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Obamacare: A change we can bereave in

Last week marked the first anniversary of Congress passing Obamacare, for which former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said we would “have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.” Well, the taxpayers have had a year to find out what’s in it; and since the traditional gift for a first anniversary is paper, the American people are giving the president and Congress a report card with a big, red-inked grade of F.

Forget for a moment that the constitutionality of such a measure has been successfully challenged by several states and now awaits an inevitable U.S. Supreme Court showdown. In the meantime, the law is doing irreparable harm to Pennsylvanians, especially when it comes to their ability to keep their current, more affordable coverage.

The mandate not only requires everyone to buy insurance, but it requires the insurance to meet strict government regulations, offering the benefits only the government thinks you should have, not necessarily the benefits you want or need.

The Congressional Budget Office officially tallied the health care bill as costing $950 billion. However, those numbers do not reveal the new law’s true cost. For example, CBO’s estimates do not include roughly $115 billion in implementation costs, such as the cost for the IRS to hire additional agents to enforce the individual mandate. That’s a whole lot of dollars and not much sense for taxpayers.

Moreover, if you get your insurance at work, the days of keeping your current plan seem numbered. The administration now admits that more than two-thirds of companies could be forced to change the coverage they offer their workers. For small businesses, the total could approach 80 percent. The new plans will have to offer additional benefits and meet new federal requirements, likely making them more expensive to administer and thus more costly to you, the taxpayer.

Finally, in what is nothing short of economic sleight of hand, the law front-ends taxes while deferring costs, providing a misleading 10-year budget outlook. Traditional accounting suggests that the law will cost as much as $2.7 trillion throughout 10 years of full operation and add $823 billion to the federal deficit.

With a law where taxpayer costs, mandates and federal deficit are up and individual freedoms, choices, services and benefits are down, it’s no wonder Americans are saying on this first anniversary of Obamacare that this is change we can bereave in. It’s time to feel the repeal.

Matt Brouillette is president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, a public policy think tank in Harrisburg. Email him at info@commonwealthfoundation.org.

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