The Politics Of Postponing Obamacare

It has been more than three years since President Obama and Congressional Democrats passed their overhaul of our nation’s health care system. From its inception, the Affordable Care Act – commonly referred to as ObamaCare – has been fraught with unworkable mandates, impossibly complex regulations and unintended consequences.

Despite the president’s assurance that his proposal would expand Americans’ access to quality health care, in reality his law will force many who were previously insured to either pay more for their insurance or lose their coverage.

For example, the Associated Press recently reported that some individuals who purchase their own health insurance may lose it because their plans do not meet the standards imposed by ObamaCare. Specifically, younger, healthier people who buy less comprehensive plans will be forced to purchase policies they do not need, do not want and cannot afford. This seems to directly contradict the president’s pledge that “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”

And this is just the most recent example in a long line of failed expectations and broken promises. The president promised his bill would not raise taxes on those making less than $250K, yet we have learned the law contains 12 new tax increases that will directly hit the middle class. He promised that his bill would not add a dime to the deficit, but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the law will add $6.2 trillion to our debt. He promised his law would help 30 million Americans who are uninsured get coverage, yet CBO released a report showing that 31 million people would still be without coverage in 2023 despite the government spending trillions of dollars on ObamaCare.

ObamaCare’s shortcomings have grown so apparent that even some of the law’s most ardent supporters have started voicing their concerns. One of the law’s chief architects, Senator Max Baucus of Montana, warned of a “huge train wreck” regarding the law’s implementation. Labor unions, who solidly backed the law, are now saying that insurance costs for millions of workers will increase. Some union leaders have estimated that nearly 20 million people will see higher premiums under ObamaCare.

Over the last three years House Republicans have put forth and passed numerous bills that would repeal the health care law so that we can implement real, patient-centered reforms. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have blocked our efforts by preventing this legislation from reaching the Senate floor.

However, there is now an effort underfoot by Congressional Democrats and their allies in the Obama administration to postpone implementation of key provisions of ObamaCare.

What could account for this sudden change? Politics of course.

When ObamaCare was passed, its authors front-loaded the bill with provisions that enjoyed broad support, like allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until they turn 26. Most of the onerous regulations, taxes and penalties were pushed back until after the 2012 presidential election. But while the president no longer has to worry about an election, many Congressional Democrats do.

With ObamaCare now less than a year away, those who supported the bill are deeply concerned with the ramifications it will have on our economy, our seniors and our middle class. And they are extremely nervous that once voters get a taste of ObamaCare in January of 2014, they will hold them accountable at the voting booth. By postponing the law, they hope to avoid its political fallout.

In fact, just last week the Obama administration announced they will delay a major portion of the bill that establishes insurance marketplaces for small businesses. These insurance marketplaces were a major selling point for the law, but now the administration claims they are “too complicated” to implement at this time.

Republicans and those who seek to do away with ObamaCare must be careful of these tactics. Make no mistake: Delaying portions of the law is not the same as repealing it. While I wholeheartedly agree that we must prevent ObamaCare from being implemented, the only acceptable way to do that is through full repeal. In fact, simply postponing the law’s implementation on an ad hoc basis will only exacerbate concerns and uncertainty. It would be bad for the economy and bad for our nation’s health care system.

If those who previously supported ObamaCare are truly concerned about its disastrous effects, then they should join House Republicans in repealing the law and not simply try to postpone it until a more politically convenient time.

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