Heritage Expert Testifies Before Congress on the Failures of Obamacare

The House Budget Committee held a hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to discuss Obamacare’s negative impact on patients, employers, and the economy.

Chairman Diane Black, R-Tenn., called on Heritage Foundation expert Edmund Haislmaier as one of four witnesses to testify on “The Failures of Obamacare: Harmful Effects and Broken Promises.”

Haislmaier, an expert in health care policy and markets, is a senior research fellow in Heritage’s Center for Health Policy Studies. He has worked on developing alternatives to Obamacare, as well as strategies for states to produce consumer-centered health insurance markets.

He testified that the growth of Obamacare enrollment is due primarily to Medicaid expansion, rather than private insurance.

Haislmaier provided data confirming that the net growth of enrollment, from 2014 to 2015 under Obamacare, is only 14 million (not the reported 20 million), and that Medicaid is accountable for roughly 84 percent of that number.

Haislmaier said it is reasonable to project that over a three-year period health insurance enrollment will have expanded by roughly 16.5 million individuals, of which 13.8 million are attributable to public coverage through Medicaid.

“[Medicaid] has increased the number of people covered by individual market insurance, but a lot of that has been offset by a decline in employer provided insurance, and it has principally produced enrollment increases through an expansion of public programs particularly Medicaid, and particularly the states that adopted the ACA expansion to able bodied adults.”

According to Haislmaier, one of the law’s biggest flaws is its focus on enrollment, rather than cost control.

“It’s true that the authors of the legislation prioritized enrollment over cost control, which I think is one of the reasons why the public was never sold on the bill because most of the public wanted the reverse,” Haislmaier said.

“The argument had been made indeed by advocates of this law that insurance with high deductibles was of less value, some even called it junk insurance. The interesting thing is that that’s what this law has produced.”

Conservatives and those who oppose the health care law are eager to see a full repeal of Obamacare as soon as possible. Progress is already being made by President Donald Trump, who signed an executive order within hours of assuming the presidency on Jan. 20 to provide relief to constituencies affected by Obamacare.

Heritage Foundation experts regularly testify on Capitol Hill at hearings about the most pressing public policy issues facing America.

*Originally published at The Heritage Foundation, click here.

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