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10 Reasons Obamacare is (and will continue to be) a Failure

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Is Obamacare failing? We all know that it is so far, both in the bill's intended goals and as a government program in general. Here are 10 reasons why the Affordable Care Act is failing, and why it will continue to do so.

1. Strong Public Opposition

One thing is abundantly clear about Obamacare: it has never been well-received by the public. Polls have been especially brutal, with over 95% of polls taken since passage of the bill showing strong opposition, usually by double-digit margins. Proponents of the bill knew it was unpopular at the time it passed and believed it would "grow" on people over time. That hasn't happened, and it is very difficult to push an agenda that has little public support.

2. Insurance Costs Continue Meteoric Rise

One of the central claims made by the "central planners" was that insurance premiums would go down for buyers. Instead, the law actually forces plans to cover more and more ("children" must be covered to age 27, smorgasbord of newly "free" "women's health" services) that everyone was forced to pay into. Add in the abundance of taxes and fees that are simply passed on to consumers and the initial claim that Obamacare would reduce premiums is laughable. It doesn't take a trained economist to know that raising minimum requirements of coverage, forcing more coverage be provided, raising taxes, forcing high-risk patients into pooled plans, and reducing options would raise costs.

3. Too Many Loopholes to be Effective

One of the problems with a bill written by lobbyists and bureaucrats, passed by people who never read it, and numbers in the 1,000s of pages is that there will probably be a loophole or two in there. States and businesses found those loopholes and have taken advantage of them to avoid being (more) negatively impacted by the law. Employers have cut back hours or reduced staff to avoid hitting certain requirements. States have opted out of the state-exchanges and opted for the federal government to run their own exchanges. Perhaps the only good thing about Obamacare is that it was so poorly put together that many businesses and individuals have found a way to escape much of it. At the same time, those loopholes have completely halted many of the core goals of the bill, adding to the general failure of Obamacare.

4. Leaves 31 Million Uninsured by 2023

Originally, the bill was touted as a means to both cover the uninsured (either through subsidies or "forcing" people who could afford insurance to buy it) and help reduce costs for everyone. Now, the administration downplays the impact the bill has on people, instead regularly inferring that 90% of people are not impacted by the bill outside of all the great "free" stuff they are forced buy coverage for now. But the reality is that the goal of insuring all the uninsured isn't going to be met. The Congressional Budget Office projected that by 2023 - more than a decade after implementation - that 31 million people will still be uninsured. This is the case even with subsidies being provided to help the poor, and the wonderful IRS enforcing forced-purchase laws.

5. Program Costs Continue to Blow Past Initial Estimates

One of the great charades of the Obama administration was framing the Obamacare bill as a program with a price-tag below the magic $1 trillion mark. The CBO initially scored the bill as costing $900B over the first decade. Of course, the CBO could only make these estimates based on what the bill said would happen, not what most of us knew actually would happen. In order to get the bill under $1 trillion, taxes that would never be implemented and cuts that would never be made were added. Some "savings" were double-counted. Other reductions in the cost of the bill were made on rosy expectations of reducing costs and cutting waste. And anyone familiar with the 2013 sequester or just government in general knows is that the government never willingly cuts or reduces anything. But most importantly, the bill was framed as only costing that $900 billion over a decade, which included four years before most of the provisions were implemented. The latest CBO figures show that the true cost of the first decade of Obamacare will be closer to $1.8 trillion. Any chance that estimate would have passed at the time?

6. The Program is Run by Government

Pointing out the Obamacare is run by the government as a reason it is failing is almost an "enough said" scenario. But let's be honest. When has the government ever run anything cost-efficiently or effectively? Everything the government touches turns to rot. Very, very, very expensive rot. Of course, this is why conservatives prefer market-based solutions to healthcare. Real people making real decisions is always better than government bureaucrats working with their crony allies to make those decisions.

7. States Reject the Bill

One of the "loopholes" that will prove most damaging to the implementation of Obamacare is the ability of states to refuse to set up a state health insurance exchange and instead leave it up to the federal government to run them. Over half of states have chosen not to run a state exchange, and even with three years to set up the exchanges, the federal government has failed to establish the exchanges. Instead, they continue to push back deadlines for the exchanges. While the federal government attempted to persuade states to create them with the promise of huge financial support, the mostly conservative states realized that the long-term costs would be unsustainable and the federal government would still be dictating everything anyway.

8. Inability to Alter Bill

When Obamacare was initially passed, Democrats had full control of both chambers of congress. With 60 votes in the US Senate and a healthy lead in the US House of Representatives, the Republicans couldn't stop anything. As unpopular elements of the bill have popped up, though, it is virtually impossible to make fixes to the bill without Republican approval. Many conservatives have argued - and I am one of them - that the GOP should not help remove unpopular elements of Obamacare. They passed it. They can deal with it. Some elements the Democrats have sought to change include the medical device tax, which is one of the funding mechanisms of Obamacare. Also, errors in the state exchange planning portion of the bill could provide significant speed bumps down the road.

9. True "Benefits" Unclear

If you haven't seen all the benefits promised since the passage of Obamacare, you are not alone. While Obama praised the "access" to contraception (read: free) during the 2012 campaign, most people only noticed the rising premiums. Americans feel like they are paying more and more and getting less for it. Starting in 2014, Americans will also have to start reporting their health coverage to the IRS.

10. Negative Employee Repurcussions

In order to escape the heavy hand of government, businesses have been forced to follow the law as passed and find ways to avoid being negatively impacted. As a result of the law, businesses have been forced to drop full-time employees to part-time status, stop hiring altogether, and scrap plans for expansion. Not only does this hurt the overall employment market, but employees are being impacted with less hours. Those employees are not only still not getting employee-provided insurance, but they are now making less money overall, making it more difficult to purchase government-mandated insurance through exchanges that are not even set up yet.
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