If you thought the fight over Obamacare was a done deal, think again.
In Ohio and dozens of states across the nation, hardworking citizen activists continue to push back against the creation of state health care exchanges and Medicaid expansion. These fights will have real repercussions about the new law's financial viability and impact on doctors, patients, and taxpayers. And they make it clear why a recent Kaiser poll shows that 60 percent of Americans think they will be worse off under ObamaCare or experience no positive benefit.
Americans for Prosperity's latest $1 million ad, which included runs in Ohio and Virginia, gives three key facts why Americans should continue to be skeptical.
First, ObamaCare will limit medical options. The Congressional Budget Office reports at least seven million Americans with employer-provided health insurance will lose health care choices over the next nine years as companies eliminate health care benefits. Recently, the grocery store Wegmans axed health benefits for its more than 4,000 part time workers and "the company said the decision was related to changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act."
Part time workers aren't necessarily high schoolers. Given the slow economic recovery, many people are relying on multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. Thanks to ObamaCare, it just became that much more difficult for many Americans to get back on their feet.
It's not just people with employer-provided plans who stand to lose. The low-income are at even greater risk - especially in states which have chosen to expand Medicaid. Due to Medicaid's flawed funding formula, many doctors are increasingly choosing not to accept new Medicaid patients. As of last August, over a quarter of Ohio doctors are refusing new Medicaid patients. Worse, the doctors Medicaid patients get stuck with are rarely the best and brightest, which is bad news for recipients. According to a University of Virginia study, surgical patients on Medicaid are 13 percent more likely to die than uninsured patients and 97 percent more likely to die than privately-insured patients. A Cancer Journal study found Medicaid cancer patients are two to three more times more likely to die than other patients.
Second, while ObamaCare leaves millions of Americans with worse care and fewer options, it also makes them poorer. Stanford University economist Daniel Kessler estimates more than two-thirds of generally healthy consumers - about 10 million people - will see higher insurance bills in 2014. The Congressional Budget Office finds young people will bear the brunt of higher health costs while also facing higher debt and the worst job market in 50 years.
Finally, the very people who devised the program are publicly expressing doubts! Senator Max Baucus, a primary author of the bill, predicted a "huge trainwreck" last year. Senator Harry Reid, a diehard proponent of the law, reluctantly says that "I agree with [Baucus]." Senator Chuck Schumer admits that premiums are rising "in part because of ObamaCare." Most recently, the Obama administration saw the writing on the wall and delayed implementation of the employer mandate. When the people who passed the law are so openly concerned about its impact, there's a clear sign that something went wrong.
The bad news is with each passing day, we learn more bad news about ObamaCare. The good news is that public pressure is increasing and politicians are paying attention. In the meantime, it's up to Ohio's legislators and Governor Kasich to protect state residents from the law, not cave to it while the fight is still raging. That starts with saying no to Medicaid expansion. The case for ObamaCare repeal grows stronger every day. Keep up the fight.
Eli Miller is state director of Americans for Prosperity for Ohio. He lives in Columbus.