Obamacare’s Dependence Day

eyeglasses and newspaper blue background

The Labor Department’s latest report shows the “number of Americans 16 and older who did not participate in the labor force climbed to a record high of 92,120,000 in June.” [1] With the slumping economy, job-stifling regulations and lackluster job growth, it’s no surprise that Americans are suffering more than ever and turning to government assistance.

While our nation’s safety nets are designed to be a hand up to those in need, Washington has turned them into permanent holding cells, entrapping Americans into further economic demise. The Administration and their cries of wanting to help “real America” has yet to learn that citizens want more opportunities, like jobs, not policies that drive them to further government dependency. Case in point – Obamacare.

Instead of turning to free-market approaches that would spur competition, thus lowering prices, Washington went the opposite direction. First, they forced coverage to include an array of mandates – like pediatric care even if people don’t have kids – causing premiums to skyrocket. Then, to make insurance “affordable,” they offered a luring subsidy. Without Uncle Sam’s assistance, insurance for many would be less affordable and less appealing.

“Millions of Americans are willing to buy health insurance — but only if it is available at steep discounts.

That somewhat surprising conclusion is suggested by two recent Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports, including one released last week analyzing average premiums paid by the 4.7 million people who have obtained subsidized coverage through federal health exchanges.

That study found that people who qualified for health insurance subsidies paid an average of $82 a month for coverage, with nearly half paying $50 per month or less. On average, subsidies covered 76% of the premiums, a great deal for those who are getting government help.

Absent that help, most consumers apparently didn’t think health insurance was worth the price. An HHS report from last month found that three out of four people who completed applications chose not to select a health plan once they learned that they would have to pay the full premium. According to that study, nearly 4.8 million people who went through the rather laborious application process were told that they did not qualify for subsidies. Of those, just over 1.2 million selected a health plan. For the rest, paying full price for coverage was not an appealing option.” [2]

Yes, on average the government paid 76% of enrollees’ premiums. This explains why “approximately 87% of individuals in the FFM [federally-facilitated marketplace] selected plans with tax credits.”[3]The Obama Administration didn’t make coverage more affordable. They just made more people dependent on government, which according to Merril Matthews of Forbes has put our country in a dangerous position.

“Obamacare has pushed us over the entitlements tipping point. In 2011 some 49.2% of U.S. households received benefits from one or more government programs—about 151 million out of an estimated 306.8 million Americans—according to U.S. Census Bureau data released last October.

Currently, around 6 million to 7 million Americans who have signed up for Obamacare are receiving taxpayer-provided subsidies (though the administration’s numbers cannot be trusted, it’s all we have to work with).  There are another 3 million who have signed up for Medicaid.

That means some 10 million Americans—or a total of about 161 million—are now getting government subsidies (though the final number might be somewhat lower since some may have been receiving benefits already). Thus, perhaps 52 percent of U.S. households—more than half—now receive benefits from the government, thanks to President Obama…

As Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”  [4]

Either we repeal Obamacare or Obamacare repeals independence.