One Year Later – Mississippi and the Health Care Law

March 23, 2011

Wednesday marked the first anniversary of President Obama signing into law a massive 2,700 page health care bill that Democrats rammed through Congress.  A year later, this law still remains as unpopular as it was when it passed and for good reason.  The health care takeover is proving to be a disastrous approach that will increase taxes, burden businesses and states, and force many Mississippians out of their current coverage. 

Former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, famously told a grassroots group, “We need to hurry up and pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”  But rather than discovering benefits, the American people continue to find new things in the bill that they do not like.  These consequences of the President’s health care law are particularly harmful to Mississippians:

• Increased Medicaid Enrollment – If the law is fully implemented, Medicaid will consume 25 percent of Mississippi’s entire budget, as 400,000 new individuals will be added to the program, which is already overburdened. 

• Higher Taxes and Program Cuts – By 2020, taxpayers will be paying an extra $443 million a year in Medicaid costs alone.  Our state government will be forced to find ways to pay for the rising costs, resulting in higher taxes and cuts to programs like education and law enforcement.

• Higher Premiums, Less Access – Under the law, seniors’ access to care will be reduced as more doctors are unable to accept Medicare patients.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that seven million seniors will lose their current Medicare Advantage Plans and family health insurance policies will increase by an average of $2,100 per year.

• 1,001 Waivers and counting – The Department of Health and Human Services has thus far issued waivers and exemptions to states and businesses that face an increase in premiums or a decrease in benefits because of the new law.  If the new law were not driving up costs and harming access, these waivers would not be necessary.

• More Spending.  The law will cost Mississippi taxpayers an estimated $1.3 to $1.7 billion over the next 10 years.  At a time when our deficit is expected to reach unprecedented levels, full implementation of the law will cost America $2.6 trillion dollars in new spending, worsening the problem. 

As we learn more, efforts to repeal Obamacare become increasingly important.  Mississippians want health care reform that reduces costs and increases the quality of care.  The tax increases, premium hikes, bureaucratic mandates, and cuts to seniors’ benefits that have come to light are the wrong approach to solving the problem.  It is no wonder 43 states, including Mississippi, have either joined lawsuits or taken other official actions to oppose parts of the President’s health care law. 

We need to repeal this law so we can provide Mississippians with the kind of reform that will drive down costs and improve the quality of care.   I remain committed to repealing this massive government-takeover and replacing it with solutions that will fix the problems with our health care system.  One year after the President signed his health care law, we need a new approach.