What Happens if Obamacare Isn’t Replaced

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government presents a two-part examination of what would happen if Obamacare isn’t replaced. 

There has been a great deal of discussion about the impact of replacing Obamacare. Perhaps more attention should be paid to what would happen if Obamacare is NOT replaced.

A Washington Free Beacon report  quotes Aetna CEO Mark Bertoline, noting that “Obamacare Will Continue to Deteriorate If Nothing Happens…” Aetna has announced that it will leave Obamacare exchanges in Iowa and Virgina. Bertoline also stressed thata reinsurance pool would be a better solution for really sick individuals…When you talk to a lot of constituents who have $6,000 deductibles, live in the five eastern counties of Colorado where there isn’t a doctor, a $6,000 deductible is not helpful.”

Writing for the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Lawrence R. Huntoon, M.D.states:

“ObamaCare is designed to cheat both patients and physicians. It destroys patient choice and often disrupts continuing long-term patient-physician relationships. By implementing extremely high deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket maximums, ObamaCare creates the illusion of coverage at the cost of unacceptably high premiums…In order to survive, physicians who depend on third-party payment will need to take appropriate legal measures to limit financial losses caused by ObamaCare. Many will likely reassess their plan participation as financial losses and bureaucratic impediments to care increase. Third-party-free practice models will become more attractive to many physicians. And, unfortunately, physicians who opt for hospital-subsidized employment in an attempt to escape the adversities of ObamaCare will only exacerbate the loss of choice for patients and the rationing of care by the so-called Accountable Care Organizations. Patients will also come to recognize that they are paying a very high price for the illusion of coverage under ObamaCare. As patients increasingly realize that, for the most part, they will be spending their own money for medical care during any given year, they will begin to look for better value in their medical care. Third-party-free physicians, who are able to provide timely access to care, and more face-to-face time with patients at an affordable cost, will become more attractive to many patients. Likewise, as high deductibles, high co-pays, and unlimited out-of-pocket costs are a reality under ObamaCare, health savings accounts will become more attractive to more patients. If one is going to spend one’s own money, one might as well spend tax-free money as opposed to after-tax money. “

A major concern about Obamacare has been its detrimental impact on full-time employment, a problem that would continue if the law remains in effect. Writing for Forbes last September,  Michael C. Cannon noted: “Four percent of large employers are reducing hiring because of the cost of providing health benefits to them… ObamaCare will depress wages for high-skilled workers by 1.3 percent and for low-income workers by 3 percent.”

The harsh economic impact of Obamacare doesn’t receive adequate attention.  Casey B. Mulligan writes in Side Effects and Complications: The Economic Consequences of Health-Care Reform that the economy, and particularly employment, are detrimentally affected.

Edward Morrissey, writing for the Fiscal Times,  concurs. He cites a Goldman Sachs study that demonstrates that employers have reduced full-time positions in favor of part-time ones that don’t require them to provide health insurance. That trend will continue if Obamacare is not repealed.

The continued existence of Obamacare-related taxes also would serve as an ongoing drag on the economy. Americans for Tax Reform’s John Kartch  lists the $1 trillion in taxes that would be repealed if the legislation were overturned:

Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax

Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax

Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax

Obamacare’s Flexible Spending Account tax

Obamacare’s Chronic Care Tax

Obamacare’s HSA withdrawal tax.

Obamacare’s 10% excise tax on small businesses with indoor tanning services.

Obamacare health insurance tax.

Obamacare 3.8% surtax on investment income.

Obamacare medical device tax.

Obamacare tax on prescription medicine.

Obamacare tax on retiree prescription drug coverage.

The Report concludes tomorrow.