President must address Obamacare ‘train wreck’

By Mitch McConnell
April 24, 2013

When even a key architect of Obamacare says the law’s implementation will resemble a “train wreck,” it is clear that its biggest remaining supporters need to finally level with the American people about what’s in store — starting with President Barack Obama.

The president must step into the breach and explain to the public that skyrocketing premiums and a raft of new taxes, penalties and fees are coming their way.

It may not be easy, but the president has a responsibility to explain as frankly as possible what this law will mean — before its major components take effect. He could start by delivering a major address, just as he did to push the law’s passage, laying out exactly what Americans can expect. He should also instruct his Cabinet secretaries to explain what this could mean as well. Families and businesses across America need time to prepare — and that means they need to know the facts.

Here are just a few we already know:

For many families and individuals, especially younger Americans, the law will lead to increased health insurance premiums. These have already gone up $2,370 per family since Obama took office, not down by $2,500 as he promised. And this is before most of Obamacare’s most costly mandates have even taken effect.

For many business owners, Obamacare will mean a crushing tower of red tape, demonstrated by the nearly 20,000 pages of regulations already issued. Employers have already planned layoffs due to uncertainty surrounding this law, according to the Federal Reserve. Obamacare could result in up to 800,000 fewer jobs, according to some estimates.

For many part-time workers, the law means less take-home pay as employers reduce hours to comply with the law’s mandates. Colleges in Ohio and Pennsylvania are reportedly limiting the number of classes adjunct professors can teach; Virginia state agencies are reducing part-time employee hours to no more than 29, and a national soft-pretzel chain has begun moving to a “kiosk” store model that will allow it to cut down on full-time employees.

We’ve even seen a union reverse its position on the law and call for repeal, partially because it could “cause a loss of work.”

Clearly, this isn’t the “reform” Americans were promised. That’s why Republicans asked the president to begin this needed dialogue with the American people in his February State of the Union address. His refusal to do so then — and now — is only making matters worse. I understand that delivering these hard truths might be difficult for the president after all the promises he made. But it must be done to prepare Americans for what’s coming.

The very same Democratic lawmakers who worked tirelessly to pass the law are now pretending to be mere spectators to its effects – trying, for example, to blame agency bureaucrats for this impending train wreck. Candid truth-telling from the president has never been more necessary. After all, the election is over – he won’t be running again. So there’s simply no reason to hide the painful consequences of Obamacare from the public.

Republicans, meanwhile, are planning to continue the fight for full repeal. We’ve already had some notable success. Earlier this year, Democrats helped us repeal a key element of Obamacare known as the CLASS Act, which even a prominent Democrat likened to an unsustainable “Ponzi scheme.” The Senate last month voted overwhelmingly to repeal the law’s job-killing medical device tax.

As the country learns more about this law, it’s my hope that even more lawmakers will acquire the political courage to look at its effects and reach the same conclusion.

So I will continue to urge more Democrats to join Republicans in averting this train wreck.

The president should at least be straight with the American people about what this law will mean. Because when Obamacare’s supporters are reduced to hoping the law’s implementation will not amount to “a Third World experience,” as one administration official recently put it, you can be sure that trouble is on the way.

PHOTO (Top): An intern at the House Energy and Commerce Committee sits with stacks of paperwork for a mark-up of the healthcare legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 29, 2009. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

PHOTO (Insert A): President Barack Obama makes a statement about the Supreme Court’s decision on his administration’s healthcare law in the White House in Washington, June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Luke Sharrett

PHOTO (Insert B): Boxes of amendments line chairs during the House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting to mark up the  Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 on Capitol Hill in Washington July 30, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley



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American healthcare is overly Government regulated and, hence, overpriced and of poor quality. The USA ranks at the bottom of the OECD “developed” countries in quality outcomes and at the top in cost. Can any red blooded capitalist tell me how such a thing is possible without Government barriers to competition?

How about we subcontract our health care to the British National Health Service? Outside of absorbing such a huge country, they certainly lower costs and improve outcomes and would be less involved in maintaining Government barriers to competition. And the rich can keep their doctors too, but not with tax dollars as in the USA.

Posted by usagadfly | Report as abusive

“American healthcare is overly Government regulated…”??? The health insurance industry and for-profit and pseudo- not-for-profit hospitals interactively drive healthcare costs up about 10% a year. They do this by price fixing and monopolistic anti-competitive strategies. The insurance companies just pass the increases along and take their cut. But Americans are too stupid to figure this out and do something about it. The only hope is in action. And look what happened when Obama actually did something – it will be the idiots’ cause celebre for the next century.

Posted by foiegras | Report as abusive

If President Obama were Jesus and walked on water, Mitch McConnell would hate him regardless of the issues. In a good old Republican tradition (no I am not a Democrat) Senator McConnell has no alternative to offer. I wonder how money McConnell collects from the insurance industry each year to perform like a buffoon.

Posted by DarkerThanAmber | Report as abusive