Ruin disguised as reform

Does the so-called Affordable Care Act make affordable health care more or less available? What is the cost?

There are countless costs incurred by state governments, but none greater than the anticipated explosion in Medicaid payments.

Georgia contributes 34 cents of each dollar spent on Medicaid and expects to spend about $3.8 billion in 2013, or about 20 percent of the state budget. The projected 40 percent increase in Georgia Medicaid enrollment will be disastrous to the state’s budget.

Unlike the federal government, Georgia can’t borrow or print money to cover budget deficits. The only choice will be to raise taxes.

One reason Medicaid will expand is the rising cost of private health insurance premiums. As a direct result of mandates, rules and regulations in the Affordable Care Act, Georgians who have private insurance will pay more for it or drop it and depend on Medicaid.

According to a study of the Wisconsin insurance market by the plan’s chief architect, economist Jonathan Gruber, individual premiums will increase by an average of 30 percent.

Employers will be hit by higher premiums and the requirement to cover all employees. For Georgia employers already struggling to survive in the worst economic downturn in decades, the Affordable Care Act could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The director of the Congressional Budget Office testified that it will result in the loss of 800,000 jobs.

Perhaps even more worrisome is that despite this massive job loss during an economic downturn, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi recently said this law is President Barack Obama’s “crown jewel” and his “greatest achievement.”

And for those still employed, here come the taxes. Space doesn’t allow discussion of every new tax that will appear in the wake of the Act — medical devices, prescription drugs, “Cadillac” health insurance plans, home sales, even tanning beds.

Health care providers pay as taxpayers and employers, but their fiscal pain doesn’t stop there. One doctor said his practice loses money on every Medicaid patient he sees. He plans to retire early or develop a new business model.

Why would anyone report for work so they could lose money?

Like any government-contrived price control, this one will cut the supply of health care providers even as demand rises. Longer waits and less available treatment will ensue.

Clearly, the Affordable Care Act is yet another Obama scheme to grow government at every level and raise taxes.

It will cost Georgians more than money. Our freedom to manage our own affairs and purchase what we want with what we earn is at stake.

The individual mandate is the unprecedented policy the Supreme Court is focused on in the current debate.

May the justices rule wisely, lest we end up losing our money, our health and our freedom.

Virginia Galloway is director of Americans for Prosperity, Georgia.

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