To hear liberals and Democrats speak, those being kicked off their current policies is actually a service to those people because they are being presented with better plans which one can purchase on a non-functional website. Another line of thinking is that Obamacare is providing an opportunity for Americans who could never afford to purchase health insurance to do so now. Both of these assertions are simply false at worst- a big lie by the Obama administration- or deceiving at best.
Starting with providing an opportunity for the uninsured to purchase insurance, statistics prove that this was a grand deception from the start. In 2010, the Census Bureau estimated that there were 48 million uninsured Americans, or 15.8% of the population. That 48 million starting number is deceiving to start with anyway. First, of that 48 million, some 18 million of those people make at least $50,000 a year which is the consensus figure by most experts where someone can purchase a good health care policy on the private market. In fact, 10 million of those 18 million people make at least $75,000 a year. Thus, the pool of the uninsured drops to 30 million people. However, included in that 30 million are 10 million estimated illegal immigrants allegedly prohibited from purchasing health care insurance. That leaves us with 20 million people. Of this figure, about 15 million are chronically uninsured and low-income Americans who are eligible for Medicaid or other government programs, but who, for whatever reason, fail to enroll. In fact, 5 million of these 15 million people are children eligible to be enrolled in SCHIP. Leaving out the illegal immigrants, using the best estimates, the most Obamacare could hope to help from the outset would be to insure 21 million people, leaving 17 million out. In essence, Obamacare could have, at best, simply halved the number of the uninsured while wreaking economic havoc elsewhere by creating huge bureaucracies, a myriad of confusing regulations, and an extensive tax system. It was designed to do nothing to control the costs for those with health care insurance.
As an unintended consequence, the CBO estimates that 19 million Americans will lose their health care coverage through employer-based benefits. They will simply be dumped into this system and drive costs up. So let us do the math:
38 million legal uninsured Americans
minus 21 million covered under Obamacare/Medicaid/SCHIP
equals 17 million uninsured Americans
plus 19 million losing coverage under Obamacare
equals 36 million uninsured Americans.
In the end, with regards to expanding coverage, Obamacare solves exactly 5% of the problem. Most egregiously, the Democratic-controlled Congress in 2009 knew this, yet the entire program was sold as something it never was. It is now no real surprise to us who opposed Obamacare from the start that the Campaigner-in-Chief lied about this program.
With regards to the uninsured being the primary reason for higher premiums for all, that has a shred of truth, but not to the extent the Obamots claim. When they need medical care, the uninsured are more apt to use emergency room service. By law, no one can be turned away. This costs $100 billion annually according to most experts. These costs are born by taxpayers directly, and by those with insurance indirectly through higher premiums. Saying that the uninsured are blocked from access to health care was a lie from the start. Additionally, there is a patchwork of free clinics and public hospitals that take up some of the slack. At $100 billion a year, the uninsured are certainly not denied health care; they just do not have access to the health care that 84% of the population has.
Democrats are quick to point out that the Republicans have no answers to health care reform other than repealing Obamacare. Unfortunately, this was passed through a legislative sleight of hand called the budget reconciliation process that even Democrats were wary of at the time. It is true that Republican-controlled congresses used the process in the past, but not to reorder 16% of the American economy. Regardless, during the Obamacare debate in 2009 and 2010, over 100 Republican ideas addressing many different aspects of health care reform were introduced and rejected by the Democratic-controlled House and Senate. Many of these ideas were not even allowed a vote on the floor of either house of Congress. In essence, it was the Democratic Party’s way, or no way. The “no way” option had a light at the end of the tunnel until the budget reconciliation process was considered and then used.
Democrats are also quick to point out that Obamacare has been passed, been signed into law, and upheld by the courts, including the Supreme Court. Taking each in turn, it is obvious that laws passed in a bipartisan manner have much greater force. Clearly, Obamacare fails this basic test of legislating. Not a single Republican and, in fact, several Democrats voted against Obamacare. Only because Pelosi had a working majority at the time and only because the budget reconciliation process was used, Obamacare passed. So right off the bat, the law was passed under dubious circumstances and methods. That accounts for why even today- after 4 years of debate- a majority of Americans still dislike the law and it continues to generate controversy. With respect to Obama, no one today should be surprised that he lied about the effects of Obamacare, especially his “you can keep your insurance…period” line. We now know that not to be the case in the practical sense. But even when that was a theoretical line of attack against Obamacare, people knew this would happen. Of course, they were denigrated as Bible- and gun-toting rubes by the liberal media and members of Congress. Furthermore, Obama’s participation in the legislation was a huge lie. His promise of transparency was almost devoid of truth from the start. Nowhere was this more apparent than his private consultations with pharmaceutical company executives only to emerge from that meeting, surrounded by the executives, to declare that they would be holding down costs by billions over the next ten years. Left out of that statement was that they extracted from Obama certain concessions like blocking the reimportation of drugs as a means to keep prescription drug prices low. There was also the silly and perverse negotiations dubbed the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase” designed to obtain Senate votes and little else.
Even the individual mandate is a joke being foisted on the American public. If you are an insurance company and you have the power of the federal government mandating that everyone purchase insurance, of course you will be gung-ho for the mandate. You now have access to a whole new pool of premium-payers that did not exist before thanks to the tax code and penalties. In fact, you would be a moron if you did not go along, if you were an insurance company executive. With regards to the Supreme Court, let us be clear here. The individual mandate was never upheld on the grounds upon which Congress claimed authority under the Constitution for doing so- the Commerce Clause. If one reads that decision, that is stated in the first paragraph. Instead, this law was upheld under the taxing authority of the Congress, not the Commerce Clause. It was Obama and the Democrats who claimed the opposite. It was the Supreme Court who legally stated that Obama and the Democratic Congress were “liars” in this area. The practical effect was that the law was constitutional- if a huge tax. Unfortunately, Mitt Romney failed to use this to his advantage because he couldn’t- he basically did the same thing in Massachusetts. It could have been the right message, but it was absolutely the wrong messenger in 2012.
Also, Obamacare is clearly not “settled” law as Democrats (including Obama) and liberals claim. The Supreme Court is poised to accept another case this year involving the mandate that employer-based insurance cover contraception, even if that employer is religiously opposed. There are at least four pending cases regarding federal subsidies for those purchasing insurance on the federal exchange in direct contravention of the wording of the law that specified federal subsidy assistance only for insurance purchased on state exchanges, not the federal exchange. Thus far, the government has challenged these lawsuits and asked that they be dismissed. As a result, the government has been rebuffed twice now and these lawsuits are going through. And, quite frankly, the constitutionality of the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause has not been litigated, but there are at least two cases in the lower courts currently percolating. This is not settled law as they claim. Now, imagine people signing up for health care insurance on the federal exchange working on the assumption they will be receiving a federal subsidy and then having that subsidy taken away because of Congressional wording of the law. Assuming they get those people they need to sign up and then those subsidies are taken away, imagine the uproar then. Sure, they can legislatively fix it, but should they?
Although there are other arguments being spun by Democratic and liberal talking heads, I will touch on just one more- better coverage. This comes as little consolation to those currently receiving cancellation notices who were, in fact, satisfied with their current insurance policies. As people are finding out, this is creating hardships such as higher premiums elsewhere, or having to make tough choices between Doctor A or Doctor B, or maybe even a new doctor altogether. And this underscores the absolute arrogance of Democrats, Obama and liberals- this attitude that they and the paid bureaucratic technocrats know what is best for you better than what YOU know what is best for you.
This leads to equally arrogant assertions that Obama’s rather categorical statement (when you say “period,” that is pretty categorical) was actually more nuanced. Instead, they now state, it was only the “good” policies anyone could keep and what is “good” would be decided by the Democrats and Obama. This is a circular logic that, if accepted, rewrites history while denying reality. Liberals are great at theorizing in the insulated walls of academia, but really suck when it comes to the real world. The problems with Obamacare extend far deeper than a failed website. Websites can be repaired. What cannot be repaired is America’s trust in Obama. What cannot be repaired is a horribly conceived law and and even more horribly implemented law.
And as regards that website, it is estimated that in order for this whole Ponzi scheme of a health care reform law to financially work, some 7 million healthy younger people need to sign up- not just visit the site and navigate it, but actually sign up, have money exchange hands, and have a policy in hand. At the current rate, that should occur in about 14 years. However, younger people are technologically savvy. They are used to speed and accuracy when it comes to the Internet. They do not want to see “Please try again later” on their screens. It will be interesting to see how many of these people the whole system depends upon actually come back once the website is fully functional.
To conclude, Pelosi said we had to pass the law to see what was in it. That is a half-ass backwards way of legislating, but par for the course for liberals. Regardless, we are starting to see what is in it and we are confronted with a bunch of rotted fish and rotten eggs. If it smells this bad right now, imagine the smell as this further unfolds.