Knoxville News Sentinel Editorial: Repeal and replace health care law

Mar 23, 2012

On this, the second anniversary of "Obamacare," a friend, in a succinct aside, captured the sentiment of the majority of Americans. She explained that her employer in the tourism industry dropped company health insurance last year. She now nears the end of COBRA provisions that allowed her to keep coverage and is in search of an individual policy — an expensive individual policy.

"Thank you, President Obama," she said with a slight sneer.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has always been unpopular. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week showed 52 percent opposed the law while 41 percent approved. Additionally, 67 percent favored either repealing the whole law or striking the individual mandate.

"Truthfully, I don't think there's anyone up here (in Washington) who likes the law," U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said in a recent tele-town hall meeting with 1st Congressional District constituents.

"This program is a bureaucratic nightmare that has left patients, doctors, hospitals and state governments in total confusion," said U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville. "It is hurting our economy, especially small businesses, and it is taking our health care system toward all sorts of inefficiencies and waste, rationing and a declining quality of medical care for everyone. The more people learn about this program, the more unpopular it becomes."

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., remembers the partisan political putsch by Democrats two years ago to shove their ideological dream down American throats. "The only thing bipartisan about the health care law was the opposition to its passage two years ago and the opposition to it today," Alexander said. "It was a historic mistake to expand a health care delivery system that everyone knows we can't afford instead of reducing its cost so more Americans can afford to buy health insurance."

Not only is Obamacare unpopular, it is will cost much, much more than forecast. "Every government health care program has ended up costing many times more than what it was predicted at the time it was created," said Duncan. "I warned at the time that supporters of the president's health care bill were using every budget gimmick in the book to keep the 10-year cost under $1 trillion. Now, two years later, the Congressional Budget Office has doubled its estimate for the next 10 years."

Tragically, my friend is not alone. The nonpartisan CBO also reported this week that up to 20 million Americans may lose their employer-sponsored health insurance because of Obamacare. As your humble scribe noted before, Obama's mantra — "If you like your insurance, you can keep it." — was a myth.

Alexander gets it. "I've voted several times to repeal (Obamacare) and will continue to do so while working to replace it with prudent insurance reforms and step-by-step reductions in health care costs so more Americans can afford to buy insurance," Alexander said.

His is the only real solution: repeal and replace. For the good of my friend. For the good of us all.


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