• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Facts Deflate Sebelius's Defense of Obamacare

    It must be a tough job defending Obamacare, but someone’s got to do it. This week, that someone is Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post.

    A Decrease in Health Care Costs? Not So Fast

    Sebelius says national health expenditures have increased only by about 4 percent annually over the past two years, significantly less than in previous years.

    Sure—health care costs did, in fact, slow somewhat over the last few years. But the trend started before Obamacare even became law. The real reason for slowed growth in health care costs, as Administration officials themselves explain, is the poor economic climate.

    Sebelius goes on to tout that health care costs are “projected to stay level as a share of gross domestic product from 2009 all the way through 2013.” Why stop at 2013, Madam Secretary? Well, as Heritage has pointed out, that’s because 2014 is the year that the most expensive spending provisions of Obamacare kick in. The Medicare actuary has the real story: the next decade will experience “overall acceleration in projected national health spending growth to 7.4 percent, which is 2.1 percentage points faster than would be expected in the absence of health reform.”

    Sebelius actually claims that Obamacare lowers premiums. But an annual employer survey shows that premiums for employer-based coverage grew faster from 2010 to 2011 than they did they year before. Not only that, but Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman even stated that Obamacare was responsible for between one and two percentage points, or approximately 20 percent, of the premium increase.

    Relief for Small Businesses? Not Really

    According to the Secretary, “new tax credits in the law are saving hundreds of thousands of small companies thousands of dollars each on their insurance costs.”

    But the truth is that, despite original estimates that 4 million small businesses would be eligible for and benefit from Obamacare’s small business tax credit, only 28,100 employers claimed the full credit amount. The Government Accountability Office even concluded that the credit was not big enough to incentivize employers to offer coverage and was too complex and time-consuming to file for.

    The tax credit eventually phases out in 2016, and it doesn’t make up for the overall impact of Obamacare on small business owners, which includes new taxes, penalties, and other regulatory burdens that inhibit growth.

    Obamacare Strengthens Medicare? Not Quite

    Last but not least, Secretary Sebelius argues that under Obamacare, “Medicare is stronger than ever.” She claims that the Medicare savings achieved in Obamacare extends the solvency of the program. But the Secretary and supporters also argue that the new spending in the law is paid for by using these same Medicare savings.

    The Secretary also attributes lower Medicare Advantage premiums to Obamacare. But what she neglects to let readers know is that Obamacare all but destroys Medicare Advantage plans by cutting $145 billion from them. Heritage analysis predicts, “About half will lose Medicare Advantage coverage entirely. Others will stay in Medicare Advantage, but at reduced benefit levels and possibly in different plans that do not meet their needs as well.”

    Sebelius says it best herself: “People are entitled to their opinions, but not to their own facts. And the facts in this case are clear.” However, the facts aren’t on the side of Obamacare.

    Posted in Featured, Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Facts Deflate Sebelius's Defense of Obamacare

    1. steve h says:

      Great Politico piece today: So the House GOP held its repeal vote yesterday, and it passed with little suspense. But House Republicans have hardly lived up to their health care promises after 18 months in power. Back in 2010, GOP leaders promised to do medical liability reform, allow Americans to buy health insurance across state lines, expand health savings accounts, ensure coverage for pre-existing conditions and "permanently prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion." So far, they've just done an abortion bill and medical liability legislation. Replacement bills have percolated in committee, but they're in a holding pattern. House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman said the focus has been on repeal before replacing with step-by-step reforms, like the ones outlined in the GOP Pledge to America. Meanwhile, Republicans who campaigned hard against the Affordable Care Act in the last election are hoping their repeal votes will be sufficient enough for voters while they slow-walk replacement bills.

      • Bobbie says:

        it's kind of hard to get work done when you have to deal with people who work in conflict of the issue.

      • Stirling says:

        When the senate majority leader harry reid doesn't even bring the house bills up for a vote Steve it's hard to get anything done.. So please don't say the GOP hasn't done anything, quoting politico (mouthpiece of George Soros, and this administration) is just amusing but not serious news for people who know what really is going on. How long has the senate (democrat controlled) not passed a budget now ? 1000+ days and counting…

      • ron says:

        You forget who controls the senate, it is not the GOP. The senate is where the real problem lies.

    2. Bobbie says:

      That's right, Sebelius. Facts don't come with cover ups and half truths, distortions, misleadings etc…

    3. undunder says:

      Check this out. It seems that our so called conservative leaders are lying to us and have no intention of repealing obamacare. I can't stand these lying sacks of dirt.

      • Skat says:

        These are not our "so called conservative leaders." They are esttablishment RINOS, and they will be swept away with the rest if they try to get in the way.

    4. ron says:

      You want to see lies look at the dem record, their record is nothing short of felonius treason.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.