In a new piece for National Review Online, I argue that the new legislators that November’s election will bring to Washington must not, amidst all their other priorities, lose sight of the need to repeal and replace Obamacare:
Because the hard truth is that the proponents of a supersized welfare state believe they have already won the fight. Their vision is now the law, with the government on course to control the flow of resources in the entire health sector. Even if every other idea to downsize the government is enacted, Obamacare as passed has us on the road to unlimited government — with America’s middle class increasingly dependent on the benefits they receive from elected political leaders.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that Obamacare will add 35 million new people to the federal health-entitlement rolls by 2019, at a cost of $214 billion in that year alone. And that’s almost certainly a vast underestimate of the true costs. Douglas Holtz-Eakin — a former director of CBO and now president of the American Action Forum — and Cameron Smith have estimated that Obamacare will lead to much more migration out of employer-sponsored plans than assumed by CBO: Tens of millions of workers — and the firms that employ them — will figure out that all involved will be far better off with the workers getting the massive subsidies provided by the federal government in the so-called “insurance exchanges,” rather than with the much smaller tax break they receive for getting job-based insurance. According to Holtz-Eakin and Smith, an additional 35 million people are therefore likely to end up in the government’s new subsidized insurance system, on top of the 35 million already assumed by CBO in its cost estimate, putting the total entitlement expansion at 70 million, or more than Medicare’s total enrollment today. The additional enrollees will drive up the costs of Obamacare’s new premium subsidy program to $1.4 trillion over the first decade, or about $1 trillion more than CBO estimated.
And that would be just the beginning of it…. What’s needed to head off fiscal calamity is a market-based health reform that puts cost-conscious consumers, not the government, in charge. It’s the opposite of the Obamacare prescription….
You can read the entire piece here.