According to a recently released report, extending employer-provided health coverage to the average American family equates to buying that family a moderately-priced car every single year. This provides further proof that Barack Obama “sold” a lemon to the American people in the form of Obamacare.
The inexorable rise in health care costs—a rise that candidate Obama pledged to reverse—shows how Obamacare has failed to deliver on its promise. Yet Democrats want to “solve” the problems Obamacare is making worse through even more government regulations, taxes, and spending. Struggling American families deserve relief from both the failed status quo, and Democrats’ desire to put that failed status quo on steroids.
Study of Employer Plans
Release of the annual survey of employer-provided health insurance revealed that, for the first time, the average premium for family coverage exceeded $20,000 in 2019—$20,576, to be exact. That figure compares to $12,680 in 2008, the year Barack Obama was elected to office. Recall that in that same year, candidate Obama repeatedly promised his health plan would lower the average family’s premium by $2,500 per year:
Obamacare has failed to deliver on that pledge, as premiums continue to rise higher and higher:
Obamacare’s failure to deliver on its promise has cost the American people trillions of dollars; the average family has spent tens of thousands of dollars in higher health insurance premiums because Obamacare has not met candidate Obama’s pledges.
Why has Obamacare failed to deliver? Several reasons stand out. First, its numerous regulatory requirements on insurance companies raised rates, in part by encouraging individuals to consume additional care.
The pre-existing condition provisions represent the prime driver of premium increases in the exchange market, according to a Heritage Foundation paper from last year. However, because employer-sponsored plans largely had to meet these requirements prior to Obamacare, they have less bearing on the increase in employer-sponsored premiums.
Second, Obamacare encouraged consolidation within the health care sector—hospitals buying hospitals, hospitals buying physician practices, physician practices merging, health insurers merging, and so on. While providers claim their mergers will provide better care to patients, they also represent a way for doctors and hospitals to demand higher payments from insurers. Reporting has shown how hospitals’ monopolistic practices drive up prices, raising rates for patients and employers alike.
Same Song, Different Verse
How do Democrats propose to remedy the problem of ever-rising health care costs and premiums? With the same “solutions” that failed to deliver under Obamacare.
More Regulations: On issues like “surprise” billing or drug pricing, Democrats’ favored proposals would impose price controls on some or all segments of the health care industry. These price controls would likely limit the supply of care provided, while also reducing its quality.
More Spending: Most Democratic proposals, whether by presidential candidates, liberal think-tanks, or members of Congress, include major amounts of new spending to make health care “affordable” for the American people—an implicit omission that Obamacare (a.k.a. the “Affordable Care Act”) has not delivered for struggling families.
More Taxes: Even though some don’t wish to admit it, the Democratic candidates for president have all proposed plans that would necessitate major tax increases, from the hundreds of billions to the tens of trillions of dollars—even though at least two of those candidates have failed to pay new taxes imposed by Obamacare itself.
More Government Control: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has famously proposed a single-payer health care plan that would make all private health coverage “unlawful.” And former representative Robert Francis O’Rourke (D-Texas) has endorsed a plan that would literally ban private health care—prohibiting doctors from accepting cash for any medical service covered by a government-run health plan, even if an individual wants to opt-out of the government system.
The latest increase in employer-sponsored health premiums demonstrates that hard-working families deserve better than Obamacare. It also illustrates why the American people deserve better than the new Democratic plans to impose more big government “solutions” in the wake of Obamacare’s failure.