Two years ago today, President Barack Obama signed into law Obamacare, a 2,700-page bill that will radically alter America's health care system and wreak havoc on medical costs, quality of care, and fundamental rights in ways that are beyond the scope of our imagination.
Much of what was contained in Obamacare was hatched behind closed doors where not even the slightest ray of light could find its way in. Even the men and women in Congress who were entrusted to represent the people cast their votes blindly, not knowing what lay in store. As even then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) famously admitted, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it."
The American people have already spoken, however. They want this law repealed and tossed out, as we have seen in poll after poll for the past two years. None of the activities being planned by the White House to gussy up this law will likely make a dent on the unpopularity of Obamacare.
Though even today, two years later, much of Obamacare remains to be written by unelected bureaucrats in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we know some of what's contained in the law and the ramifications for the American people. Most broadly, Obamacare rips vast powers from the hands of individual patients and their families, and it vests control in Washington bureaucrats. And the costs are far greater than the Administration claim -- heading as high as $2.134 trillion with millions Americans dependent on government for their health care.
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that under the President's health care law, 20 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored health benefits and the individual and employer penalties related to the mandates could hit $221 billion. At the time of passage, many people warned as much.
But wait, there's more.
For the last two years, Heritage has continued to dissect Obamacare and its poisonous side effects. Like a virulent disease spiraling out of control, Obamacare inflicts harm on all that it touches.
Seniors will suffer as Obamacare robs savings from Medicare in order to fund new government spending while threatening seniors' access to care and ending Medicare as we know it. On top of that, as Heritage's Alyene Senger writes, Obamacare makes extreme cuts to Medicare Advantage, which allows seniors to receive their Medicare benefits through a private health care plan of their choice. And it puts a group of 15 unelected officials in charge of finding cuts in Medicare to meet new spending limits.
Young Americans will suffer as well. Though the President brags that his law allows young adults to stay on their parents' health plans until age 26, they ultimately will face higher premiums, perverse incentives to stay uninsured, and the burden of paying the extraordinary costs that the law brings with it.
There are even more consequences under Obamacare: families will pay higher taxes; businesses will face new mandates and costs; investment income will get hit with new taxes, discouraging investment and harming economic growth; Americans who purchase medicine with Health Savings Account or Flexible Savings Accounts will face new limitations; those who purchase medical devices will face higher taxes; and marriage is penalized as a result of the new subsidy scheme.
There are significant moral implications, too. Heritage's Sarah Torre wrote yesterday of news about an abortion surcharge, which follows the HHS mandate that insurance plans must cover on abortion-inducing drugs and contraception:
These episodes are rapidly becoming the status quo of Obamacare implementation, with a familiar and predictable plot line: an unaccountable bureaucracy releases complicated rules on morally fraught healthcare decisions, runs roughshod over Americans' moral concerns and personal freedom, and then tries to obscure the flaws of the legislation with accounting legerdemain and limited disclosure.
Last week, a CBS/New York Times poll on the HHS mandate showed strong support for religious liberty, with 57 percent of respondents saying that religious employers should not be coerced to violate their doctrine and conscience by providing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and contraception in their health plans, compared to 36 percent who thought they should. A sizable majority -- 51 percent to 40 percent -- favored a religious and moral exemption for all employers.
Today at noon Americans will rally in 140 locations across the country to protest Obamacare's trampling of religious liberty. In Washington, D.C., they'll gather right in front of HHS and demand that the moral compass for personal health decisions be pried out of the hands of unelected bureaucrats and put back in the hands of the people.
And on Monday, the Supreme Court will begin hearing three days of oral arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare's controversial individual mandate, which for the first time ever forces Americans to buy a product -- health care -- against their will. This provision is the core of the President's health care law, and it is a direct attack on individual liberty. Unless the Court strikes down Obamacare in its entirety, Congress must stand ready to finish the job. The American people should continue to make their voices heard, demand a repeal of Obamacare, and insist on real health care reform that increases access without forcing Americans to fall under government control.
Join Heritage in voicing your support for this cause, raise your voices against this intolerable act, take a stand to defend liberty, and sign our Repeal Obamacare petition today