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Guest Op-Ed: Obamacare’s Broken Promises

By U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm

Two years ago, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously told America that Congress had to pass President Obama’s health care law so that we could find out what’s in it. Well, now that we’ve had a chance to find out, it’s clear that this bill is full of policies and regulations that are hurting our small businesses and putting further strain on the budgets of American families. As we approach the two-year anniversary of Obamacare this Friday, March 23, let’s take a look at what President Obama promised, and what the law actually delivers.

Broken Promise #1: “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” Wrong. President Obama’s very own administration now estimates that the new regulations will force up to 80 percent of small businesses to give up their current plans by 2013.

Broken Promise #2: “I will protect Medicare.” The reality is that the health care law cuts more than $500 billion from the program. In addition, one study shows that Medicare Advantage enrollment will be cut in half by 2017, and that choices for seniors will be drastically reduced. As it stands, the only thing this law does for Medicare is ensure that it stays on its same unsustainable path that will render it bankrupt by the next decade. This is not the way to preserve long-term care for our seniors and future generations. Real, sustainable reforms must be made for those under 55 — in order to keep our promises to current seniors.

Broken Promise #3: It will not add “one dime to our deficit.” This could not be further from the truth. In reality, it will add trillions to our deficit. Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin estimates that the law will increase the national debt by at least $500 billion in its first 10 years and over $1.5 trillion in its second decade. That’s more than $2 trillion in new debt that we will be passing on to our children and grandchildren! Adding trillions to our national debt through borrowing and spending is not a realistic approach to health care reform.

Broken Promise #4: It will not raise “any of your taxes.” His health care bill broke this promise many times, placing a tremendous burden on America’s small businesses. In two cases, I have introduced legislation to eliminate these tax hikes. My legislation H.R. 2092 eliminates the 10-percent tax imposed on the tanning industry and H.R. 1549 eliminates the 3.8-percent tax on investments, which applies to everything from wages and home sales to realized capital gains. Both of these taxes were unfairly placed on businesses and individuals simply to pay for this unsustainable health care law.

Broken Promise #5: It will “lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year.” While campaigning, President Obama made this promise; however, since taking office, premiums have risen by $2,213 per family.  At a time when American families are faced with rising gas prices, toll increases, and a tough economy, this hike in premiums can put a substantial dent in the budgets of New York’s hard-working families.

As the details and impact of the health care law have unfolded over the last two years, the case to repeal the law has grown stronger.  I have heard from Brooklyn’s small business owners that the regulations in this law have made it significantly tougher for them to grow and create jobs. I have spoken to seniors, who worry that the Medicare cuts will limit their access to care, as doctors find it too expensive to keep seeing patients due to cuts in reimbursements. Finally, I hear from parents who worry about their children’s future and the massive debt they will inherit.

America has a world-class health care system and I will not stand idly by while it is jeopardized. When I ran for office, it was on the promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a good, sustainable policy that guarantees access to high-quality, affordable health care for current and future generations. On behalf of the people I represent in Brooklyn and Staten Island, I remain committed to keeping that promise.

March 22, 2012 - 11:34am


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