Obamacare as it currently sits on the books will never be implemented. It will topple of its own weight.
The law is drawing fire from nearly every quarter.
Union bosses are demanding exemptions lest their members be forced to either pay a steep tax on their generous union health plans or sharply reduce the benefits that those plans offer.
Members of Congress woke up one morning to find their staffs in revolt, as many of the very staffers who helped write the bill began to realize that the Frankenstein’s monster they had unleashed on the American people would terrorize them, too.
The Affordable Care Act was criticized for running to some 2,700 pages. Little did those critics appreciate the 20,000 pages-and-counting of regulations that were soon to come. Take a look at the “Red Tape Tower” (Twitter: #redtapetower) created by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It’s a seven-foot, three-inch tower of paper consisting of the Obamacare regulations that have so far been written.
That tower of regulation, fraught with potential penalties against physicians , is one factor hastening the departure of physicians from active practice while discouraging entry into critical fields such as family medicine. Every major medical organization now predicts a critical physician shortage in the next five years.
Even so, medical professionals are losing their jobs. Health care companies across the country are reacting to the bad economics of Obamacare by reducing staff. The prestigious Cleveland Clinic, specifically citing Obamacare, announced this week that it will begin immediately reducing its workforce by more than 3,000 employees.
For these and many other reasons, the Affordable Care Act is now in the throes of an irreversible process that has been dubbed by Peter Roff of U.S. News as, “delay, dismantle and do-over.”
The delay and dismantle began with President Obama’s order of dubious legality pushing back the implementation of the so-called “employer mandate.” As of today’ s ad hoc interpretation of the law by the administration, individual citizens will be required to have health insurance as of January 1, 2014 but employers won’t have to provide insurance until January 1, 2015.
In addition, the administration has now missed more than half of the implementation deadlines contained in the law. That those deadlines are being waived or simply ignored raises legal issues that are certain to find their way into the courts.
Thus we come to the “do-over.” That effort consists of the American Health Care Reform Act, a bill put forward by Republican Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
The bill does everything that should have been done with respect to health care from the start.
First, it levels the playing field with respect to taxes. Currently, those who have employer-provided health insurance don’t pay tax on the benefit. Individuals, however, must purchase coverage with after-tax dollars. Scalise’s bill fixes that inequity.
The inability to purchase across state lines has unnecessarily limited the market for health insurance, driving up prices. The bill solves that problem.
Small employers are currently at a disadvantage relative to large companies when it comes to buying group health plans. Scalise’s bill allows business to band together to purchase group coverage, spreading risk and thus driving down premiums.
The proposed American Health Care Reform Act goes on to provide federal money to state high risk pools for the purpose of covering pre-existing conditions, cap awards on punitive damages in medical lawsuits so as to reduce costly “defensive medicine” (something that we have already done in Texas) and mandate greater transparency in pricing and payments so that consumers will have the information necessary to make informed choices as to health care expenditures.
Rep. Scalise’s bill puts the lie to the Democrats’ charge that the Republicans have no ideas, only criticism. It also puts election-year Democrats in the position of defending Obamacare, a law that nobody likes.
The bottom line is this. Obamacare is so poorly conceived that it cannot ever actually function. The process of recognizing that fact and correcting it is slow and is a severe test of our patience.
But that process is now underway.