In Case You Missed It: Affordable Care Act is too Flawed to be Fixed

Jul 11, 2013 Issues: Health

Affordable Care Act is too Flawed to be Fixed

By Congressman Diane Black

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Despite the more than three years that have passed since President Obama and congressional Democrats forced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act through Congress, this law is still nowhere near ready for prime time.

This is not just my opinion as a conservative congressman and longtime opponent of the budget-busting, government takeover of our health care system; the Obama administration has admitted as much by abruptly deciding to delay the law’s employer mandate by a full year.

While the Obama administration’s decision may have been based on political expediency to give cover to Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, this delay ultimately makes a far more powerful case for why “Obamacare” is a deeply flawed and unworkable law that must be repealed.

This delay follows the statement earlier this year by one of Obamacare’s chief architects, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, that the implementation of the law could be a “train wreck,” and the administration backpedaling on promises that individual employees would be able to choose their insurance provider under the law’s Small Business Health Options Program.

The latest red flag came on July 5 when the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will simply rely on the honor system to verify eligibility for individual insurance subsidies, potentially opening the door to massive fraud and abuse. HHS assures us that this is a temporary solution “until a more robust verification process can be developed,” but given the trail of broken promises Obamacare has already left behind, we are wise not to hold our breath.

To top it all off, last month a report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office bluntly warned us that it “cannot yet be determined” if the federal government will even meet the Oct. 1 deadline to begin open enrollment in health insurance exchanges.

While I am encouraged that Tennessee’s job creators will have an additional year to prepare for some of the law’s onerous regulations and mandates, the Obama administration’s decision offers no reprieve for individuals and families who are bracing for the individual mandate, set to take effect on Jan. 1, when anyone who has not purchased a federally approved insurance plan will be forced to fork over a percentage of his or her hard-earned income to the IRS.

The fact remains, Obamacare is not just being carried out poorly; the entire law is fundamentally flawed and simply unworkable. The latest numbers from the Congressional Budget Office indicate that once the law is fully implemented, nearly 30 million Americans could still be left uninsured. And a new Gallup poll reveals that over 40 percent of small businesses have frozen hiring because of the law.

It is time for President Obama to realize his health care law cannot ever be adequately “fixed” with arbitrary delays and piecemeal solutions. To protect our economy and our health care system, the Affordable Care Act must be repealed before this law inflicts any further damage. A clean slate will give lawmakers the best opportunity to advance true bipartisan market-based, step-by-step reforms that will actually help to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans by empowering consumers, not unelected government bureaucrats.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.