May 22

ObamaCare: More Unintended Consequences

by Wayne W. Oliver, Vice President, Center for Health Transformation
Originally published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on October 5, 2011

Since its passage, President Obama’s federal health reform has resulted in a series of unintended consequences. Just last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study which indicates that ObamaCare has caused annual family health insurance premiums to increase at a rate three times higher than in 2010.

ObamaCare has created way too many unintended consequences.

Remember the ObamaCare provision which guaranteed issue of health insurance for children? It was intended to ensure that kids who were sick or had pre-existing conditions could obtain health coverage. However, the unintended consequence? Many health insurers made the business decision to no longer offer so-called “children only” health insurance policies and thousands of children no longer have access to coverage in their state.

Remember how federal health reform was supposed to reduce overall costs? When ObamaCare was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, the price tag was just over $800 billion. The latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) figures put the price tag at well over $2 trillion. More unintended consequences.

Remember the 1099 provision of ObamaCare? Yes, it was the first provision to be repealed but its intended purpose was to tighten up the tax code. The unintended consequence would have created paperwork nightmares for small businesses and individuals.

Remember how ObamaCare was supposed to reduce the number of uninsured? Well, according to Commonwealth Fund, there are now more individuals and more families without health insurance than before ObamaCare was passed. More unintended consequences.

Remember how ObamaCare was supposed to increase the numbers of employers that provided health insurance for their employees? Just the opposite effect has occurred. More and more employers are deciding to no longer offer health coverage or shifting more of the cost to their employees.

Remember how ObamaCare was supposed to use Medicaid to expand coverage for those who didn’t have health insurance? Well, 26 states are suing the federal government over the impact that ObamaCare will have on their state’s budget and their citizens. The lawsuit is likely to be decided by the US Supreme Court. In the mean time, in anticipation of additional unfunded mandates as a result of ObamaCare, state Medicaid agencies all over the nation are rapidly reducing Medicaid rolls and reducing covered services. More unintended consequences.

So the Kaiser study released last week showing how ObamaCare has resulted in dramatic premium increases for families is just the latest in a series of unintended consequences. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will hear the case and direct Congress to re-think reform. Then, we can engage the American people in a real conversation and pass meaningful, marketplace-driven, private sector-based health reform that saves lives, saves money and eliminates the unintended consequences of ObamaCare.

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