President must address Obamacare ‘train wreck’
When even a key architect of Obamacare says the law‚Äôs implementation will resemble a ‚Äútrain wreck,‚ÄĚ it is clear that its biggest remaining supporters need to finally level with the American people about what‚Äôs in store ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ before its major components take effect. He could start by delivering a major address, just as he did to push the law‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúkiosk‚ÄĚ store model that will allow it to cut down on full-time employees.
We‚Äôve even seen a union reverse its position on the law and call for repeal, partially because it could ‚Äúcause a loss of work.‚ÄĚ
Clearly, this isn‚Äôt the ‚Äúreform‚ÄĚ Americans were promised. That‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄĒ and now ‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôs coming.
The very same Democratic lawmakers who worked tirelessly to pass the law are now pretending to be mere spectators to its effects ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď he won‚Äôt be running again. So there‚Äôs 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‚Äôve 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 ‚ÄúPonzi scheme.‚ÄĚ The Senate last month voted overwhelmingly to repeal the law‚Äôs job-killing medical device tax.
As the country learns more about this law, it‚Äôs 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‚Äôs supporters are reduced to hoping the law‚Äôs implementation will not amount to ‚Äúa Third World experience,‚ÄĚ 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