By Kevin Lair
Staff Columnist

Perhaps the most blatant lies the Obama presidency has bestowed upon the American people rests within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare.

The monstrous disaster of a bill fails to curb healthcare costs or expand insurance availability—the supposed intents of the bill. Candidate Obama and his liberal allies paraded the country claiming that the bill would not impose a tax on the middle-class or poor, would expand coverage, and allow people to keep the insurance plans they like.

Flash forward but a few years, and the Supreme Court debated the constitutionality of Obamacare. Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority’s opinion and concluded that the individual mandate of the bill was unconstitutional. However, he argued that it could be admissible as a tax under the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution). The Supreme Court itself defined Obamacare as a tax. Now, Americans realize that the bill is more than just a tax; rather, this poor excuse for healthcare reform saddles the American people with at least 25 new taxes and costs taxpayers more than $800 billion according to “Forbes Magazine.”

In regards to the availability of coverage, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obamacare will still leave 31 million people uninsured by 2023. This figure does not take into consideration the thousands of businesses that are laying off workers simply because they cannot afford such expensive health insurance coverage. A primary example, St. Jude Inc. had to completely restructure its product divisions and administrate functions as well as cut 300 jobs just to fill the $60 million annual budget hole imposed by the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices under Obamacare, and that is just one tax.

The middle-class faces the brunt of Obamacare. Many employees are given fewer work hours, moved from full-time to part-time status, or even fired because their employers cannot afford such expensive healthcare plans. Similarly, employees who have had the same insurance plan for years and have seen the cost of their plan decrease because of their continued enrollment are being forced by the federal government to drop their insurance plans and purchase more expensive, unnecessary plans. Families are struggling just to stay afloat in this economy, and Obamacare is simply making it more difficult.

The cost of healthcare rises exponentially under Obamacare. For example, premiums in Arkansas are increasing across all demographics because of the law; they are increasing by more than 170 percent for adults aged 27, 79 percent for adults aged 50, and 25 percent for a family of four according to The Heritage Foundation and Arkansas State Insurance Company. Developments such as these are unsustainable for middle-class families struggling in a sluggish economy.

Logistically, Obamacare strains healthcare providers and patients. The law ignores the projected deficits of healthcare professionals and does nothing to increase the amount of doctors. Rural areas are especially being hit. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, rural areas already lack 20,000 primary care doctors, and Health Management Organizations (HMOs) will not serve many rural areas because of Obamacare requirements. There must be a greater supply of doctors and hospitals or else there will continue to be Obamacare-imposed wait periods and deficits of health care professionals, issues that plague nations with universal healthcare.

The American people overwhelmingly understand the horrific effects of Obamacare and reject the law. A September 2013 public opinion poll conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that “Forty-four percent of respondents call the health-care law a bad idea, while 31 percent believe it’s a good idea.” It also concluded, “By a 45 percent to 23 percent margin, Americans say it will have a negative impact on the country’s health-care system rather than a positive one.” Poll after poll illustrates that most Americans reject Obamacare and want patient-centered reform instead; luckily, Congressional Republicans have drafted many such plans and simply need the Democratic controlled-Senate and White House support and implementation.

It remains clear that the bureaucratic mess of Obamacare makes healthcare less available, more expensive, and riddles all Americans with taxes and debt. The American people see beyond the false rhetoric and deficient leadership behind this failed attempt at healthcare reform. If the people who voted for Obamacare know it is horrible and exempt themselves from it, then the American people should be able to as well. We deserve better, and we need to make our demands unmistakably clear to the liberal hypocrites in office.

The Elm

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