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“This thing is working.” That was President Obama on April 17. “This thing” is Obamacare, and the president says 8 million people have signed up and the so-called Affordable Care Act is covering more people at less cost than most would have predicted just a few months ago. In typical style, the president included no hard figures about overall costs. Estimates of those have emerged in Affordable Care Act at Four: Regulatory Costs Exceed Benefits by Twofold, a study from the American Action Forum.
The study says that from a regulatory perspective, the law has imposed more than $27.2 billion in total private sector costs, $8 billion in unfunded state burdens, and more than 159 million paperwork hours on local governments and affected entities. Further, the law has generated just $2.6 billion in annualized benefits, compared to $6.8 billion in annualized costs. By the study’s reckoning, Obamacare has “imposed 2.5 times more costs than it has produced in benefits.”
These figures don’t include the prediction of the Congressional Budget Office that the law will reduce employment by 2.5 million by 2024. The figures also exclude problems with the federal and state exchanges and the employer mandate. And so on.
As this report notes, Obamacare authorizes at least 11 regulations that will wield significant economic impact on small businesses. According to government figures, the total bill for these regulations will be $1.9 billion.
In government parlance, when something is “working” it means that the government is spending taxpayers’ money to empower bureaucrats. Hence, the EPA is working, the FDA is working, and the, count ‘em, 17 agencies in the “intelligence community” are working. The wars on poverty, drugs, terror, and obesity are also working.
“This thing is working” also has another meaning. Recall that Obamacare took away the health plans Americans secured on their own and wanted to keep. Obamacare then forced Americans into the inferior plans the government wants them to have. So on that score it is working very well.