Should the Affordable Care Act be repealed?

White House/Pete Souza

President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order that reaffirms the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion, in the Oval Office, March 24, 2010.

Article Highlights

  • The ACA was unpopular, unwise and unsustainable when first enacted in March 2010.

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  • The ACA will further erode meaningful limits on the powers of the federal government.

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  • Repealing the ACA in whole is necessary to clear the way for the lasting reforms of health care we so desperately need.

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as “Obamacare” -- was unpopular, unwise, and unsustainable when first enacted in March 2010. Another two years of stumbling implementation and real-world analysis; amid fierce battles in the courts, on Capitol Hill and throughout the states, provided further evidence of the health law’s flaws. The law is too costly to finance, too difficult to administer, too burdensome on health care practitioners, and too disruptive of health care arrangements that many Americans prefer.

"The ACA is not just too misguided to succeed. It’s too dangerous to maintain and far too flawed to fix on a piecemeal basis." -Thomas P. Miller

The ACA is not just too misguided to succeed. It’s too dangerous to maintain and far too flawed to fix on a piecemeal basis. The law will jeopardize future economic growth, distort health care delivery, and limit access to quality care. It doubles down on our already unsustainable entitlement spending for health care, transferring dedicated funds from one overcommitted program (Medicare) to establish a new one – the subsidies the ACA provides consumers to buy insurance in government-run exchanges.

The ACA will further erode meaningful limits on the powers of the federal government. Its maze of current and future mandates, regulatory edicts, and arbitrary bureaucracy undermines political accountability and the rule of law.

Obamacare was built on faulty premises, then disguised with accounting fictions and narrowly approved through cynical deal making. Repealing it in whole is necessary to clear the way for the lasting reforms of health care we so desperately need.

The long overdue journey to health policy that drives sustainable health care improvement must be centered on better incentives, information, choices, competition, personal responsibilities, and trust in the decisions of individuals and their families. It should not be guided by top-down mandates, arbitrary budgetary formulas, and bureaucratic buck-passing. We won’t improve our health until we move personal health care decisions out of politics and back into the hands of patients and physicians.

Repeal of the ACA is not enough, by itself. But it opens the door to a more decentralized and market-based alternative that will work and improve the lives of Americans. The country needs a more competitive health care marketplace that encourages more entry and less command-and-control regulation, while retargeting our tax-funded resources on protecting the most vulnerable individuals and their families.

Rebalancing our resources, our values, our hopes, and our fears is too important, complex, and personal to leave in the hands of the many politicians, experts, and entrenched interests that have failed us in the past.

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About the Author

 

Thomas P.
Miller
  • Thomas Miller is a former senior health economist for the Joint Economic Committee (JEC). He studies health care policy and regulation. A former trial attorney, journalist, and sports broadcaster, Mr. Miller is the co-author of Why ObamaCare Is Wrong For America (HarperCollins 2011) and heads AEI's "Beyond Repeal & Replace" health reform project. He has testified before Congress on issues including the uninsured, health care costs, Medicare prescription drug benefits, health insurance tax credits, genetic information, Social Security, and federal reinsurance of catastrophic events. While at the JEC, he organized a number of hearings that focused on reforms in private health care markets, such as information transparency and consumer-driven health care.
  • Phone: 202-862-5886
    Email: tmiller@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Neil McCray
    Phone: 202-862-5826
    Email: Neil.McCray@aei.org

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