By Sen. Mitch McConnell
The non-partisan Society of Actuaries last week said that because of Obamacare, insurers could pay an average of 32% more for medical claims. Those costs will be passed onto those who buy insurance on the individual market in the form of dramatically higher premiums.
The new report is further proof that this law is failing to deliver on its promises --and that the opponents were right to be skeptical. According to the new study, medical cost increases in my home state of Kentucky could be as high 34%. In states such as Wisconsin and Ohio, the actuaries predict an 80% increase. This will be a crushing financial blow to hardworking families across the country who are just scraping by as it is.
With wages stagnant and gas and tuition prices skyrocketing, these premium increases will be especially devastating for middle-class families. Obamacare would also be a threat to American jobs. This was recently confirmed by the Federal Reserve, when it said that employers are now citing the law as a chief reason for planned layoffs and a reluctance to hire.
Democrats ignored these warnings of unintended consequences. As then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously put it at the time, we'd "have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it". The result of that irresponsible approach has been even worse than any of us imagined. Earlier this month, the Obama administration issued some 848 pages of Obamacare regulations -- in a single day.
This means there are now nearly 20,000 pages of regulations associated with this law. No wonder applying for Obamacare will be as complicated as doing taxes. One draft application is more than 60 pages long.
During the health care reform debate, most Americans I spoke with acknowledged that our health care system was far from perfect. These people wanted reform, but they wanted the right reforms, not some grand scheme that increased our debt, expanded the government, raised premiums, killed jobs and forced Americans off the plans they currently have and like. However, the latter is just what they got.
The more we learn about Obamacare, the clearer it becomes that there is just no way to fix it. It costs way too much, and it's not working the way they said it would. If we have any hope of fixing the U.S. health care system without crippling our economy in the process, Obamacare must be pulled out by its roots. Only then will we be able to start over with common-sense reforms that actually improve the quality of care and lower costs for individuals and families across the country.
What Americans need and want is something that Obamacare sorely lacks -- a little legislative humility. Washington shouldn't pretend that it has a magic wand to waive that will solve something as complex as health care. When you try that, what you get is 2,000-page laws and 10 times that in new regulations, which make things worse.
Washington needs to listen more and dictate less. That means freeing states from costly mandates, allowing them to innovate, and encouraging them to work together to lower costs. Now more than ever, the answer is to repeal and replace.
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the Senate Republican Leader.