August 21, 2014
Ithaca, NY 72°F | Rain

Columns

Tensions flare with Obamacare

Those who watched President Obama’s State of the Union Address on Jan. 28 may have noticed his wonderful use of anecdotal evidence. The president used the story of Amanda Shelley, a single mother working as a physician’s assistant in Arizona. Shelley sadly did not have health insurance, but received it Jan. 1 — and just in time, too. Five days later, she experienced sharp pains, forcing her to have surgery. According to the president, Shelley could not have afforded that operation if it were not for the Affordable Care Act.

Anyone listening to this story would be quick to assume, because the act is actually helping someone, it must be a success. But this emotional appeal doesn’t apply to everyone. It also cannot blind those who have the numbers, provided by the Cato Institute, which show just what kind of vacuous piece of legislation Obamacare really is.

First and foremost, Obamacare should not be referred to as universal health care. Only 2.2 million people out of 313.9 million U.S. citizens have signed up for the program. Even this number is only of those who have “picked” a health care plan, which means that they did not necessarily purchase it. Only 1.5 million people have actually bought a plan, and it will cost the government $2.7 trillion over the next 10 years. With the current number of people enrolled, the government will pay $1.8 million for every person helped. Now that’s what this writer calls cost efficient. It really puts the affordable in the Affordable Care Act.

At least the act will be able to help those 5–10 million Americans who lost their original policy with the new regulations. These regulations forced insurance companies to drop current policyholders because of the costs. These new policies accrued afterward, which has forced many people to pay more for insurance. Sadly though, 500,000 people have lost their insurance entirely. That isn’t the end of it. Later in the year, more people’s plans will turn to dust when the act forces employers to change their employees’ plans. This will affect around 78 million people.

This legislation is simply unsustainable. Only 24 percent of people under age 35 have enrolled, which is not the necessary 38 percent to offset the costs of covering the old and the sick.

Hopefully the plan will be scraped into the dustbin of history. But judging from the current administration’s policies, it will probably be bailed out. It seems politicians just throw their citizens under the bus while telling them they are being helped.