It turns out that the most damning critique of Obamacare comes from President Obama himself.
In 2008, then-candidate Obama repeatedly promised that his proposed health care reform would reduce health insurance premiums by an average of $2,500 per family by the end of his first term. That pledge to cut premiums for hard-working Americans, who are swamped by rising health care costs, was a major selling point in promoting and passing his sweeping new health care law.
Now comes a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that, on average, health care premiums have risen by $3,065 since Obama was elected president. This is astonishing, not just as a broken campaign promise, but also because Obamacare was supposed to reduce the spiraling growth in health care costs, which had been deemed to place an enormous drag on our economic growth and potential as a nation.
A recent study by the Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee shows that when you add up all the extra money Americans have spent on health insurance over the past four years (beyond the level promised by candidate Obama), the economywide impact is an astounding $840 billion. To illustrate the economic effect of this in terms of full-time jobs, that $840 billion difference would be enough for private-sector employers to support an average of 3.2 million jobs each year between 2009 and 2012. With more than $840 billion less in Americans' pockets, it's no wonder our economy continues to struggle.
And remember the oft-repeated promise that "if you like the health care coverage you have, you can keep it"? Well, not so much.
The same Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that a majority (52 percent) of all workers' plans will have to change substantially or be discontinued, since they will not be grandfathered under Obamacare -- an 8 percentage-point increase from last year's estimate. Employers and employees forced to give up their pre-Obamacare plans will be subjected to costly new mandates that will further increase their premiums.
In light of the utter failure of the president's health care reform to achieve its stated aims, the president and others have emphasized the ancillary benefits of the law that seem to poll well, including coverage for children continuing to 26 years of age, the mandate covering contraceptives, and the mandatory coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. But these reforms are just pretty curtain rods hung over a broken window.
Obamacare wasn't 2,700 pages long and didn't cost $1.7 trillion because of such minor policy tweaks. It was supposed to reduce costs and allow who were people happy with their coverage to keep it. It is failing on both counts.
Congress and the public were sold a bill of goods by this administration in order to ram through the health care reform, and now the bill is coming due. It turns out that the bill was more expensive than even its fiercest critics imagined.
If only the damage wrought by Obamacare were limited to lost money. In the long term, unless Obamacare is repealed, an even more devastating legacy will be lost American freedom.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and serves as vice chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.