Americans Losing Confidence in ObamaCare’s Promise of Lower Costs and Medicare Guarantee

By Fred Lucas | August 24, 2010 | 4:50 AM EDT

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden react to cheers as they arrive in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 23, 2010, for the signing ceremony for the health care bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – Americans are less confident they will be able to afford their health care now than they were before President Barack Obama signed the $1 trillion health care overhaul package, according to a poll released on the five-month anniversary of the president’s signature.
A Thomson-Reuters consumer confidence poll released Monday said “Americans’ confidence in their ability to pay for and access health care has fallen by 5 percent since December 2009.” The survey encompassed 3,000 people.
The poll is the latest indicator of sustained public disapproval of the Democrats’ health care reform law. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in Marcy, says all Americans must buy health insurance and all companies with more than 50 employees must provide health insurance or pay a penalty. In addition, health insurance companies must cover pre-existing conditions.
A CNN/Opinion Research Survey last week found that 56 percent of Americans oppose the health care law.
Seventy-one percent of Missouri voters rejected the health care plan in a statewide referendum.
“The American people want nothing to do with ObamaCare and its tax hikes, job-killing mandates, Medicare cuts, and new bureaucracies,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a statement Monday. “That’s why fighting to repeal this unaffordable health care law and replace it with common-sense reforms focused on lowering costs and protecting American jobs.”
On Aug. 18, President Barack Obama touted the health care law at a Democratic fundraiser in Miami. “To lower the costs to families and businesses, we passed health insurance reform that will finally make coverage affordable and stop insurance companies from jacking up your premiums or refusing to cover you before you're sick -- because you’re sick.”
On Medicare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said seniors already are seeing lower drug costs thanks to the health care reform.
“While there has been almost no change in premiums for 2011, people with Medicare will see big improvements in drug coverage next year,” Sebelius said in a statement posted on the White House blog. “And just like President Obama promised -- guaranteed benefits for the seniors and persons with disabilities who rely on Medicare won't change. The Affordable Care Act was designed to strengthen the Medicare program and ensure that it will continue to provide health security to our seniors for many years to come.”
However, the non-partisan criticized the administration’s recent TV ad featuring actor Andy Griffith espousing how seniors are helped by the health reform. “Like always, we’ll have our guaranteed benefits,” Griffith says in the ad.
But points out that some 10 million Medicare Advantage recipients will see their benefits cut by about $43 a month. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by insurance companies, which providing supplemental benefits for seniors who choose to participate.
“Currently, about one in every four beneficiaries is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan,” said. “For many of them, the words in this ad ring hollow, and the promise that ‘benefits will remain the same’ is just as fictional as the town of Mayberry was when Griffith played the local sheriff.”
Boehner said the administration’s pledge that the new law would cut health-care costs has not materialized.
On Sept. 10, 2009, Obama told a joint session of Congress, “And it will slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government.”
On Sept. 15, 2009, Obama said: “The only thing that is going to allow us to close the structural deficit that we have that is piling on debt for our children and our grandchildren is if we are able to bend the cost curve and reduce the cost of health care inflation.” And on Feb. 7, 2010, Obama said, “If we can start bending the cost curve on health care, that’s the most important thing we can do to deal with the deficits long term.”
But last week, the National Business Group on Health, which represents large companies such as Microsoft and General Electric, found that 63 percent of employers said they would increase the proportion of insurance premiums paid by their employees.