Today, Congress will undertake its second vote to repeal the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA). We were promised that we needed to pass the bill to know what’s in it, and many of those who now know have come to the conclusion that the bill is Orwellian, with effects that are the opposite of its rhetoric.
But amazingly, most people still don’t know what’s in it, or the effects these changes will have, including the parts they think they like.
What precipitates this vote, of course, is that last month Chief Justice Roberts ignored the legislative history of the law and went with the administration’s for-legal-purposes-only claim that the mandate wasn’t a mandate but a tax.
His deciding vote led the Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare as a Constitutional exercise of Congress’ taxing power. Justice Roberts therefore not only arrogated to the Court the legislative powers that properly belong with Congress, but opened the door to future abuses and expansions of government power through taxation, even on “inactivity.”
This sets a dangerous precedent in Constitutional jurisprudence, but clearly puts the issue of Obamacare back into the hands of Congress. It’s up to Congress now to do what the Supreme Court did not, and protect the American people from the negative consequences of this law.
Among these consequences are reduced freedom, liberty, and choice, higher taxes, greater debt, higher health insurance costs, higher cost of employment, more government regulations, fewer options, less innovation, lower quality care, and ultimately fewer lives saved. Having your choices be dictated, and having none of them be choices you want, is no choice at all.
Of course, the administration claims popular support for aspects of this law, but that support is based on partial information that leaves out the costs and failures of the purported benefits.
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, Independent Women’s Voice commissioned a poll of 800 randomly selected likely female voters. Although the sample was 45 percent Democrats and 31 percent Republicans, these women still favored Obamacare repeal 56-38. Only 28 percent of Independents want to keep it as is; 63 percent want to see it repealed in whole or in part.
That response comes despite woefully low awareness of key realities. Knowledge of the consequences of the PPACA is shockingly low – which matters because as voter knowledge of its consequences increases, support for repeal increases even further.
In this survey, for example:
- Only 25 percent of the women we surveyed knew that just by itself, the age-26 rule mandating insurers accept adult children has added to premium costs for the average family, even if they are childless, by between $150 and $450.
- Only 36 percent knew that this provision has already resulted in some employers dropping all types of dependent coverage to avoid these additional costs.
- Only 18 percent knew that spending on the program is more than double what was promised.
- Only 21 percent knew that enrollment in the law’s pre-existing condition pool – estimated to include 700,000 individuals – had only enrolled 56,000.
- Only 12 percent knew that the law required people with even chronic pre-existing conditions to go uninsured for six months before becoming eligible for the pool.
- Only 22 percent knew that insurance companies are already abandoning child-only policies because they cannot afford to comply with the pre-existing condition provision.
- Only 32 percent knew that even after full implementation, the law leaves 23 million people – almost half of the total uninsured, and the reason given for passage – without coverage.
Imagine how many more Americans will support repeal when they learn these facts. (If you want to see the sourcing on these facts, and learn others as well, go to HealthReformQuestions.com, which pulls together the best data available from publicly accepted sources on these issues.)
Repeal is only the first step, because we need to truly reform, not just replace, a broken medical system.
We should continue working to get the federal government out of American health care altogether, creating a system that serves doctors and patients, not special interests and bureaucrats, so that individuals can be in control of their own health care dollars, states can find solutions tailored to their unique needs, and doctors can provide truly patient-centered care free of bureaucratic government intrusion.
Today’s vote is but the first step, and if that fails, November’s election. Quality health care should be a non-partisan issue, and we hope that all sides will come together to allow doctors and their patients, not bureaucrats, politicians, and their pals, to truly be in charge of their medical choices.
Hadley Heath is a senior health policy analyst at Independent Women’s Voice. Heather Higgins is the organizations' president and chief executive officer.