In 2009 and 2010, Obama, Pelosi and their fellow Democrats sold Obamacare as a kind of miracle. It would give health insurance to 30 million previously uncovered people and cut the federal deficit by more than a trillion dollars at the same time. And the only taxes needed to pay for it all would fall on the very wealthy. It seemed impossible, but that’s what they claimed.
Now, millions of middle-income Americans who probably felt safe from Obamacare’s taxes are learning that they will pay for the program after all, in the form of higher premiums. Democrats constructed a system in which insurance companies would be forced to cover more people and then spread the cost around among those who had coverage all along, meaning many middle-income Americans will have to pay more for what they already had. Taxpayer-paid subsidies would go to lower-income Americans.
“The Affordable Care Act was not designed to reduce costs or, the law’s name notwithstanding, to make health insurance coverage affordable for the vast majority of Americans,” health care consultant Kip Piper told USA Today. “The law uses taxpayer dollars to lower costs for the low-income uninsured, but it also increases costs overall and shifts costs within the marketplace.”
It was a clever strategy, allowing Democrats to sell their bill as a deficit cutter that wouldn’t raise taxes on the vast majority of Americans. But the public had to find out eventually. “ACA taxes were imposed only on high-income people,” the conservative writer David Frum noted recently in a series of tweets. “But large costs fall on the middle class, too, in the hidden, kludgy form of rate hikes. ‘Obamacare is deficit neutral’ wasn’t technically a lie, but it was highly misleading. The middle class will pay and is paying.”