Freedomnomics

Article published Friday, January 21, 2011, at Fox News.

Most Americans Don't Want the Health Care Law That Was Passed and Efforts to Repeal It Must Continue

By John R. Lott, Jr.

Americans are unhappy with ObamaCare. The House’s 245-189 vote to repeal ObamaCare on Wednesday was never really in doubt. In fact, The latest Rasmussen survey shows that 55 percent of Americans want ObamaCare repealed, the same number that showed up in polls when people voted in early November. Seventy five percent of Americans want the law changed.

The repeal measure now goes to the Senate. But despite holding a majority in the Senate, Democrats are refusing to hold a vote and publicly support the law. The public opposition shouldn't come as a surprise as the health care law signed by President Obama bears little resemblance to the one he promised during the 2008 campaign. The law broke multiple different promises on taxes and costs twice as much as what Obama said that it would cost during the campaign. ObamaCare was sold to Americans as an essential law to reduce health care costs.

"Then there's the problem of rising costs. . . . Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing," President Obama warned when he addressed a joint session of Congress on health care on September 9, 2009. "Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most. And more will die as a result."

Few now believe that the law will help control costs. A new Rasmussen survey shows 58 percent of voters believe ObamaCare will increase the costs of health care and 60 percent believe it will increase the deficit.

After ObamaCare passed, company after company alerted their shareholders, as they are mandated, that the law increased their cost of providing employees with health care. Just a few of the companies announcing higher costs were: AT&T, $1 billion; Verizon, $970 million; Deere & Co., $150 million; Boeing, $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; Prudential Financial Inc., $100 million; and Lockheed Martin, $96 million.

No companies seem to have announced reductions in costs. Some companies passed on much of these higher costs to their workers. The Associated Press reported:

"Aerospace giant Boeing is joining the list of companies that say the new health care law could have a potential downside for their workers. In a letter mailed to employees [in the middle of October], the company cited the overhaul as part of the reason it is asking some 90,000 nonunion workers to pay significantly more for their health plan next year."

Still others face the problem that no matter how happy their employees are with the current plan, the programs that they offer will be illegal: "McDonald's had raised questions about whether a limited benefit plan that serves some 30,000 of its employees would remain viable under the law."

To date, 222 organizations, including McDonald's, have been granted one-year waivers for the regulations and this has temporarily put off the day that they will be forced to drop insurance for their workers.

As for the federal deficit, ObamaCare double-counted savings from Medicare and ignored discretionary spending costs mandated by the law. The large number of private companies dropping health insurance also implies that ObamaCare will have to cover more uninsured than had previously been budgeted for.

Finally, by delaying the full implementation of the law for four years, the ten-year budgeting cycle used by the Fox NewsCongressional Budget Office hid the true long-term impact on the deficit. Democrats counted ten years of tax revenues, but only six years of expenditures.

During the first 10 years that the law is fully implemented, the deficit will increase by $701 billion. Despite the long list of broken promises, the Obama administration tried, as usual, last-minute scare tactics to influence the House vote.

Supposedly between 50 million and 129 million non-elderly Americans suffer from some pre-existing condition that insurance companies can use to deny coverage. But this estimate squares poorly with what has been discovered over the last year. Just last April, the Obama administration estimated that 375,000 people who had been prevented from buying insurance due to pre-existing conditions would sign up quickly for a heavily subsidized government insurance program, the so-called Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans.

But as of November 1st, only 8,011 people had enrolled. So much for the Obama administration knowing about who faces pre-existing conditions and their consequences.

No wonder ObamaCare was rammed through Congress without giving anyone time to read the bill, let alone have the time to analyze its costs for taxpayers, corporations, and insurance holders.

The law is not what was promised, and by raising costs and getting companies to drop their health insurance programs it makes the problems that it was supposed to fix worse. Americans shouldn’t be stuck with such a costly and important law that Senate Democrats are afraid to publicly support.

John R. Lott Jr. is a FOXNews.com contributor. He is an economist and the author of "More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press, 2010), the third edition of which was published in May.".

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