One Democrat Representative’s Misplaced Trust in Obamacare
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) 13% thinks that Republican lawmakers who oppose Obamacare oppose the law merely for political reasons. He suggested Monday morning on MSNBC that Republicans “don’t want all Americans to have health care.”
It’s unclear where he finds evidence for such bold claims, but Rep. Meeks made some interesting assertions about Obamacare that are easily disputed.
1. “Over time… this program will be successful.”
Millions of Americans have found out they will lose their current health plan due to Obamacare. Careful analysis shows Obamacare will erode the doctor-patient relationship, centralize control, and increase costs. It will do serious damage to the practice of medicine by subjecting physicians to more government regulation and exacerbate an already existing doctor shortage in the U.S. Many Americans will not have access to the doctors they trust.
The glaring lack of competition in the Obamacare exchanges will leave Americans with little choice of health care plans and increased costs, and as Heritage’s Alyene Senger notes, Obamacare “almost completely failed to increase insurance market competition.”
The law has already and will continue to have devastating effects on small business, jobs, and employment. Because Obamacare makes employer-sponsored health insurance more costly, employers will react by reducing wages, and in the long term, by hiring fewer employees.
The Obama Administration may think that Obamacare pushing Americans out of work will allow them “pursue their dreams,” but fewer Americans working is not a good thing.
2. “It will bring down all costs.”
Heritage Foundation analysts have demonstrated that health care costs will increase under Obamacare in most states, especially for young people. Obamacare also creates two new entitlements and adds more than $1.8 trillion in new spending by 2023.
3. “It will stop people from having to go to the emergency room for primary care.”
That is not necessarily true. Medicaid is the destination for many uninsured Americans in the Obamacare scheme. Because Medicaid reimburses physicians at a much lower rate than private insurance, ” many physicians limit the number of Medicaid beneficiaries they see or drop Mediciad altogether, reducing Medicaid enrollees’ access to primary care and prompting many to overutilize emergency room care.” Studies have shown that under Obamacare, emergency room usage may actually increase. One study concludes, “emergency room physicians can expect to see 68.1 million more Medicaid patients in emergency departments as a direct result of the Obama reform.”
4. “Because people will have preventive medicine at their fingertips now, it will stop people from being sick over the long haul.”
People will still get sick under Obamacare, but the truth is, they will not have easy access to the doctors of their choice. Having low-quality, Medicaid-style health insurance is not the same thing as having access to quality care.
In fact, Republican lawmakers like Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) 72% and Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) 75% have sponsored bills that would facilitate Americans’ ability to access quality, affordable health care. Rep. Price has a bill called the Empowering Patients First Act (H.R. 2300) while Rep. Roe sponsored the American Health Care Reform Act (H.R. 3121).
Rep. Meeks claims Republicans oppose Obamacare merely for political reasons, but the fact is, Republicans have ample reasons from a policy perspective to offer better solutions.
If they’re looking for political reasons, they can look to the polls. Most Americans oppose Obamacare, and it’s popularity continually plummets. The outlook for Obamacare is not as rosy as Rep. Meeks suggests.