Wicker Stays Focused on Full Repeal of Obamacare
Second Anniversary of President’s Health-Care Law Reveals More Costs, Broken Promises

Two years ago this week, President Obama signed his health-care overhaul into law – adding more big-government spending and costly mandates to an economy desperate for recovery. Time has revealed the true costs of the 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and Americans are ready for a full repeal.

At this crucial time for fiscal responsibility, the reckless policies of the Obama Administration continue to misuse taxpayer dollars. Last week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation updated their outlook of the health-care law’s impact on the federal budget. Their latest analysis says Obamacare will cost even more than anticipated – nearly $1.8 trillion over the next decade, or double the estimate that had accompanied the bill when Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives passed it in 2010.

Broken Promises

Not surprisingly, unmet expectations have become a recurrent theme. During his campaign, President Obama assured American families that his health-care reform would save them $2,500 in insurance premiums within his first term. Instead, as surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation have found, premiums have increased by nearly that much since he took office.

The President also promised that the new law would not force Americans to switch insurance plans. As time would tell, the law’s onerous regulations are actually discouraging employers from keeping coverage. According to the Administration’s own estimates, up to 80 percent of small businesses will drop their current plans by next year. In turn, more Americans will have to look to government-run programs for insurance – further driving up the national debt.

Costly Medicaid Mandate

Financial concerns are worrying states, too. The health-care law calls for the expansion of Medicaid, which is designed to assist disabled Americans and those with very low incomes. Beginning in 2014, the law would allow a married couple earning up to four times the federal poverty level, or $64,000 a year, to be eligible for the program. This rapid growth distorts Medicaid’s purpose and hampers its ability to help those who truly need it.

In our state, an estimated 400,000 new enrollees could join – costing Mississippi taxpayers between $225 million and $250 million more each year. To compensate for the heavier burden, state governments could be forced to make steep budget cuts elsewhere, putting important programs like education and law enforcement at risk.

The Medicaid mandate is among the parts of the health-care law currently under review by the Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments next week. Like the “individual mandate” requiring every American to buy health insurance, the costly stipulation is an unprecedented overstep of federal power.

Fighting for Repeal

I voted against the President’s health-care bill two years ago, and I remain committed to its full repeal. Until then, action to dismantle its harmful components should continue. Last year, we were successful in repealing the law’s burdensome requirement for businesses to report purchases over $600. I am encouraged by recent action in the House of Representatives to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) – a 15-member group of unelected bureaucrats the law has empowered to make important decisions about Medicare spending.

Before the President’s health-care reform was signed into law, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Two years later, now that Americans have learned what is in the law, it is clear this flawed piece of legislation is taking us in the wrong direction.

Sen. Roger Wicker Press Release