Problems implementing health care overhaul only the beginning

August 26, 2013 

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The Affordable Care Act should be defunded — even the president concedes it’s not ready for prime time.

President Barack Obama has delayed the requirement that businesses with 50 or more employees provide health insurance. He has delayed the cap on how much an individual or family with insurance can be required to spend out-of-pocket. He’s delayed the exchanges through which small businesses were supposed to be able to find affordable health insurance. And he’s delayed checks to determine whether people who claim to qualify for subsidies to help them pay for health insurance actually qualify for such aid.

Don’t expect privacy when you buy health insurance on one of the health law’s exchanges, either, because the administration is late in employing security systems to keep your medical and financial information private, although this violates federal law.

And the administration has decided that so-called “navigators” — people who will receive up to $48 an hour to sign people up for health care — don’t have to have background checks before taking jobs that will give them access to your private information.

Eighty-two deadlines have come and gone. The administration has missed not 15 percent of them, not 25 percent of them, but a full 50 percent of them.

The health-care reform law was enacted by majorities in both the House and Senate in 2009, so it already has been a law in-waiting a full two years longer than the United States fought in World War I. Yet that still hasn’t been long enough for the administration that helped to write it — and which ardently supported it — to implement it according to the timetable it created for it.

The delays aren’t the only parts of the law that signal disaster.

As my colleague David Hogberg determined in a study published in August, young Americans — the so-called “young invincibles” who think they won’t get sick — are likely to drag their feet on buying health insurance because it will cost a lot, lot more than the fine for not buying it. This is yet another critical problem for the health-care law because premiums from the young and healthy were supposed to help reduce premiums for the older and sicker.

So expect the law to deliver even more health insurance premium increases, and if you a think being in Medicare will protect your wallet, think again. The president raided Medicare to disguise the true cost of the ACA to help get it passed.

The Affordable Care Act also kills jobs. According to a recent Gallup survey, the effects on employment have been nothing short of horrendous. With the law’s starting date only a month aware, 19 percent of businesses with less than $20 million in annual sales have already cut jobs. Forty-one percent of them say they have frozen hiring and an additional 38 percent have “pulled back on their plans to grow their business.”

Stories of businesses converting full-time jobs into part-time are all over the news.

Even a part of the law both the U.S. House and Senate agree should be repealed still sticks around like a bad hospital virus: the innovation and job-killing tax on medical devices.

One of the few aspects of the law the administration seemingly has managed to implement successfully is a song program.

You read that right.

It’s a federal program to give $3,000 of your tax money to the person who can create the best song, cartoon or video extolling the benefits of the law.

Seriously!

President Obama and his allies wrote the law exactly how they wanted it, and yet haven’t been able to implement it. What could be stronger evidence that the law is a dud?

The ACA is expected to cost the taxpayers $1.9 trillion over the next decade. Let’s save that money and replace the act with a health-care reform plan that can work.

Amy Ridenour is chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Readers may write to her at aridenour@nationalcenter .org.

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