Obamacare after the Election

The Independent Institute Tuesday’s election means that the Affordable Care Act won’t be repealed by a hostile Congress. But Obama’s signature initiative will undergo major changes. That’s because it’s rife with serious flaws that congressional Democrats will want to fix even if the House Republicans sit on their hands. In a recent op-ed for Townhall, healthcare economist and Independent Institute Research Fellow John C. Goodman looks at six flaws of Obamacare that lawmakers won’t be able to ignore. The first is that Obamacare is not paid for—not in any politically realistic way, that is.

Two Medicare Trustees reports, for example, predict that 14 percent of hospitals would be forced out of the Medicare system in the next eight years, due to Obamacare’s $716 billion cuts in Medicare spending. President Obama claimed to have found $716 billion in savings to cover the shortfall, but that was campaign rhetoric, according to Goodman. And because politicians are unlikely to reduce coverage for seniors, expect deficit spending to make up the difference.

Nor can Obamacare deliver what it promises—especially for our most vulnerable populations. One reason is that there simply aren’t enough doctors to see all of the formerly uninsured plus the existing patients who are supposed to have access to greater preventive care. “Those in plans that pay below market will be pushed to the rear of the lines,” Goodman writes. “These will be the elderly and the disabled on Medicare, poor people on Medicaid and (if the Massachusetts model is followed) the newly insured in subsidized plans in the health insurance exchanges.” Goodman also faults the healthcare law for the likely reduction of full-time employment in the restaurant and hotel industries and for creating perverse incentives that will lower the quality of care. “Again, these problems have nothing to do with Republican opposition,” he writes. “They are inherent in the legislation itself. Democrats will be forced to face them whether they want to or not.”

Did the Election Save Obamacare?, by John C. Goodman (Townhall, 11//12)