In a speech on March 9, 2010, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said of ObamaCare, " we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." Unfortunately, she was right.
Since implementation of this 2,000-page monstrosity began one year ago, the health care reform law has proved far different and worse than anticipated. While the first anniversary of ObamaCare's enactment will come and go on March 23, its damaging consequences will continue being felt until it is fully repealed and replaced.
Of all the provisions within ObamaCare, nothing punishes Nebraska's small businesses, family farms, and ranches so immediately as the misguided 1099 mandate which exponentially increases the paperwork burden on these job creators. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives made progress to correct this provision by passing with bipartisan support the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011. However, unless this bill is passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, the 1099-nightmare will remain - increasing administrative costs, creating more paperwork for small businesses, and heightening the risk of fraud.
We were promised ObamaCare would reduce health care costs, but instead they have continued to rise. By increasing taxes, adding regulations and mandates, and creating more liabilities for insurance providers, health insurance costs will only grow even more rapidly than they have in the past. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts the cost of health care insurance will rise by $2,100 per family by 2016.
A year later it is clear ObamaCare failed to improve our health care system. Furthermore, it continues slowing economic recovery by expanding the size of government, burdening job creators, and skyrocketing the national debt.
For example, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, a provision included in ObamaCare, creates a new entitlement program which uses accounting gimmicks to hide its true cost to taxpayers. CLASS begins collecting a new payroll tax almost immediately, but its related benefit payments do not start until 2016. ObamaCare, for which costs to the federal treasury were only estimated over a 10-year period, uses this new stream of tax revenue to pay for costs in the legislation unrelated to CLASS so proponents could claim the health care reform law reduces the deficit. The reality is benefit payments from this provision are expected to quickly balloon, adding unfunded obligations and escalating the deficit. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) has called CLASS a Ponzi scheme, and President Obama's debt commission recommended repealing the provision.
It appears the only way to be helped by this legislation is to gain exemption from its costs and mandates. So far, the Administration has issued more than 1,000 waivers from its health care reform law to various organizations, such as McDonald's, the Service Employees Union International, and even the State of Maine. Exceptions seem to be reserved for unions and a select group of Fortune 500 companies, not the average person who is negatively impacted by the law's costs and mandates too. With so many exemptions, it is as if the Administration is admitting the only way for health care to be improved by ObamaCare is to be immune from it.
Rather than picking winners and losers from the most harmful provisions of this law, we must completely start over. My colleagues and I remain committed to repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with common sense reforms which will lower costs and make quality health care more accessible for Nebraska's families, seniors, and small businesses.
For more information about this issue, the latest developments from Congress, or to sign up for my e-mail newsletter, please visit my website at www.adriansmith.house.gov.