10 Reasons Obamacare Is a Failure

Is Obamacare failing? It may not have achieved success in its intended goals and as a government program in general. Here are 10 reasons why the Affordable Care Act is failing, and why it may continue to do so.

01
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Strong Public Opposition

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Obamacare has never been well-received by the public. Polls have been especially brutal, with over 95 percent of polls taken since passage of the bill showing strong opposition, usually by double-digit margins during the Obama administration over those who approved of it. Proponents of the bill knew it was unpopular at the time it passed and believed it would "grow" on people over time. That didn't happen until the Republicans gained control of the House, Senate, and the White House in 2017. Polls took a turn as Republicans began to work on repealing the ACA. Although a majority favored the ACA by mid-2017, there still remained a significant amount of opposition.

02
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Insurance Costs Continue Meteoric Rise

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One of the central claims made by proponents was that insurance premiums would go down for buyers. Instead, the law actually forces plans to cover more and more sevices. Add in the abundance of taxes and fees that are simply passed on to consumers and the initial claim that Obamacare would reduce premiums is laughable. It doesn't take a trained economist to know that raising minimum requirements of coverage, forcing more coverage to be provided, raising taxes, forcing high-risk patients into pooled plans, and reducing options would raise costs.

03
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Too Many Loopholes to be Effective

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One of the problems with a bill written by lobbyists and bureaucrats, passed by people who never read it, and over 1,000 pages long is that there will probably be a loophole or two in there. States and businesses found those loopholes and have taken advantage of them to avoid being negatively impacted by the law. Employers have cut back hours or reduced staff to avoid hitting certain requirements. States have opted out of the state-exchanges and opted for the federal government to run their own exchanges. Those loopholes have completely halted many of the core goals of the bill, adding to the general failure of Obamacare.

04
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Leaves 31 Million Uninsured by 2023

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Obamacare's Losers Were Supposed to be the Winners. Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally, the bill was touted as a means to both cover the uninsured (either through subsidies or "forcing" people who could afford insurance to buy it) and help reduce costs for everyone. The Obama administration downplayed the impact the bill has on people, instead regularly inferring that 90 percent of people are not impacted by the bill outside of the increased coverage required. But the reality is that the goal of insuring all the uninsured isn't going to be met. The Congressional Budget Office projected that by 2023—more than a decade after implementation—that 31 million people will still be uninsured. This is the case even with subsidies being provided to help the poor, and the IRS enforcing forced-purchase laws. This number was revised in 2017 to project 28 million without insurance by 2026. However, that was almost half of the number who were projected to be without insurance under the Republican-proposed alternative at that time.

05
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Program Costs Projected Above Initial Estimates

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The Obama administration framed the ACA as a program with a price-tag below the magic $1 trillion mark. The CBO initially scored the bill as costing $900 billion over the first decade. In order to get the bill under $1 trillion, taxes that would never be implemented and cuts that would never be made were added. Some "savings" were double-counted. Other reductions in the cost of the bill were made on rosy expectations of reducing costs and cutting waste. But most importantly, the bill was framed as only costing that $900 billion over a decade, which included four years before most of the provisions were implemented. In 2014, CBO figures projected the cost of the first decade of Obamacare at closer to $1.8 trillion. While Republican-proposed replacements in 2017 decreased that number, savings were often offset by half due to decreased taxes, while leaving over 20 million more people uninsured.

06
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The Program is Run By the Government

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Conservatives prefer market-based solutions to health care. They believe that real people making real decisions are always better than government bureaucrats making those decisions.

07
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States Reject the Bill

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One of the "loopholes" that is damaging to the implementation of Obamacare is the ability of states to refuse to set up a state health insurance exchange and instead leave it up to the federal government to run them. Over half of states have chosen not to run a state exchange. While the federal government attempted to persuade states to create them with the promise of huge financial support, the states with a conservative majority realized that the long-term costs would be unsustainable and the federal government would still be dictating everything.

08
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Inability to Alter Bill

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When Obamacare was initially passed, Democrats had full control of both chambers of Congress. The Republicans couldn't stop anything but their cooperation was needed to make fixes. Some conservatives favored not fixing it and letting it fail. When the Republicans gained power in both chambers and the White House, they struggled to find an acceptable replacement rather than amending the bill.

09
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True "Benefits" Remain Unclear

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Obamacare is Working?. Getty Images Jackie de Carvalho

Many Americans feel like they are paying more but getting less for it due to rising premiums. They may have had to leave plans with more coverage in order to afford any plan at all and risk an IRS fine if they drop coverage.

10
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Negative Employee Repurcussions

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Smal Business are a Major Part of Capitalism. Getty Images

In order to escape the heavy hand of government, businesses have been forced to follow the law as passed and find ways to avoid being negatively impacted. As a result of the law, businesses have dropped full-time employees to part-time status, stopped hiring altogether, and scrapped plans for expansion. Not only does this hurt the overall employment market, but employees are being impacted with fewer hours. Those employees are not only still not getting employer-provided insurance, but they are now making less money overall, making it more difficult to purchase government-mandated insurance.

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Hawkins, Marcus. "10 Reasons Obamacare Is a Failure." ThoughtCo, Sep. 8, 2017, thoughtco.com/reasons-obamacare-is-and-will-continue-to-be-a-failure-3303662. Hawkins, Marcus. (2017, September 8). 10 Reasons Obamacare Is a Failure. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/reasons-obamacare-is-and-will-continue-to-be-a-failure-3303662 Hawkins, Marcus. "10 Reasons Obamacare Is a Failure." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/reasons-obamacare-is-and-will-continue-to-be-a-failure-3303662 (accessed December 17, 2017).