by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Ten years ago this month, when President Obama Barack was signing Obamacare into law, Vice President Joe Biden said to him in a stage whisper “This is a big f***ing deal.” A decade later, Obamacare has turned out to be a big f***ing failure. And Biden is now promising to expand it.
Remember “you can keep your plan”? Or “family premiums will go down by $2,500”? How about the claim that Obamacare would cut the number of uninsured in half? That it would dramatically reduce the federal deficit? And that it would make the health care industry more efficient?
None of it came true. The very name of the law – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – was an exercise in false advertising.
Affordable? Premiums in the individual market doubled in Obamacare’s first four years. The result was that millions of middle-class families found themselves priced out of the insurance market altogether. Patient protection? Those who could afford the premiums faced enormous deductibles for HMO-style plans that strictly limited which doctors they could see and hospitals they could use – unless they wanted to pay the entire costs out of pocket.
Those who get insurance through work didn’t see any savings, either. Where Obama promised that families would see premiums drop by $2,500, they went up faster in the five years after Obamacare than in the five years before. (Premiums for employer-provided family coverage climbed 27% from 2010 to 2015, compared with 26% from 2005 to 2010, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.)
Overhead costs now claim a bigger share of national health spending than they did before Obamacare – going from 6.7% in 2010 to 8.4% in 2018, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.