Obama White House Appearance Invites Review of ACA

Last Tuesday, in his first White House appearance in five years, former President Obama referred to Joe Biden as “Vice President Biden.” That was supposedly “a joke,” but Biden wasn’t laughing. Literally, nobody wanted to talk to the Delaware Democrat. For his part, the former president touted the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. That invites a review. 

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained, this was the measure that had to pass before Americans could “find out what’s in it.” Under Obamacare, you don’t get the health care you want, only the health care the government wants you to have. Contrary to what the president repeatedly claimed, you couldn’t keep your doctor or your plan, and the rates would skyrocket. 

Covered California, Obamacare’s wholly-owned subsidiary, caused “widespread consumer misery.” Health journalist Emily Bazar noted that Covered California wasted millions on promotion, handed out lucrative deals to cronies, and its $454 million computer system was dysfunctional. With premiums skyrocketing, Covered California dropped 2,000 pregnant women from coverage, causing them to lose their doctors and miss key prenatal appointments.

The state’s vaunted health exchange sent incorrect tax information to the health plans, which led to “higher premiums than consumers initially anticipated,” People also owed more out of pocket than they initially thought. Obamacare hiked premiums by 13.2 percent and canceled policies when people reported changes in income. As a result, many Californians did not get the tax credits they sought. And so on. 

The ACA was a disaster from the start. Still, its demolition of choice gave the president’s designated successor, Hillary Clinton, grounds to push for “single-payer,” a euphemism for government monopoly health care. Clinton lost to Donald Trump, but the Republicans failed to repeal the ACA and replace it with a plan that empowers individuals to purchase the plan that best suits their needs. 

If Obamacare prevails under “Vice President Biden,” Americans won’t get the health care that best meets their needs. They will get only the care the government wants them to have. Based on the experience of California, widespread consumer misery is sure to follow. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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