When Barack Obama returned to the White House on Tuesday to a rock-star welcome that further diminished the stature of the current president, he complained that Republicans had spread “misinformation” about what he regards as his signature achievement, the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
But on the 12th anniversary of the legislation, it’s clear that Obama spread “misinformation” to get the bill passed, including his promises that you can keep your health care plan and your doctor, a typical family will see an annual reduction in health care expenses of $2,500, and the bill won’t add to the deficit.
And moreover, while President Biden marked the occasion with an executive order to fix a “glitch” in Obamacare, the problem with the ACA is fundamental, according to a simple metric: Obamacare has resulted in more spending and lower life expectancy.
In a column spotlighted by Powerline blogger Scott Johnson, Wall Street Journal editor James Freeman cited House testimony in February by Brian Blase of the Paragon Health Institute.
Blase pointed out that in many areas of the economy, “products and services have become higher in quality over time while real prices, after accounting for inflation, have declined.”
But prices for health care products and services have not followed that pattern, with the prices for hospital services – the largest component of health care expenditures – rising more than three times faster than general inflation over the past two decades.
At the same time, Blase noted, insurance premiums have soared along with plan deductibles.
And what has been the outcome? American life expectancy was lower in 2019 than it was in 2013, before the ACA’s coverage and spending provisions took effect, Blase told lawmakers.
Amid that rise in spending and lowering of life expectancy, the ACA “made individual market health insurance less affordable and introduced a generally inefficient set of subsidies,” he said.
The intent of Obamacare was to expand insurance coverage, Blase recalled, but most of that occurred through Medicaid expansion, funded by federal dollars.
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