Rep. DesJarlais: Economic Effects Of Affordable Care On Tennessee Families And Businesses

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - by Rep. Scott DesJarlais

Since its inception, I have been resolute in my staunch opposition to the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as ObamaCare. As a physician, I knew it would hinder access to medical care, as well as reduce the overall quality of care. 

Unfortunately, many of the negative consequences I was worried about have already been imposed on Tennessee patients and health care providers. Even those in the mainstream media who support the president’s law have had to report on its numerous and undeniable shortcomings.

But the problems created by the Affordable Care Act will have implications far beyond the realm of medicine. The economic effects the law will have on both families and businesses are just as troubling. 

As has been widely reported, many families in Tennessee – and throughout our country – have already started paying higher premiums as a result of the ACA. This trend will only continue as the provisions of the law are fully implemented. The American Enterprise Institute found that the average family of four will see their health care spending increase by $7,450 under the president’s law. This is money that could use for things like investing in children’s education, making home repairs or just paying the bills. With median income in Tennessee hovering at $38,475, families simply cannot afford this drastic increase.

Businesses will also have to cut back due to ObamaCare’s mandate that all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance or pay a steep penalty. This is especially onerous as the ACA lowered the amount of hours considered part-time from forty to thirty hours, meaning previous part-time workers are now considered full-time. As a result, businesses have refused to hire more than 50 employees or they have slashed hours because they simply cannot afford the costs of offering insurance to all full-time workers. Not only does this affect our economic productivity, it hurts low-income workers. 

And this is only the beginning. Research conducted by McKinsey & Company estimates that half of businesses will change how they provide health insurance. This means that more and more Americans will be unable to keep their coverage or will be forced to buy more expensive options on the health insurance exchanges. Even labor unions, who were among the strongest supporters of the Affordable Care Act, have stated the law hurts workers by increasing costs.

Time and time again we have seen the promises made by President Obama when selling this law to the American people come up short. He told us health care costs would go down by $2,500 for a family of four; in reality they have increased by more than twice that amount. He told us that if we liked our doctor and our plan, we could keep it. But with companies dropping coverage, many are being dumped onto the health care exchanges. He told us jobs would be created by this law, but the ACA has already decreased jobs by nearly seven figures according to the Congressional Budget Office. 

The combined economic consequences of the ACA threaten to decimate any sort of economic recovery we have seen over the past couple years. Further, the costs imposed by the law on Tennessee families could not come at a worse time. The ACA is unsustainable, eventually it will collapse. The only question is whether we allow our economy to be dragged down with it.


Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com; Include Your Full Name, Address, Phone Number For Verification

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to  news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. This includes your home address and phone number. We do not post the contact information, but need it for verification. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Deadly ‘Holy Trinity’

If you have grown tired and calloused to America’s horrifying opioid epidemic, please consider what the epidemic has become. A report last week found that, in the United States, emergency room cases including opioid abuse jumped a staggering 99 percent between 2009 and 2014. It is believed that last year over 60,000 Americans died from drug overdoses and – far worse – more than ... (click for more)

3 People Shot At Citgo On Glenwood Drive; 1 Dies

Three people were shot at a convenience store in Glenwood on Monday afternoon. One later died after being rushed to the hospital. A second person who was shot went to the hospital by personal vehicle. Police initially could not locate the third victim, but later confirmed another had been shot. The incident happened around 2:40 p.m. at the Citgo at 101 Glenwood Dr. (click for more)

Erlanger Pharmacies Sold To CVS For $10 Million; Units At East, North To Close

Retail pharmacies at Erlanger Health System are being sold to CVS for $10 million, officials said. The retail drug stores at Erlanger North in Red Bank and Erlanger East on Gunbarrel Road will close. Erlanger President Kevin Spiegel noted that CVS has its own pharmacies nearby those facilities. CVS will operate a pharmacy at the Medical Mall on the main Erlanger campus on ... (click for more)

Former UTC Assistant Football Coach Suspended At ETSU After Threatening To Hang Residence Inn Clerk

A former UTC assistant football coach has been suspended at ETSU after police said he threatened to "hang with a noose" a clerk at the Residence Inn on Chestnut Street. Jeffrey Brumett, 35, was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and public intoxication. In the incident on Friday night, police were told by the clerk and by witnesses that Brumett was angry because his ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)