Health care is still an ongoing issue

Despite Obama’s legislation, health care policy should not fall from public attention.

by Derek Olson

It’s been the political talking point of the past several years, but health care remains an ongoing, vital political issue. It deserves to be: One out of every $6 spent in the U.S. economy goes to health care. Bad health care policy also has a sweeping effect on the economy.

Recently, the Obama administration chose to illegally delay the employer mandate, a component of the Affordable Care Act, for the second time. Firms with 50 to 99 employees are now exempt from Obamacare’s employer mandate until 2016, which was supposed to begin in 2014. Nothing gives President Barack Obama or his staff the authority to decide when the mandate begins, so the move completely violates federal law. Yet the action, which took place earlier this month, did not garner much attention.

Imagine for a moment that Mitt Romney had won the 2012 election and his administration had made the same decision to delay the employer mandate, illegally. Then they illegally delayed it once more. I suspect the press and the public would have reacted differently

This line of action from the Obama administration deserves greater scrutiny. The president signed the ACA, or Obamacare, into law in early 2010. Why should it take six years for a central component of the law to take effect? Did they expect another embarrassment like the website rollout? If the extended delay is to benefit businesses, how can they continue to deny the harmful effects of the law?

Earlier this year, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office updated some of its projections for Obamacare. It found that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours Americans work by 1.5 to 2 percent between 2017 and 2024. That’s the equivalent of eliminating 2.5 million full-time jobs by 2024. This is because, as the CBO states, Obamacare decreases the incentive to work, and thus, Americans will choose to work fewer hours.

When the CBO published the new report, supporters of the law quickly jumped to Obamacare’s defense, claiming it was a good thing to encourage not working. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said on ABC morning talk show “This Week” that Americans are working too much. It’s truly amazing the extent to which those omniscient puppet masters think they know how to better manage other people’s lives.

These legislators don’t understand that paying people to work less shrinks the economy as a whole. As many introductory economics textbooks simply state, the more equally we try to divide the economic pie, the smaller the pie becomes. It should be obvious that paying Americans to work less decreases the wealth of society.

We are increasingly adopting a system that takes from those who produce and subsidizes those who do not. That’s not a formula for success. It’s not even a good way to help the least fortunate; redistribution of resources is all too often counterproductive.

Health care should remain a significant issue in the 2014 elections. Obamacare has been nothing if not disappointing to those who expected effective health care reform, to those who expected the government to properly manage a website and to those who merely expected their representatives to read a bill before passing it. Very little of Obamacare is worth saving, but Republicans should campaign on more than just repeal. We desperately need real solutions and politicians brave enough to offer them.