Health Subcommittee Reviews Next Wave of Obamacare Problems

November 14, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), today held a hearing on “Obamacare Implementation Problems: More than Just a Broken Website.” The hearing is the latest in the committee’s examination of the negative consequences of the president’s health care law. Despite repeated assurances from the Obama administration that “If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period,” cancellation notices have surpassed the number of people who have even “selected” a plan in the exchanges by nearly 50 times. Despite the promise that families would save an average of $2,500 per year, premiums are skyrocketing by as much as 400 percent.  

“Since the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov on October 1, Americans have learned even more about the Affordable Care Act. They have learned that if you like your plan, there is a good chance you have or will lose it. Premiums and deductibles are going up, not down, as a result of Obamacare,” said Pitts.

Beyond these broken promises, today’s hearing further examined the expansion of Medicaid, which could receive an additional 26 million new enrollees as a result of the law. This would further strain the program, a vital safety net for many Americans. With nearly one in four Americans enrolled in Medicaid at one point in 2012, the program’s ability to fulfill its stated goals and help those who need it most could be jeopardized.

Dr. Roger Stark of the Washington State Policy Center for Health Care noted that, “The ultimate consequence of this broad expansion of government into health care has been to ‘crowd out’ private insurance. Over 20 percent of adults and 27 percent of children in the existing Medicaid already had private insurance at the time they enrolled. Obviously, many people dropped their private coverage when seemingly ‘free health care’ became available. As Medicaid has expanded, it is now estimated that up to one half of current new enrollees already had private coverage. As employers, especially in low-wage industries, drop employee health benefits, this crowd out effect will only get worse in the expanded Medicaid.”

Avik Roy, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, discussed independent research by the Institute, which follows up on an analysis by the Energy and Commerce Committee showing the health care law will significantly increase premiums. “Our analysis found that the average state will see a 41 percent increase in underlying premiums, prior to the impact of subsidies. Among the states seeing large increases are North Carolina (136%), Georgia (92%), Michigan (66%), Louisiana (53%), Kentucky (47%), and Illinois (43%). Our analysis did find that eight states will see average premiums decrease under the law, including New York (-40%) and New Jersey (-19%). Of the six categories we studied, 27-year-old men face the steepest increases, with an average hike of 77 percent. 40-year-old women see the mildest increases, with an average of 18 percent,” said Roy.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton added, “These past 45 days have provided a disturbing glimpse of what reality looks like under the Affordable Care Act – millions of Americans are losing their private, affordable coverage, premiums are skyrocketing, Medicaid

is enduring an untenable expansion diverting it from its core mission, and a website continues to frustrate Americans online, and will continue to do so long after November 30. The results, correctly described in recent news reports, have been ‘nothing short of disastrous.’”

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