The legislative victory among Washington’s political class comes at a high cost for Wisconsinites forced to swallow this bitter pill. This massive health care overhaul – a remake of one-sixth of our economy – will exacerbate the problems in health care this reform effort sought to address and will dramatically alter our economic, fiscal, and American identity for the worse.
Sky-rocketing health care costs are drowning Wisconsin families, businesses, and governments in red ink – leaving millions priced out of the market and without coverage. This legislation – with its maze of mandates, dictates, controls, tax hikes and subsidies – all push costs further in the wrong direction.
Premiums in the individual market would rise from 10-13% for families, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Our debt and deficit crisis – driven by $76 trillion in unfunded liabilities – would accelerate through the creation of a brand new entitlement and an increase in the federal deficit by $662 billion over the next decade when the gimmicks and hidden costs are exposed. National health expenditures will increase by an additional $222 billion dollars over the next decade, according the President’s own chief actuary, and $2.4 trillion in the decade after the new entitlement is up and running.
More than anything, Wisconsin is in need of sustained job growth and a robust economic recovery. This legislation will hit our economy with $569 billion in tax increases – tax hikes that will hit workers, families, and job-creators alike.
The entire architecture of this overhaul is designed, unapologetically, to give the government greater control over what kind of insurance is available, how much health care is enough and which treatments are worth paying for. The mix of mandates and higher costs will drive Americans into government exchanges, with an ever-enlarging number reliant upon taxpayer subsidies for their care. In addition to the range of job-killing tax hikes, the new controls on all Americans are aimed to penalize employers and individuals who don’t play by Washington’s new rules.
The true shame of this health care debacle is that there are real problems in health care that need to be fixed. Almost a year ago, I introduced the Patients’ Choice Act to fix what’s broken in health care, without breaking what’s working. I’ve spoken with Wisconsinites for years on patient-centered reforms on how we can achieve universal access to quality, affordable health care with the patient and the doctor- not the government or insurance companies – as the nucleus of the health care market. These alternatives were ignored by Democratic Leaders in Washington – and the concerns from Wisconsinites and an engaged American public were dismissed by Washington’s political class.
The year-long partisan crusade – right through its ugly conclusion – revealed that this debate was never about policy, but rather a paternalistic ideology at odds with our historic commitment to individual liberty, limited government and entrepreneurial dynamism. The proponents of this legislation reject an opportunity society, and instead assume you are stuck in your station in life and the role of government is to help you cope with it. Rather than promote equal opportunities for individuals to make the most of their lives, the cradle-to-grave welfare state seeks to equalize the results of people’s lives.
We must begin anew on mitigating the disaster from this health care debacle. Let’s repeal the costly missteps before they hit with full force. Let’s make certain we not simply retreat back to an earlier point on the same path to decline. Let’s chart a new direction that will restore the promise and prosperity of this exceptional nation – and let’s do it together.