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The Birthday No One Wants to Celebrate: Obamacare’s Six Year Anniversary

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has turned into a nightmare for the working class, small businesses, and the economy in general. Despite claims to the contrary, the only thing ACA has accomplished is to have made healthcare even more distant to those who need it the most, and too unsustainable to maintain at a federal and state level.

March 22, 2016, marked the 6th anniversary of the passage of the ACA into law and the inevitable end of the healthcare sector as we knew it. To be all cushy, the White House released a statement praising the “success” of the ACA.

“We’ve made good progress in the last six years,” the White House announced, asserting that its healthcare policies are the premier system of the world. Yet, the Obama administration stated, “we still have more work to do.”

What work still needs to be done? Do you need to further destroy small businesses, funnel money into failing Medicaid expansions, or continue to violate religious liberties?

The truth of the matter is that the ACA is proving to be unsustainable. Here’s why…

First, insurance companies costs skyrocketed because of taxes, fines, and fees associated with new regulations. And reportedly, millions of consumers lost their healthcare coverage. In fact, it’s questionable as to how many the ACA has actually insured.

Second, the Congressional Budget Office reported that almost 30 million Americans will lose their employer based health coverage substantially, over the next few years.

“As a result of the ACA, between 4 million and 9 million fewer people are projected to have employment-based coverage each year from 2017 through 2026 than would have had such coverage if the ACA had never been enacted,” the report indicated.

Costs are not only going to increase for business owners but, obviously, for providers. The Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Association, an industry group of BCBS carriers, published a report that found individuals who were once insured by BCBS, and were then forced onto ACA plans in 2014 and 2015, are now sicker and more costlier than they were prior to accepting ACA coverage.

Though the correlation of sickness is not directly connected to the ACA according to law books, the cost increases should be indicative of the level care that is provided to ACA health exchange plans. Meaning, it’s horrible coverage.

For 2015, the BCBS report revealed that individuals who obtained healthcare plan coverage through the ACA exchanges were 22 percent higher than subsequent levels for employer-based health coverage. The Portland Press Herald, also pointed out that the “average monthly medical spending per member was $559 for individual enrollees in 2015, for example, versus $457 for group members.”

My research for The Heartland Institute has also found that BCBS affiliates all over the country, especially in North Carolina, are failing to maintain cost effectiveness. The Attorney General of North Carolina has even said that the ACA has “pummeled” the North Carolinian insurance market.

Also, the horrible and failing programs of the ACA cannot be forgotten. The most notable example would be the CO-OP program. CO-OP, or the Consumer Oriented and Operated Plan program was created as a part of the ACA to provide a “consumer” centric face for ACA mandates. Essentially, a private non-profit company would form and accept insurer funding for their unique plan directly from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS). However, the result is that of the 23 non-profit insurers formed; only 11 remain, with the majority of them falling apart at the seams.

The reason why CO-OP insurers are falling apart is because the CMS allocated less and less funding over a time of respective years of effectivity. One report suggested that the firms together owe over $1.2 billion to the federal government for failed business practices.

Last but not least, is how the ACA has eroded consumer rights and emptied their pocket books.

In 2015, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust reported that health deductibles will rise faster than premiums, wages, and even inflation.

Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Wall Street Journal, “over the past five years deductibles have risen almost seven times faster than wages and almost three times faster than premiums. Growth in deductibles has been especially pronounced in smaller firms, where the share of covered workers with a deductible of $1,000 or more has grown from 16% in 2006 to 63% in 2015.” Prescription drug prices are also much higher.

Yet, the most notable and atrocious controversy regarding the ACA, is the Zubik v. Burwell case heard before the Supreme Court, which challenges the ACA’s contraceptives mandate based on the grounds of religious freedom and religious-based employment.

Modern Healthcare reported that there may be even indecision on the case, partly in lieu of the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia but also in part to a question of opt-in/out of ACA contraceptive mandates from contracted insurers to religious non-profits. Religious groups argue they shouldn’t have to facilitate an opt-in/out agreement or be required to report it to the insurer or government, as suggested in oral arguments.

They’re right, they shouldn’t have too.

The ACA has proven that this approach to healthcare is not the answer. Nor is any other proposed plan that results in ultimate government control. The ACA has destroyed the health industry, small business, and has harmed consumers. Painting a picture of the ACA’s success and progress is nothing more than a lie, smacking right into the faces of the American people.

ObamaCare, happy birthday. If Congress doesn’t repeal it, or if a Democrat wins the White House, here’s to six more years of preparing the ultimate implosion of American health care and government.

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Michael McGrady

Michael McGrady’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Drudge Report, The Denver Post, and several other publications. Follow him: @MikeMcGrady2

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