Yesterday, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health convened a field hearing in Pennsylvania to learn about the impact that one year of broken ObamaCare promises is having on the availability and affordability of health care in the state.  According to local government and business representatives, the maze of ObamaCare mandates and regulations is making it more difficult and expensive for states and small businesses to provide coverage, and putting more American jobs at risk.  Here are a few key points from the hearing:

  • Threatening American Jobs. Gene Barr, Vice President, Government and Public Affairs, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry: “Taxes on employers who cannot afford to provide coverage will result in lower salaries and lost jobs. Lowered payments to doctors and hospitals by government programs will lead to higher premiums for those with private health insurance.  And new taxes aimed at the wealthy will fall squarely on small business owners.  Massive tax increases are not conducive to spurring economic growth and stemming our high unemployment.” (Testimony, 3/23/11)
  • Jeopardizing Coverage, Raising Costs for Small Businesses. Kevin Shivers, Pennsylvania Director, National Federation of Independent Business: “Many small businesses fortunate enough to afford health insurance have had their plans canceled because the federal health law’s new and restrictive rules have rendered them non-compliant. … About 60 percent of small businesses last year made small adjustments to their plans in order to manage rising costs. By making small changes or adjustments, these plans no longer comply with ‘grandfathering’ provisions under the PPACA, exposing these businesses to more regulations and cost increases in the future.” (Testimony, 3/23/11)
  • Increasing Costs. Honorable Michael Consedine, Acting Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Insurance Department: “[T]hese ACA_mandated coverage changes resulted in premium increases of up to 9 percent – this on top of already significant premium increases being seen by Pennsylvania businesses and consumers. Therefore, it is important to stress that the initial reforms have caused an increase in premiums and not a decrease.” (Testimony, 3/23/11)
  • Accelerating States Toward “A Cliff of Fiscal Instability.” Honorable Gary Alexander, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare: Pennsylvania’s Medicaid rolls, already heading towards a cliff of fiscal instability, will clearly plunge over the edge if federal regulations are not eased. And that includes putting the brakes on this healthcare reform law.” (Testimony, 3/23/1)
  • Creating Uncertainty for States, Individuals. Honorable Michael Consedine, Acting Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Insurance Department: “In addition to the financial toll of healthcare reform, we also find ourselves without clear direction on many key points. I think even HHS would agree that there are many critical components of ACA that have yet to be firmly defined and this has led to a general atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion for the states and consumers.” (Testimony, 3/23/11)

With the devastating consequences of ObamaCare already impacting state governments and local businesses, it is no surprise that the law remains as unpopular as ever with the American people.  The new House majority is listening to Americans, and has already voted to repeal ObamaCare and is working to replace it with better solutions to bring down costs and protect jobs.  As House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said in a video marking the one-year anniversary of ObamaCare yesterday:

“If there’s a constant in the story of ObamaCare, it’s broken promises.

“Instead of creating jobs, employers have been handed more uncertainty and more headaches. Instead of lower costs, families and small businesses are being squeezed even further. Instead of keeping what they like, millions are being forced off their coverage. …

“Together, we can repeal ObamaCare and replace it with common-sense reforms that lower costs and protect American jobs.”