Boehner, GOP Mark Obamacare's Birthday: 'Tax Hikes, Cost Increases & Red Tape'

Saturday, 23 Mar 2013 06:18 PM

By Greg Richter and Paul Scicchitano

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The president’s unpopular healthcare law — Obamacare — celebrated its third birthday on Saturday, while Republicans insisted that the billions of dollars in additional taxes will be no gift to the American people.

“Three years ago, Democrats rammed Obamacare into law,” tweeted House Speaker John Boehner on Saturday. “How are its tax hikes, cost increases, & red tape affecting you?”

Boehner added, "Affordable? Not so far #Obamacare ‘hasn't produced promised results.’”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who sought the Republican presidential nomination, tweeted:

Should ObamaCare Be Repealed? Vote in Urgent National Poll

"Americans forced to swallow the bitter bill of Obamacare 3 years ago today."

The Republican National Committee marked the occasion with a giant banner on the outside of its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

"Happy Birthday Obamacare! We didn't forget you," the banner read.

Boehner, the highest ranking Republican in the House also posted a related survey on his Team Boehner website and encouraged his Twitter followers to answer seven questions.

One of the questions asks whether average voters “in your neighborhood” are aware that “Obamacare’s projected price tag has nearly doubled to $1.76 trillion over 10 years,” while another asks whether “Washington should have the power to fine Americans for not carrying healthcare coverage deemed ‘acceptable’ by federal bureaucrats.”

Still another question asks whether “your neighbors and coworkers” are aware that an “estimated seven million Americans are at risk of losing their health insurance due to ObamaCare — including millions of low-income and minority seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage.”

“Get engaged in the fight to repeal ObamaCare #4jobs & lower costs,” Boehner urged.

Traveling in the Mideast, President Obama took the opportunity to defend his signature legislation.

"In the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one should go broke just because they get sick," he said.

Meanwhile, Obama still faces five significant challenges to his universal healthcare law, reports The Washington Post.

They include:

1. Extending Medicaid expansion: A Supreme court ruling allowed states to opt out of this part of the law and 14 states have decided to do just that.

2. Building health-insurance marketplaces: These are the online exchanges that allow for one-stop comparison shopping, a sort of Expedia for health coverage, according to the Post. The technology to build the exchanges is still under construction, and having them finished on time is vital to the plan’s success. Only 17 states opted to build their own exchanges. The rest will rely on the federal government’s plan. The states and the feds have a deadline of Oct. 1 to finish them.

3. Getting the word out about the new program: An Enroll America poll found that 78 percent of low- and middle-income Americans were not aware of the potential benefits they would get from healthcare law. But the universal mandate and other unpopular parts of the law are well known. The White House plans an outreach campaign this summer as the law gets closer to implementation, the newspaper noted.

4. Swaying public opinion: The near 50/50 split in public opinion is about the same as it was three years ago. Forty percent oppose it — but the percentage of people who approve of Obamacare has dropped by 9 percent.

5. Controlling healthcare costs: This one is more difficult to control, the Post notes. The law contains some provisions aimed keeping costs down, but whether they will succeed is still unknown. Spending on healthcare has remained level over the past three years, costs are expected to rise next year.

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