This is especially true given that over the years, states will be left with higher and higher Medicaid bills as the federal government won't pay as much for it, and in doing so will drain state budgets.
6. Obamacare is resulting in higher wait times at the emergency room. Another one of the side effects of the Medicaid expansion is that waiting times have increased because fewer and fewer doctors are accepting Medicaid to avoid dealing with the program's bureaucracy for less than satisfactory compensation, forcing Medicaid patients to the emergency room to obtain a doctor. Without an increase in doctors to offset the surge in demand due to Obamacare's mandates and Medicaid expansion, longer wait times in the emergency room are the unfortunate consequence.
7. Obamacare is also resulting in a shortage of primary doctors. A report from the Association of American Medical Colleges found that America faces a shortfall of 61,700 to 94,700 doctors over the next ten years, as less medical residents plan on entering the field of primary care. Doctors have struggled to keep up with the higher demand, as 81 percent of physicians surveyed by The Physicians Foundation in 2012 were "over-extended or at full capacity" in terms of their ability to seek new patients – a real problem when new doctors are not entering the field. Obamacare seems to be a deterrent to new doctors entering the field; 46 percent of doctors who have delt with the monstrous law rated it as a "D" or an "F."
8. The number of Americans without insurance is set to skyrocket. As the Daily Wire explains here, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the number of uninsured will increase to 26-28 million over the next ten years as more employers opt to stop offering insurance plans.
9. Obamacare is worsening America's debt problem. According to National Interest, "the single fastest-growing sector of federal spending is healthcare," and it's going to result in trillion-dollar deficits in seven years' time. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned that the debt could be as high as $30 trillion by 2030, with Obamacare being one of the driving factors behind that increase.
10. Obamacare's Independent Advisory Board (IPAB), more popularly known as the "death panels," is still on the books. People seem to have forgotten about IPAB. The House of Representatives actually passed a bill to repeal it in 2015, but it is still law and could go into effect, creating a 15-member panel of experts that rations Medicare through price controls and determining the type of care that Medicare pays for. Whatever IPAB recommends becomes law if Congress cannot garner a two-thirds majority vote to override it. Even worse, none of IPAB's 15-member panel can be fired by the president, and if the appointments are never made, then the Department of Health and Human Services assumes the panel's power – an alarming centralization of power. There is only a brief window in 2017 when IPAB can be repealed, and if it's not, then in 2020 the panel's edicts will be law, even if Congress attempts overrides them.
11. The Obama administration is illegally using funds to hide Obamacare's losses. Per the Daily Wire:
[T]he administration used billions of dollars that were supposed to be used for the U.S. Treasury and instead sent them to insurers, a move that both the Congressional Research Service and the Government Accountability Office have ruled illegal. Naturally, the Obama administration is looking to tap into other federal funds to pay off insurers to cover their losses, reflecting the dire state of Obamacare.