Bob Goodlatte: It’s time to repeal this train wreck
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The health care law is a “train wreck.” Or at least that’s how Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) referred to it recently. It’s very telling when one of the chief architects of the law makes that statement. And I agree; it’s a train wreck. With less than six months till the mandated implementation of several key provisions of the president’s health care law, commonly known as Obamacare, many questions remain as to what will actually happen. Health care exchanges, individual mandates, employer mandates – these are just some of the components of this massive law pushed through by a past Congress and the Administration over my strong objection and vote in opposition. Now, with the recent announcement delaying implementation of the employer mandate, we have even less certainty and more proof that Obamacare is simply unworkable.
The employer mandate requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, defined as working 30 hours or more per week, to provide health insurance for employees or pay a fine for each employee. This provision was set to take effect on January 1, 2014, but will now be delayed for one year. Greater costs associated with this mandate have already forced many employers across the nation to forgo hiring or reduce their employees’ hours. Putting this mandate off for another year will not solve the problem. Whether it occurs next year or in 2015, under this law, employers will still face this burden that threatens job creation in America and increases business costs.
Delaying this mandate will provide a temporary respite for businesses that would be forced to provide coverage next year; however, it does nothing for American families facing higher costs and a loss of consumer choice under the law. The individual mandate, which forces all Americans to purchase health insurance or be fined, has not been delayed and is set to take effect this January. Why did the Administration choose to delay the requirement for businesses, but leave in place the mandate on individuals?
Additionally, the Administration announced last week that applications for health insurance subsidies, which are available based on income, will rely on self-reporting, or the “honor system.” Without verifying an individual’s income, the Administration has invited more fraud and abuse into the health care system at the expense of American taxpayers. Subsidies may now be given to individuals who do not actually qualify.
For the last three years, we have learned more and more about how Obamacare will drive up health care costs, stifle job creation, and push families out of the coverage they like. The delay of the employer mandate raises even more questions about the viability of the law, not to mention what it will really cost the American people. The only obvious conclusion we can draw from this delay is that even the Administration has recognized that Obamacare is not a workable law. Instead of placing more burdens on American families and businesses, the entire law should be repealed and replaced with patient-centered alternatives that reduce costs and allow Americans access to affordable health care. It’s time to repeal this train wreck.
Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District in the U.S. Congress.