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Anniversary of Health Care Law is a Reminder of Broken Promises to Wyoming

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi

Two years have passed since Congress passed health care reform and President Obama signed it into law. Now finally,  the Supreme Court has begun hearing some six hours of testimony this week on the case challenging the Constitutionality of  The Affordable Health Care Act, filed by the FLIB and 26 states, including Wyoming. Our own Senator Mike Enzi has written an interesting guest commentary on his thoughts regarding The Act. Please take some time to read them posted below, and share with us your comments and thoughts.
~~By Senator Mike Enzi~~

Friday, March 23, marked the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s $2.6 trillion health care law.  This monstrous injection of government into the medical decisions of every American has proven to be everything but what was actually promised by those who rammed the bill through Congress.

During the health care debate, my colleagues and I voiced concerns with how the new health care law could cause millions of Americans to pay higher health insurance premiums unless serious changes were made.  These concerns were ignored and Americans are now seeing their health insurance premiums increase.  Several states, like Minnesota and Wisconsin, may actually experience catastrophic increases of more than 40 percent.  Those in Wyoming that purchase their own health insurance coverage, like our farm and ranch families, could see their health insurance premiums rise by more than $2,000 according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  Instead of lowering the cost of health care for everyone, this law increases it for many.

Democrat leaders in Congress and the Administration crafted this legislation behind closed doors without any contributions from the other side.  The President repeatedly promised that negotiations for health care reform would be public and transparent.  It was neither, and Americans are still struggling to understand how this new law will affect them.

At last count, the Administration has issued 11,161 pages of new rules to implement its various provisions.  This tsunami of new regulations is expected to force 80 percent of small businesses to lose their current health plans, drive insurance agents out of business, define the benefits we must purchase, and mandate religious employers to violate their rights to religious freedom.  Over the next year, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will likely make dozens of additional regulatory decisions that will have direct financial impacts upon Wyoming taxpayers, health insurers, providers, drug and device manufacturers, and employers seeking to offer health insurance to their employees.

The huge volume of new regulations prevents patients, employers, and insurers from seeing the totality of the new law, such as the threat to our free market system as the federal government gradually takes control of the entire insurance marketplace.  This strategy also prevents the American public from having enough time to truly comprehend the regulations and understand how these changes will actually affect them and their businesses.

The most disappointing and disturbing aftermath of the new health care law may be the amount of hardworking people in Wyoming who will lose the option to choose their own insurance.  The President repeatedly promised these Americans that they would be able to keep their insurance if they liked it.  Unfortunately, that this is not the case.  Costly new rules required by the health care law are forcing insurance firms in states like Colorado, Indiana and Wyoming to drastically reduce insurance choice.  According to the American Medical Association, these changes mean that four out of five metropolitan areas in the nation will not have a competitive insurance market.  Less competition means higher prices for everyone.

Another selling point for the health care law was that it would save the government money.  But the Congressional Budget Office recently released a new estimate that shows that health care exchange subsidies are going to increase by 52 percent over the next 10 years.  This means the nation’s bill for this entitlement program will keep rising year after year.  Even more disturbing, this report also acknowledges that 4 million fewer people will have access to health insurance from their employers, forcing more people into the government run Medicaid program.  For the first time in estimating the new health care law, CBO contends the costs of forcing more Americans on government programs like Medicaid will surge and drive the gross cost of the new health care law to more than $1.7 trillion, which is almost double the original estimate.

Even after printing piles of money to pay for the President’s new health care law, and forcing thousands of pages of new regulations on small businesses, this measure will still leave 27 million people without health insurance.  Congress should renew its focus on health laws that will actually lower health care costs, help employers and allow Americans to keep the plans they want.  It is time for real health care reform that puts the health decisions into the hands of Wyoming families and their doctors, not Washington bureaucrats.

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