Dan Holler

As with most conceptions, Obamacare was conceived behind closed doors. Unlike most conceptions though, there were many hands involved and lots of money tossed around. And but for the Immaculate Conception, it could have a larger impact than any other.

Three years after its birth, Obamacare is a bumbling mess. As it turns out, passing a bill to find out what’s in it isn’t a good strategy. It is kind of like telling a toddler to captain a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

Then again, common sense usually doesn’t exist in Washington.

Last week, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended Obamacare’s track record on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, saying, "What we're seeing is costs really come down for the first time in a very long time.”

Her assertion came as eHealth, Inc. released their “Cost of Comprehensive Health Benefits” report, which according to Fox Business “found the average monthly premiums for individual and family health insurance plans are 47% higher than average when they cover a comprehensive list of eight health benefits compared to 2012.”

An eHealth representative explained, “The benefits in these plans will cost customers more.” Why? Well, despite what Sebelius says, this is a signal of how Obamacare will potentially impact the cost of your health care.

Skyrocketing premiums will make it very hard for some people to keep their insurance. If those drop their plans and flee to the non-existent, but sure to be convoluted, government-run exchanges, Obamacare will be to blame.

I guess, in a technical, President Obama isn’t wrong. He said people could keep their plans if they like them. After massive premium increases, that “like” may have dissipated. Score one for the fact checkers!

That doesn’t exactly square the circle, though. As Heritage’s “10 Stories of Job Loss as Consequences of Obamacare” makes clear. Perhaps Obama was wrong after all, because when people lose their jobs, they typically lose their insurance.

In November, the Colorado Observer reported medical device manufacturer would lay off 1,000 employees because of Obamacare’s medical device tax:

“In a statement Tuesday, Stryker President and CEO Kevin A. Lobo made it clear that the layoffs were directly related to the increased costs on business imposed by the Affordable Care Act, which is scheduled to be fully implemented in 2014.

“’Stryker remains significantly concerned with the upcoming medical device excise tax and its negative impact on jobs and innovation, and will continue to work with Congress to try to repeal the tax,’ said Lobo.

“The company ‘expects to owe approximately $100 million in the first year alone, equating to over 20 percent of our annual, global R&D investments,’ said Lobo.”

It may come as no surprise then that both of Colorado’s Democrat Senators cast a symbolic vote to repeal the medical device tax that has already killed jobs in their state.

To celebrate Obamacare’s second birthday, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) reminded his constituents he “fought hard” to pass the law. He went on to tout the law’s benefits to “young Coloradans just entering the workforce in a difficult job climate.” Difficult job climate you say?

It would be ironic if it weren’t so painful for so many struggling Americans.

We can all take some comfort though, because White House officials still insist Obama will follow through on his commitment to become one of the first Americans on a government-run exchange. As Politico noted, though, “It would be a purely symbolic gesture … in part because he’ll still have access to the White House Medical Unit and the official physician to the president, an office that has served every executive since the Revolution.”

If Obama likes his doctors, he can keep them.

That is a novel idea, isn’t it? The Republican Party should embrace the idea when it comes to reforming Medicare. Premium Support isn’t about dollar signs and age cohorts, it is about giving people access to an incredible array of health care choices, including the possibility of staying on their current insurance with a different financing stream.

When push comes to shove, the Left’s big-government policies are the antithesis of choice. As Americans are sadly learning, Obamacare is exhibit A. The allure of freedom is powerful to those who lack it, and conservatives must be prepared to present them with a real alternative.


Dan Holler

Dan Holler is the Communications Director for Heritage Action for America. Previously, he held numerous positions at The Heritage Foundation, most recently he was the Senate Relations Deputy. A Maryland native, he is a graduate of Washington College.