By Representative Pete Olson
If you want to see the future of American healthcare, unfortunately, all you have to do is look at what is happening today. While proponents of ObamaCare celebrate the recent decision of the Supreme Court, hard-working Americans, their employers and those who make up the best, though still imperfect, healthcare system in the world still have reason to agonize. ObamaCare is being steadily implemented, and unless there is change at the White House come November, the future looks quite bleak.
Businesses small and large have rightly complained about the excessive regulations with which they must comply, and many have indicated that from a cost perspective, it will be beneficial to their survival to drop their healthcare for their employees and pay the fine mandated by the law. This will in turn force many Americans to lose their coverage and be placed on a health exchange. This is , of course, what the President and his Leftist friends want - so much for his strong statement that you can keep your healthcare if you like it.
On the patient care side, while parts of the new law have yet to take place, negative effects are already being felt now. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the U.S. will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. Compounding this troubling shortage are the results of a recent study by Atlanta-based Jackson Healthcare, which indicates that 34% of physicians say they plan to leave the practice of medicine over the next decade, in part due to low compensation, high costs and a surge in regulations that accompany ObamaCare. This doctor shortage will mean that patient care will involve longer waits for fewer doctors. In economic parlance, the demand won't meet the supply, so we can look forward to de facto rationing.
For American consumers, higher premiums are also an unfortunate reality. During the healthcare law debate prior to passage, an MIT economist Jonathan Gruber frequently stated that ObamaCare would lower premiums for most Americans. He stated that by 2016, young people would save 13%, and older people 31%, on their insurance premiums. As a result, when states began considering whether or not to set up the insurance exchanges mandated by the new health law, several retained Gruber as a consultant. Yet in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Colorado, he has reported that premiums in the individual market would increase, not decrease, by 19-30% as a result of ObamaCare. This blind ignorance of market factors has cruelly oversold ObamaCare's reality.
Another troubling reality facing the future of healthcare is the impact to American medical innovation. A recent news report highlights an important downside to ObamaCare: a tax hike on medical devices that goes into effect next year is forcing American device manufacturers to change or halt their growth plans. Cook Medical, an Indiana-based medical equipment manufacturer, has been forced to stop the planned opening of five new plants thanks to the tax, costing the company $20 million per year. Other companies say they will move operations overseas to avoid this destructive tax, jeopardizing the 423,000 American jobs the medical device industry supports. Again, the Left's ignorance of economics -- and the mechanics of their own plan -- makes them the real outsourcers of American jobs and innovation. .
Congressional Republicans agree that a full repeal of ObamaCare is an important first step to reining in an out of control, government program. There are better ways to contain healthcare costs and increase access to care and we must replace this law in a thoughtful manner. We will not impose a massive 2,700 page overhaul of the American healthcare system. Our alternative plan will make important but modest changes that keep decisions in the hands of doctors and their patients and increase access to affordable care.
Mandate or tax, ObamaCare was correctly identified as an enormous burden on American job creators, employees and consumers -- everyone. We see today the future of healthcare in America if left unchecked. Unless we change course, and despite the cynical pledges of its proponents, ObamaCare will eat away and destroy every functioning facet of our healthcare system and help drag our country into greater debt and despair. The President and the Left -- those who truly believe that government was, is, and will be, the solution to all our problems - won't let their ignorance of economics and dismissal of what made America great get in their way. If we don't get change in November, healthcare may well ultimately become a ward of the state, making the left happy and the rest of us miserable.