Interview With Sally Pipes On ObamaCare At Six Months
October 4, 2010
By Roger Aronoff
AIM recently interviewed Sally Pipes, President and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a San Francisco-based think tank—and the author of the new book The Truth About ObamaCare. Ms. Pipes has been president of PRI since 1991. The Institute promotes free market solutions to issues such as the environment, education, and health care. She is a renowned expert on health care and economic issues. In 2005, she was named one of the “Top Ten Women in the Conservative Movement in America ,” as published by Human Events. She has written three books, including The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care: A Citizen’s Guide, in 2008.
While many in the media treated the six month anniversary of the passage of the legislation as a reason for great praise and appreciation, most polls indicate that a majority of Americans disagree. According to Sally Pipes, “The American people are going to be very upset with higher taxes, higher deficits, and, ultimately, rationed care. Because that’s what’s going to happen under ObamaCare, as we move down the path to government-run Medicare-for-all.”
Below are more excerpts from the interview, which took place on September 16th. You can listen to the entire interview, or read a transcript of it here.
“I think the two biggest things about ObamaCare are, one—his two goals were to achieve universal coverage, and to bend the cost curve down. Well, we’re not going to achieve universal coverage. 23 million Americans will still be uninsured in 2019. The cost curve is not going to bend down. He originally wanted a bill that would cost $900 billion dollars over ten years. The CBO says this will be $940 billion over ten years, but I believe most of the tax increases and things do not come into effect until 2014. So between 2014 and 2024, I believe, and many other economists as well, that this legislation, if not repealed and replaced, is going to cost the American taxpayers about $2.5 trillion. So we won’t have universal coverage, and the cost curve is not going to go down, it’s going to go up. These are going to be two of the things that are going to lead us to this single-payer government that’ll run our health care system.”
“If you think back, when Medicare and Medicare came into being in 1965, Medicare cost $3 billion dollars in the first year, and the precursor to the Congressional Budget Office predicted it would cost $12 billion dollars by 1990. Well, in fact, it cost $110 billion dollars. So you can’t rely on statistics that come out of government because they just don’t know what the increased demand for health care will be. No government program ever cost what people think it will cost.”
“Of the uninsured, the President said we would be adding 30 million to the rolls of the insured, and 18 million of them will be eligible and will be put on Medicaid, the program for low income Americans. Well, I find it very interesting that 14 million are eligible for Medicaid, today, and haven’t signed up. I believe it’s because lower income people, who don’t have insurance, would love to turn up at an emergency room—because, if you have Medicaid, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a doctor, because doctors don’t want to take these patients because the reimbursement rates are so low. This is only going to get worse, and it’s also going to have a major impact on our seniors, because this legislation is going to cut Medicare by $529 billion dollars over 10 years. So as Richard Foster, Chief Actuary at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has said, seniors are going to have the trouble getting access to health care, and, also, they will have a very hard time finding a doctor, and one in three new Medicare-eligible people today is already having a difficult time finding a doctor.”
“159 new boards and commissions are going to be established under ObamaCare—plus 16,000 new IRS agents are going to be hired to monitor our tax returns to see whether we have health insurance, or if we’re going to pay a fine, by 2016, of $695 dollars. But a more important point is, during the health care debate, in February, before it was actually passed on March 23rd, the President wanted to have—he was very much in favor of the ‘public option.’ There isn’t a public option in the final bill. Also, he wanted to have a health insurance rate exchange. Remember: He originally talked about “health care reform,” but he ultimately moved to talking about ‘health insurance reform.’”
“A number of regulations on insurance companies come into effect on September 23rd, which is next week. That includes reducing, and finally eliminating in 2014, annual limits or lifetime caps on an insurance company plan. It includes allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they’re age 26. It includes no co-pays or no co-deductibles for preventative care, including an annual physical, mammogram, colonoscopy, diabetes testing. All of these things are going to add significantly to the cost of insurance, and insurance companies are going to have to increase premiums. So Obama has done a great job of saying “I’m offering you, the American people, all these wonderful things.” Starting in 2011, there will be new excise taxes on insurance companies, medical device companies, and pharmaceutical companies, all of which, I think, are going to destroy research and development and innovation in these areas—which, really, America is where innovation takes place, and where people come from all over the world in order to take advantage of the finest care.”
“The individual mandate, of course, I believe, is unconstitutional. We have seen, in Virginia, Judge Hudson ruled that the Virginia suit against the federal Department of Justice can go forward. About a month ago, in Missouri, 71 percent of voters voted in favor of banning the individual mandate. And just this past week, in Florida, federal judge Vinson said that by October 16th he’s going to make a decision—but he’s probably going to allow a lot of that suit, the Constitutional challenge suit which is being filed by 20 states’ Attorneys General and the National Federation of Independent Business, to go forward. Ultimately, this will probably be the lawsuit [that] will have to go to the Supreme Court. I would hope that it would be overturned, and the individual mandate would be overturned, in the Supreme Court. But, of course, one can’t always depend on the Supreme Court, because, in many decisions of late, they have said that if the Congress approves something, they don’t want to go against what the elected representatives do. But my feeling is, we do want this to go to the Supreme Court, and if the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional, it’s going to destroy ObamaCare.”
“I hope the Republicans can take the Presidency in 2012, and the Congress, so that in 2013, then there would be a great shot at repealing the whole legislation and replacing it with health care reform that will bring about competition, and reduce the number of uninsured, and make a lot of changes that, I think, the American people will be happy with—because, even today, 58 percent of people, Americans, polled, want to have this health care legislation repealed. Obama, Pelosi, and Reid went against the will of the American people and pushed this through, and not a single Republican voted for it. And, as I say, the American people were against it.”
“I think the Don Berwick recess appointment was really very bad on the part of Obama. He did not keep up to his promise that he was going to bring transparency to the government. Everything is completely opaque.”
“I would say the mainstream media, of course, always likes to increase the role of government in our lives, and Obama, Pelosi, and Reid believe that government can make decisions for the American people better than we can make for ourselves. It’s an ideological vision that they have, and that is not the American way. This debate since January of 2009, and even before, on health care has been covered a tremendous amount. Fortunately, we have Accuracy in Media. We have Fox. We have The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, a lot of talk radio. They have covered this debate very, very fairly. And then I have done a lot of media and speeches and debates on this. But if you read The Washington Post, The New York Times—I debated Howard Dean on CNBC, who’s a huge single-payer fan—I think the mainstream media has definitely been biased towards government takeover of our health care. But, fortunately, as I say, talk radio, blogs—all of these things are at least educating the American people. I think that is why 58 percent of the American people would like to see this legislation repealed and replaced.”