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Wicker: President Cannot Shift Blame for Obamacare 'Train Wreck'


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The failed promises of the President's health-care law have become increasingly apparent as its misguided policies go into effect. Even lawmakers who helped write the legislation are outspoken about its shortcomings. Earlier this month, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) warned that the law's implementation could be "a huge train wreck," noting "small businesses have no idea what to do, what to expect."

Sen. Baucus is not alone in his concern. Job creators are worried about the health-care law's mounting regulations and new taxes. Americans are concerned they will lose their current coverage and face higher insurance premiums. Since Obamacare became law three years ago, missed deadlines and bureaucratic hurdles have revealed the legislation's poor design. Instead of bringing about true health-care reform, costly provisions are adding uncertainty to an economy desperate for job creation.

Failure Before Launch

I voted against the President's health-care law and continue to work toward its repeal. It is widely recognized that parts of the law are unworkable and financially unsustainable. Last year, Congress repealed a deeply flawed provision known as the "CLASS Act" before the entitlement program it created could begin. In March, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate voted to overturn the law's tax on medical devices, which could eliminate thousands of American jobs and lead to higher costs for consumers.

Unmet Expectations

A major component of the 2,700-page law is the creation of so-called insurance "exchanges," or online markets offering health-care plans for Americans not covered by their employers. Twenty-six states have said they are unable to take on the massive task of setting up these exchanges, leaving the federal government responsible for running insurance markets in more than half the country. There are serious doubts the Department of Health and Human Services will have the exchanges ready for open enrollment on October 1. According to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, most Americans do not understand how the exchanges work and how the health-care law will affect them.

With more delays likely and confusion rampant, officials responsible for overseeing the rollout of the exchanges have tried to downplay expectations. One administrator remarked that he hoped enrollment would not be "a third-world experience." In his latest budget, President Obama requested more taxpayer spending to help implement the law, with estimated costs for the exchanges twice as high as initially projected.

"Beyond Comprehension'

At a time when economic recovery is needed, the President's health-care law continues to obstruct hiring and growth. Its regulations cover some 20,000 pages and amount to billions of dollars in compliance costs. New taxes total more than $1 trillion, and the law's negative impact could mean as many as 800,000 lost jobs. Several employers have already pointed to the law's burdensome mandates as a reason for cutting employee's workweek hours.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) was correct in calling the health-care law "beyond comprehension" and "the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress." The unwieldy law has expanded the size of government without expanding access to affordable health care. Americans are ready to see lower insurance premiums and more health-care options -- promises that President Obama made but has not kept.

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