Currently, there is a projected doubling in estimated healthcare costs to the federal government over the next ten years. We now know that in 45 states the cost of health insurance for the average family will increase on the exchanges, and family policies are already up an average of $2,200 rather than down the $2,500 that the president predicted. All of the cost curve projections are in the opposite direction promised, from the individual all the way to the government. It's actually shocking that to some these movements are a great big surprise.
Further, the administration knew that many of us would not be able to keep the plan that we had at the time of his utterances because the Affordable Care Act mandated specific types of coverage that weren't a part of most of the policies purchased by individuals in this country. Estimates are that somewhere between 50-80 percent of those policies didn't fit the mandates. Promises were made to grandfather in nonconforming plans but immediately afterward, regulations were written that would make it nearly impossible to do so.
Consumers make choices every day as to how they will spend scarce dollars. When it comes to health insurance, each of us must find the balance that works for us and determine just how much and which types of coverage for which we are willing to pay. The president has told us that we are no longer allowed to make that decision for ourselves, and if we're unable to afford the type of coverage that has been mandated, I suppose all those new IRS agents will just start seizing our stuff.
At some point we, the American people, should have the right to hold our representatives accountable for their promises. So here's my proposal: Attached to every piece of legislation should be an addendum that estimates costs and economic effects on American households and businesses. In some instances those effects might be difficult to guage, but in other cases such as with this legislation, numerous promises were made about specific costs and effects. I said at the time that if those promises were put in writing and attached to the bill as an inviolable part of the legislation, there probably could have been bipartisan support (because of course every Republican knew what the rest of the country is apparently just figuring out).
Congress should be given a 10 percent window of variability, and if the program deviates from the stated estimates by more than that amount, the entire bill should be voided. This gives strong incentives to be reasonably accurate in the predictions because if they're wrong or completely made up, the whole law would be scrapped. Congress could be required to review a law yearly for the first three years, then maybe every five years in perpetuity. If programs began to creep beyond their initial stated intent and costs were to skyrocket, the law would go away at the next review and those who win elections based on giveaways would be responsible for the death of more programs than those who seek to spend responsibly.
And they would have no one to blame but themselves.