How Repealing or Defunding ObamaCare Could Effect the Country
We discuss the pros and cons of repealing ObamaCare, what a repeal and replace plan could look like under President Trump, and how approaching the issue in a smart way could lead to common sense reforms.
We know the debate over the law can be heated, and people have strong opinions, so we will take extra care to back everything up with citations and facts. Our goal isn’t to prove that the ACA (ObamaCare AKA the Affordable Care Act) is good or bad, rather our goal is to help examine and convey the effects of a full repeal or repeal of key provisions of the law.
UPDATE: The repeal process has begun, but there is no replacement plan on the table yet. Given this, all effects of repeal are estimates based on past plans. For example, see what the CBO projects would happen if ObamaCare was replaced with H.R. 3762 (hint: premiums are projected to double and 32 million are projected to be uninsured). This doesn’t mean a final “TrumpCare” plan will do this, it means that it could if it looks like the stock Republican plan. See updates on “repeal and delay”.
TIP: A full repeal and replace plan would be near impossible to enact in Trump’s first 100 days due to the process involved in repealing each provision and writing a passable and effective replacement bill. Given this, Congressional Republicans are leaning toward a plan that would repeal parts of the law in early 2017 via budget reconciliation, but may delay enacting a new system for up to three years (i.e. they plan to defund ObamaCare’s key coverage provisions, but delay a replacement). This could repeal all provisions that require funding, like tax credits, the mandates, and Medicaid expansion, but leave in place provisions like the preexisting conditions protections. The problem is that the protections are what drive prices up for consumers while credits, Medicaid expansion, and the mandates keep coverage affordable and help fund the system. This is a primary reason as to why studies have warned that repealing the ACA could cost Americans not only coverage, but could hurt the healthcare industry, raise deficit spending (and consequently debt), and even cause prices to rise for many consumers (such as consumers who have ever had a preexisting condition). See: How ObamaCare Could be Defunded Starting in 2017, Before a Replace Plan is Enacted.
The Effects of Repealing ObamaCare or Defunding ObamaCare
If the Affordable Care Act was repealed or defunded, especially now that it’s “the law of the land” and was upheld in the Supreme Court in 2012 and 2015, the effects would be massive (potentially leaving millions uninsured if tax credits and Medicaid expansion are defunded for example). For starters, since so much of the health care reform law has already been implemented, many aspects could not just be changed overnight.
Some of the parts of the law that could go change quickly if the ACA was repealed include the majority of the new benefits, rights, and protections like the protections for the 1 in 2 Americans with preexisting conditions. Repealing those protections would do little to curb federal, state, or personal health care spending, but would be a major blow to new consumer rights and protections regarding healthcare.
On the other hand, if the Act was not repealed, but was defunded, a different set of benefits go including: Medicaid expansion, the federal financial assistance for Marketplace coverage, and the individual and employer mandates. Repealing those cost benefits, but not the protections, could drastically raise consumer prices and slash assistance (but would likely save on federal spending).
Loosening rules on insurers may decrease premium growth in the short or long term, but it may also increase them (many of the ACA’s many cost curbing measuresare working, and repealing them could be a slippery slope). At this point there is little chance insurers would decrease premiums regardless of whether the ACA was repealed or not. In fact, the loss of millions of ObamaCare customers might just send the Market into chaos leading to higher premiums in the short term.
The estimated cost of repealing the law could be as much as $6.2 Trillion over the next 75 years according to a 2013 report by the Government Accountability Office. $6.2 trillion isn’t an exact number; it is an extrapolation of a worse case scenario based on this report.
A recent June 2015 report from the Congressional Budget Office showed a $137 billion net increase to the deficit over the next decade if the ACA is repealed. It is a little less jarring and is a more exact short term effect on the deficit. In addition, there could be up to 24 million being uninsured by 2024.
Meanwhile, a 2016 review of TrumpCare by The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget called MEASURING TRUMP’S HEALTHCARE PLAN estimated costs between $330 – $550 billion over the next ten years. Thus, while the highest estimates are scary, pairing the low estimates with the fact that many could lose Affordable Care and Patient Protections aren’t that much more inspiring.
In all cases, the reason repealing the law adds to the deficit rather than reducing it is because the bulk of the law curbs healthcare spending and takes in revenue, while only a small part contributes to spending. Of course, a full repeal means doing away with all the reforms, not just subsidy spending. Specifically, Medicare reforms do a lot to bring down long-term Medicare spending. General healthcare spending was one of the major driving forces behind publicly held debt and an increasing deficit before the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about ObamaCare, healthcare, public debt, and the deficit here.
The bottom line: Repealing the entire Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) would result in a net increase to the deficit and lead to tens of millions being uninsured. Reforming and amending it could be much better, but any political group in power has to face the reality that our multi-trillion dollar healthcare system is far more complex than a “repeal ObamaCare” rallying cry.
Reforming the ACA, Instead of Repealing it
On this page, we hope we make the point that repealing or defunding the law would have many negative consequences. We do not believe that the law is perfect. In fact, we strongly support reform and think there is room to improve the law. A full repeal may well be a short sighted and drastic answer to solving the very real health care problems we face in the US.
This means we fully support common sense reforms by any side of the isle, and strongly caution against drastic moves like a full repeal. That said, we will let the facts speak for themselves.
Below we take a closer look at the repeal and defund movement to continue to get to the bottom of what repealing, defunding, replacing ObamaCare means.
What Would Repealing ObamaCare Cost?
To understand what repealing the Affordable Care Act would cost it’s important to reiterate and detail a few key points related to cost touched on above. According to past estimates as previously noted or otherwise cited below:
- The estimated net cost of ObamaCare’s insurance related provisions is $1.35 trillion (the gross cost of ObamaCare is $1,993 offset by $643 billion in revenue for 2015–2025).
- The estimated cost of repealing the law is $6.2 Trillion over the next 75 years (a high, but potentially real estimate).
- Meanwhile, even replacement plans tend to add to the price-tag (especially the GOP plans which cut revenue provisions like the mandate).
- The key to understanding the real impact of the ACA is in understanding that the bulk of the law curbs healthcare spending and takes in revenue, while only a small part contributes to spending.
- Typically the spending and revenue-related provisions are the only things discussed by repealers, perhaps to make talking points easy to swallow. In truth, even the GOP replacement plan acknowledges that the Medicare reforms are working, and leaves that part of the law in place despite repealing the majority of other non-spending related protections.
- Make up your own mind and examine the law itself or read our summary of each provision in the PPACA.
Learn more about ObamaCare and the debt and deficit.
Was ObamaCare Repealed?
Was ObamaCare Repealed? The Affordable Care Act is still “the law of the land” despite over 60 attempts by Republicans to repeal parts of the law.
Is ObamaCare Government HealthCare?
The fact is ObamaCare is not Government healthcare, and it does not replace private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. It’s an American mix market approach to health care reform.
The ACA does, however, subsidize and regulate private health insurance, and expands and improves state and Federal public healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
It’s important to note that from business tax breaks to single payer, to vouchers, to tax breaks for the health care industry, both parties have supported subsidizing healthcare long before ObamaCare. The only real argument is about who gets the tax breaks.
The problem with repealing ObamaCare is that ObamaCare isn’t one thing and can’t just be repealed with the push of a button. Sure it’s one law, but that law contains over 400 different sections and even more provisions. Each provision does something unique to address the healthcare crisis in the U.S.
Repealing provisions of the Affordable Care Act like the elimination of insurance companies being required to cover pre-existing conditions would have a negative affect on every American who has ever been sick in the past . 1 in 2 Americans have a pre-existing condition that they can be denied coverage or treatment for. Many more provisions are working smoothl, saving taxpayers money, and improving the quality of care.
In fact, last year health care spending grew at the slowest rate on record (since 1960). Meanwhile, health care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years. This is primarily due to ObamaCare’s cost controlling provisions.
Check out what is in the Affordable Care Act for yourself. Read our summary of provisions in ObamaCare. Given the size of the legislation, even the summary itself is lengthy, but a quick read will point out a lot of provisions that are hard to argue with. Regardless of what side of the isle you stand on, there is a lot right with the law. If you are going to oppose the Affordable Care Act, make sure to support a movement that does this in a way that helps improve healthcare reform and moves the country forward.
Repealing subsidies will leave millions of families without access to affordable care. It would mean less federal spending, but if taxes are cut along with subsidies, it would have much less impact on spending. If tax breaks and subsidies are given to employers, instead of people like in the recent GOP replacement plan, then the whole thing has nearly a “net zero” effect. In other words, it wouldn’t affect federal spending or government intervention.
The Impact of Repealing ObamaCare
Back in 2014, the CBO did a report at John Boehner to find out the budgetary impacts of an “ObamaCare Repeal” Bill. The conclusion was that repealing the health care law fully would both increase the deficit and increase federal spending while leaving tens of millions uninsured. Cost estimates were between $100 billion for ten years and $6.7 trillion for 75 years. Again this is primarily due to the fact that most of the law is unrelated to spending.
FACT: Healthcare spending, not ObamaCare is the driving force behind America’s healthcare problems. Aside from the uninsured rates, this was the main reason healthcare reform was passed in America.
The concept of defunding ObamaCare faces the same problems as the repeal movement. ObamaCare isn’t one thing, it’s a thousand plus pages of provisions. Some of the provisions require funding, while others don’t. The provisions that don’t require funding will be in play regardless.
Some provisions that do require funding may hit a sore spot with some opponents of “big government,” however many provisions are seldom contested, and are much needed fixes to a healthcare system which has had an exponential need for reform over the years.
The replace ObamaCare movement sounds like the most logical one on the surface. Unfortunately, the replacement plan so far is a 9 page PDF that fails to address most of the law and is primarily about repealing. You can read the replacement plan here.
Using Funding as Leverage For the Repeal ObamaCare Movement
A group of conservatives (not the Republican party as a whole) tends to use funding as leverage for cutting public programs like food stamps, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and other spending related laws that help to strengthen the “social safety net.” Defunding select provisions of laws don’t stop them from existing. Instead, defunding stops the programs from being effective. This gives opponents more leverage to declare both the administration in office and the programs failures but doesn’t do much for reforming them or saving the country money. In fact, this tactic leads to higher costs as related industries respond to the uncertainty and chaos.
While the defund ObamaCare movement may be short-sighted and politically motivated, there are many provisions that could be improved upon. For instance a restriction on subsidies for working families.
Employers can offer insurance that costs as much as 9.5% of an employee’s income (not counting family members) and that is still considered affordable. This provision makes it so other family members cannot receive marketplace subsidies, creating an environment where they technically have affordable coverage, but in practice are spending well above the standard 8% threshold of affordability that families without work-based insurance enjoy. This would be a constructive part of the law to address.
We urge you to read our section-by-section Summary of Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to get a better understanding of which provisions are actually in the law.
Pros and Cons of Repealing ObamaCare or Defunding ObamaCare
Here are some of the pros and cons of repealing or defunding Obamacare.
In short, repealing or scaling back the spending parts of the law only (assuming we ignore the cost associated with undoing all the new changes) would take away many new rights and protections, leave millions without insurance, but potentially allow us to cut some new taxes and lower some peoples healthcare costs.
Keeping the spending provisions in the law as is will add additional costs, but will improve the quality of care, decrease spending in healthcare, and give tens of millions access to health insurance.
A logical stance, therefore, is neither to push for a full repeal nor full support of the law, but rather to deepen your understanding of the law. Reforming certain provisions could improve upon the root issue of US healthcare, the underlying costs.
|Pros of Repealing ObamaCare||Cons of Repealing ObamaCare|
|You Don’t Have to Obtain Insurance or pay a fee.||1 in 2 Americans can be denied health coverage or treatment because they had been sick in the past.|
|Fewer taxes on the top 2%.||No free or low cost insurance for those making less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level through the Health Insurance Marketplace.|
|Businesses with over 50 full-time employees don’t have to insure full-timers.||Businesses with less than 25 full-time employees won’t get tax breaks of up to 50% for the cost of their employees health insurance on ObamaCare’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Today, almost half of America’s uninsured are small business owners, employees or their dependents.|
|No cuts to Medicare or Medicare Advantage.||Medicare goes unreformed and continues to bankrupt our country.|
|Tax payer dollars are not used to subsidize healthcare.||Tens of millions of our nations poorest including millions of children go without health insurance. The majority of people without health insurance are poor working families.|
|ObamaCare, big Government, and President Obama are proven to be unsuccessful.||Obama had little to nothing to do with the law in the first place. The law was written by groups from every walk of life and has been in the works for decades. Since many of the ideas in “ObamaCare” are taken from Republican suggestions on how to reform healthcare, we are left with no real ideas for how healthcare reform can work. If nothing is done HEALTHCARE COSTS MAY BANKRUPT AMERICA over the next few decades.|
|Big business saves big money.||People who work for minimum-wage companies go without health insurance.|
|Republicans get leverage to cut more big Government programs and decrease the social safety net. ObamaCare not working equals proof that big Government doesn’t work.||Gender discrimination comes back; young adults can’t stay on their parents plan until 26; we continue to ignore wellness and prevention; the list goes on.|
|We don’t give the program a chance to work, therefore people don’t understand how much it helps them. This gives Republicans a lot higher chance of winning seats moving forward into the next election cycles.||We don’t give the program a chance to work and the American people never realize what the Affordable Care Act does for them.|
|Less Costs to the taxpayer||Most of the new taxes are on high earners, large businesses, and health care companies. Most of these companies see a net profit because of the law. Very few taxes impact the middle class whatsoever.|
Fact: ObamaCare has almost nothing to do with President Obama; he signed the bill into law. The law is really called the Affordable Care Act and is a bi-partisan health care reform law that helps the majority of Americans in countless ways. If you don’t like it, chances are you don’t know enough about it. Read ObamaCare Explained to get some unbiased facts on what the program does before taking action.
Stop: If you have ever been on record as being sick or make less than 400% of the Federal poverty level, ObamaCare is trying to help you. Find out how it can help you, your family and your business before you support its opposition. Read ObamaCare Explained
The Irony of Costs
Although opponents of the law often claim the law costs too much, the Republican budget for the next ten years relies heavily on money generated from ObamaCare to function. Without the trillion dollars in revenue, the Republican budget falls about $400 billion short of balance in the tenth year. The truth is both parties like to spend, the argument they are having isn’t about spending, it’s about what to spend the money on. Republicans want to funnel money to businesses; Democrats want to funnel it to people.
Republicans Don’t Want to Lose Their Protections Just Yours
As a way to demonstrate that the protections contained in ObamaCare were something that no one would want to lose, Democrats introduced an amendment in January 2011 that would have forced members of Congress to forgo the same protections that Republicans are seeking to eliminate for their constituents. The protections suggested for elimination included gender-based premium rating, prohibiting insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, and allowing young people to remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26. As expected the amendment failed along party lines.
They Can’t Make the Law Go Away.
There is no gentle way to say this, most of the higher-ups who are pushing for the repeal of ObamaCare know the law won’t just go away. They also know a portion of Americans don’t like Obama and don’t understand the law. They are using this as leverage to play politics with health care reform.
It’s OK to stand behind them. We two average small business owners who run ObamaCareFacts.com understand the law, and we would put our money on the fact that if we sat down with you for 20 minutes and explained what it could do for you and your family, that you would like most of what it does. It’s the other 10% we want those of you who are against the law to focus on.
Does the law need more work? Sure it does, but that can only happen if we come together. Bickering over talking points that are meant to play to our irrational fears about something we don’t understand, and inciting our emotions, will only lead us further away from real solutions.
ObamaCare is Essentially The Same as the Nixon, Clinton, Ryan, Romney, Etc Plan
The truth is ObamaCare isn’t so different from past health care reform plans put forward by Republicans or other Democrats.
What Can You do to Stop ObamaCare?
If you don’t agree with the ACA, you should pick out the provisions in the law that you don’t agree with, and then vote for the politicians who want to reform that aspect of the law. Let’s say you own a business with the equivalent of over 50 full-time employees and don’t want to provide full-timers with insurance. It is your job to support the reformation of the employer mandate. Fighting the law as a whole will do nothing more than stall congress and create a big mess. Demanding real reforms, on the other han could bring about real change.
The complex bill has already changed many aspects of how our healthcare system works and has already employed tens of thousands of Americans. Those changes can’t be done overnight. Some of the protections, hard won through the law, wouldn’t be so easy to take away either. The further we get down the road the harder the bill is to repeal. The truth is any effort to repeal ObamaCare at this point would likely end in billions of lost dollars, more costly health insurance, and a giant mess in Congress. However, those who strongly believe that the law must go, are willing to risk that and plan to defund ObamaCare anyway.
Repeal ObamaCare or Defund ObamaCare by “Starving the Beast.”
“Starving the beast” is a term used for defunding programs or institutions such as the Federal Government.
The idea is to take away funding from public programs until they “break.” Defunding key parts of a program can diminish it’s effectiveness, allowing opponents to make a case that it isn’t working.
In regards to healthcare, the tactic, while good for certain politicians and corporations, won’t do much except cost the tax payer money, make health care less accessible, and stall other legislation in Congress.
Who Supports Defunding ObamaCare?
According to an August 2013 survey from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, fifty-seven percent of Americans said they disapprove of the proposal to cut off funding as a way to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
There are clear partisan divides — 6 in 10 Republicans say they approve of the idea, while just 15 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of independents support it.
FACT: Ironically, 6 in 10 uninsured Republicans could get free or low-cost health insurance through the health insurance marketplace.
Big Business’s Efforts to Repeal ObamaCare and Defund ObamaCare and Why?
The fact is, a lot of the defund and repeal noise comes from big business. Through superPACs and lobbyist, some “big businesses” are behind a lot of the anti-Obamacare campaigns.
Big Businesses (not all big businesses obviously) are going after ObamaCare, as they stand to lose billions in taxes and control of employees via benefits. Having to provide health insurance to full-time employees stands to put a big dent in any companies profits whose model doesn’t currently involve offering insurance.
Of course, these companies are focused on the bottom line, and as such can hardly be blamed for not wanting to help fund ObamaCare. They do gain benefits from the law such as healthy and happy workers which can lead to worker retention, but they will also be required to spend millions of additional costs.
Big Business Pay Millions of Dollars to Spread the, “down with ‘Big Government’ message. Don’t be fooled; this is often just a reverse manipulation tactic to get you to give up the protections of Government and Government run programs like ObamaCare.
NOTE: Some big business leaders simply don’t agree with public programs on an idealistic level. The driving force behind anti-public-program movements isn’t always capital or control; sometimes it’s just ideology.
How Would Repealing ObamaCare Help You
Not all groups stand to benefit from ObamaCare. Here are a few groups who may have reason to want to repeal the law.
- If you are a young and healthy male without health insurance you will help to foot the bill for others to be covered. That being said over 80% of young people stand to get free or low cost health insurance through the health insurance marketplace.
- If you just barely make over the 400% of the Federal Poverty Level you may higher premiums and there is a chance you will pay a larger percentage of your income then those making less or more than you. Find out the cost of ObamaCare.
- If you own a big business or work for one you may be in trouble. Big businesses who don’t provide health insurance will have to pay big expenses and will need to recoup the cost elsewhere. Workers of those companies may find their hours cut back to part time to avoid the company having to pay for their health insurance. It’s important to note however that the ideal of trickle down economics and the health of corporations affecting the country as a whole has largely been debunked as corporate backed propaganda.
- Some doctors and health insurance sales people do stand to lose business from changes in the law.
- The “top 2%” have to deal with additional tax increases to help fund ObamaCare.
- Those who wish to purchase high-end insurance must pay a 40% excise tax come 2017 and therefore will be paying more for insurance. The same goes for employers who wish to purchase high-end insurance for their employees.
Most other groups of Americans benefit greatly. It’s important to note that even those who pay more get better benefits, rights and protections. They also get the comfort of knowing they are helping others to afford healthcare.
Using superPACs to Influence Politics
Since the creation of superPACs, it’s become much easier to influence politics. Lucky for us there are some laws that say superPACs have to disclose certain information. We have used this information to collect a comprehensive list of who is funding anti-Obamacare campaigns to repeal Obamacare.
Anti-Obamacare ads outspend supporters 3 to 1. In fact, over $100 million has been spent in the last year, but where is it coming from?
Groups That Fund anti-Obamacare Campaigns and Influence Elections
The following groups (or the interests funding them) all stand to lose billions from health care reform. These groups have all directly or indirectly spent millions on Anti-Obamacare campaigns aimed at repealing Obamacare. This list represents groups that supported anti-ObamaCare campaigns leading up to the 2012 elections.
Aetna: $3.3 million to American Action Network (AAN) headed by former Republican Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN)’ Aetna also gave $4.5 million in 2011 to the Chamber of Commerce which funds Anti-Obamacare campaigns.
AHIP (American Health Insurance Plans): This health insurance super lobby gave $87 million to unnamed advocacy organizations for “grassroots outreach, education and mobilization, print, online, and broadcast advertising and coalition building efforts.” This was done while they were discussing a deal in support of Obamacare with the white house. At that same time, the Chamber of Commerce reported receiving $86.2 million (documented on a 2009 IRS filing) from an unnamed organization. This happened again in 2010 for an amount of $16.2 million. This accounts for 8.6% of total contributions and grants the chamber received for 2010.
ALEC: A Koch Brothers funded group that goes after Healthcare and other Government run services due to their Libertarian stance of Limited Government, Free Markets and Federalism. They write laws that benefit corporations, particularly their own, and disregard the public interest.
Americans For Prosperity: This Koch Brothers funded group spent $9 million attacking Obamacare the day after the supreme court ruling.
Chamber of Commerce: Reported to have received hundreds of millions of dollars to fund Anti-Obamacare campaigns.
Crossroads GPS: Karl Rove’s 501 (c)(4) political group donated $3.7 million to the NFIB which used to money to fund Anti-Obamacare campaigns.
Elliott Management: This Hedge Fund (what Mitt Romney means when he says “small business”) directed by Paul Singer gave $3.4 million to Republicans this election season (helping get Paul Ryan in the position of VP). They donated $1,650 to the Democratic party.
Health Care Now: $6 million dollar Anti-Obamacare ad campaign. This group made $2 million the year they spent $6m on the ads, the year before they made less than a million. They don’t have disclose who gave them the money. However, this media blitz came just before the Supreme Court ruling.
Koch Industries: David and Charles Koch, billionaire businessmen and oil men pledged $60 million to conservative efforts to defeat President Obama and his policies.
NFIB: Spent $10 million between 2010 and 2011. $8 million was donated by only 4 contributors. The year before their biggest contribution was $21k.
FACT: In 2011 the Koch Brothers had all of their companies and affiliates send out letters saying that if they didn’t vote for Romney they were fired. Romney wanted to repeal ObamaCare even though he knew full well how successful RomneyCare had been in Massachusetts.
We will continue to update this list as we uncover the facts on who wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. We will also be digging deeper into the pro-Obamacare-ers. For now check out this list of superPACs. Many of these groups fund anti-Obamacare efforts.
ObamaCare Congress: Government Shutdown over House Budget
In 2013 house Republicans shut down the Government by refusing to pass the budget, unless it contained measures to defund and repeal aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
- If ObamaCare went away today, which it can’t, because it’s already a law and defunding a law doesn’t repeal it, you would lose all of your rights and protections. You would have to pay for maternity visits and check-ups. You could be denied for being sick or charged more for being a woman. You could be dropped from your coverage for trivial reasons when the cost of your care got too great and you would most likely not be able to appeal that decision.
- Today you have many new rights, and even more are coming down the road. The truth is, for 85% or so Americans, the only thing happening over the next year is you are getting more benefits, rights, and protections.
- Unless you are one of the 15% of Americans who doesn’t have insurance, not much will change for you. A majority of those uninsured are getting access to free or low-cost health insurance. If you already have health insurance and are worried about the cost, the good and bad news is that your premiums already went up if they were going to at all. Defunding ObamaCare won’t lower them.
- If Obamacare sticks around it means that businesses get tax breaks for up to 50% to insure employees and it means that companies like McDonalds and Taco Bell have to cover their workers. Tens of millions of lives are literally at stake, call your house representative and let them know what you think about ObamaCare and let them know if you agree with a Government shutdown.
Read this article from CNN to get a better understanding on the Government shutdown.
Government Shutdown Facts
The Defund ObamaCare movement led to a Government Shutdown on October 1st, 2013 as House Republicans refused to pass a budget unless it included repealing, removing, delaying, or defunding parts of the Affordable Care Act such as the medical device tax and employer mandate. The shutdown lasted until October 18th.
• The total cost of the shutdown is estimated at $24 billion by Standard & Poor’s. By comparison, the medical device tax at the heart of the shutdown is estimated to bring in $20 billion by 2023. The shutdown cost the American people $24 billion dollars in an attempt to remove a tax that would bring in $20 billion needed to balance the budget. No significant changes were made to the Affordable Care Act during the shutdown.
• Opponents of the law say that ObamaCare is an unpopular program that hurts Americans. The same was said about Medicare when it was implemented. Polls show that the more people understand what the law does, the more they like it. Since the health insurance marketplace opened up approval ratings of the law have been on the incline. Don’t listen to the rhetoric, keep reading and learn the facts about the Affordable Care Act.
• Congress isn’t exempt from ObamaCare and neither is the President. The President and his Executive branch can keep their plan because it was purchased before 2010, they have the same rights we do. The rest of congress and their staff have work based insurance, thus should be able to stay on their current plan as well. However, an amendment to the legislation made before it became law said they must use health insurance marketplace. They will use the marketplace, but since their staffers, making as little as $30,000 can’t get subsidies through the marketplace since they have access to employer-based coverage. Their employer, the Government, is allowed to cover part of the cost of their premiums. Since all members of Congress have been well aware of this since 2010, any other claim is a willful misrepresentation of the truth.
• Congress carefully designed ObamaCare so that it would not add to the budget deficit. In fact it cuts the deficit over a ten year period. The Republican budget relies on savings from ObamaCare including money from the Medical device tax and employer mandate, two key provisions that were attached to the Senate-passed funding bill for the fiscal year 2014 by House Republicans.
• The Medical device industry profits off of sick people, more people with insurance means more money for Hip implants, MRI scanners, and catheters. Like the tax on drug companies, the medical device tax is a fair tax on the sectors of the health care industry that will profit from the law. Since the tax applies equally to imported and domestically produced devices, and devices produced in the United States for export are tax-exempt. Industry analysts say innovation likely won’t be hurt either, nor will production costs.
• The claim that ObamaCare hurts small businesses is mostly untrue. Most small businesses will get access to cheaper health plans, get tax breaks and will not be responsible for the employer mandate. The requirement to insure employees means companies like McDonalds now have to provide health benefits to full-timers. Only .02% of businesses in the U.S. are affected by the mandate. Learn more about ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate.
• Although some companies have cut back employee hours to part-time status to avoid giving them benefits in anticipation of the 2015 employer mandate, companies like America’s largest employer Walmart have decided to embrace the law moving 35,000 part-time workers to full-time and covering them and their partners.
• Both the medical device tax and employer mandate help the majority of Americans without costing them anything and will result in millions of Uninsured working Americans getting health insurance.
State Level Tactics to Break Public Programs
An important and tricky concept to understand about “anti” tactics is the idea of moving things to a state level.
On one hand, states’ rights are one of the most important aspects of our country. On the other hand, leaving some decisions up to state’s opens the door for unequal treatment of people and unequal laws. The validity of the concept of states’ rights never changes, but the motives for invoking the right does. For example, just compare efforts to expand Medicaid to efforts to turn Medicaid into a block-grant program. One expands coverage, the other risks reducing coverage and leaves more money open for waste at a state level (theoretically, in practice it could work).
The argument against state-level programs isn’t a comment on a state’s ability, it is a comment on local officials being easier to corrupt.
Essentially it’s much easier and cheaper to influence state politics than federal politics. Groups like ALEC are well aware of this and work around the clock to pass very specific state laws that work against federal protections.
For instance, take Medicaid Expansion again. The 2012 supreme court decision let ObamaCare stand, but states were able to opt out of providing Medicaid to their state’s poorest without stopping their Medicaid funding.
Before the attempt to repeal ObamaCare all States had to implement Medicaid Expansion; up to 23 million men, women and children under the 138% Federal Poverty Level would get access to insurance.
That number has dropped to 15.9 million since some of the State’s who needed it the most, decided it would cost too much to implement, despite over 90% of the funding coming directly from the Federal tax dollars. This means that State’s that support ObamaCare provide their residents with better access to quality affordable health care.
As in the case of ‘right to work’ laws, it is much easier to take away people’s rights on a State level than it is to influence the entire Federal Government. On the other side of this coin, state rights are one of the most fundamental aspects of our country.
The Federalist Idea of Healthcare Reform at a State Level Sounds Good, but Why?
Moving healthcare to a state level sounds good, but the fact is that this tactic is not meant to provide healthcare to all Americans; it’s meant to make it easier to repeal Obamacare and reject portions of the bill. For anti-Obamacare folks to repeal Obamacare as a federal law, it would take Republican control of the majority of States, and the backing of the majority of Americans and their representatives.
Repealing Obamacare on a federal level would take a lot of political maneuvering and hundreds of millions of dollars spent by superPACs to back the right candidates and spread the message. However, “buying the vote” at a state level is much easier, especially now that Obamacare has become a very popular program in most parts of the country.
Perhaps ironically, perhaps not, the Federalist organization The Heritage Foundation (ALEC) helped to draft what is now ObamaCare some 25 years ago. They intended it to be used on a State Level, as in the case of RomneyCare. That same group now fervently backs the defund ObamaCare and repeal ObamaCare movements, as well as other organizations such as the tea party.
For more on the sometimes unspoken intentions behind why some interests want to move public programs to a state level, see Ideologies and Tactics Related to Defunding ObamaCare.
Why Defund ObamaCare, Why Repeal Obamacare?