The Right Prescription

‘Obamacare Is Working!’

Media swears to Obama's latest lie.

By 4.21.14

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Last Thursday, the president announced the Obamacare debate over for the second time this month. The pretext for his repetition of this talking point was yet another implausible claim concerning the number of people his health care law has helped gain coverage. He offered this new total, 8 million, as proof that further resistance to “reform” is futile: “The repeal debate is and should be over…The Affordable Care Act is working.” If you feel that President Obama is protesting a bit too much, you are not alone. Public opinion surveys consistently show that most Americans still oppose Obamacare.

Moreover, a growing number of Americans believe the president to be a habitual liar. According to a new Fox News poll, “Thirty-seven percent think Obama lies ‘most of the time,’ while another 24 percent say he lies ‘some of the time.’” Only 15 percent believe that our president tells the truth all of the time. Unfortunately for the health of the republic, this tiny minority evidently includes the reporters of the legacy news media. Consequently, the brief MSM Spring that followed the Healthcare.gov debacle is over, and journalists are once again parroting White House talking points.

A case in point is the president’s claim that Obamacare is working. If you Google those three words, in quotes, you will get about a million hits. And these search results are not about the president’s news conference. Most are opinion pieces in high profile publications, posts at major blogs, and even broadcast news segments purporting to prove that Obama’s “signature domestic achievement” is a success. It goes without saying, of course, that the evidence offered by the purveyors of this nonsense has little or nothing to do with the ostensible purpose of the “Affordable Care Act.”

Some, however, have added comic relief to the debate our president insists is over. Ezra Klein recently provided this howler: “Obamacare has won. And that’s why Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius can resign.” He would have us believe that Madam Commissar’s departure means the tough implementation work has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion and “A new team…can be brought in to continue to improve the law.” Sebelius should be proud, Klein tells us. “She can leave with the law she helped build looking, shockingly, like a success.”

Not all of the “ACA is working” pieces are this funny. Many are simply smug. Eugene Robinson crows in the Washington Post, “It’s all over but the shouting: Obamacare is working.” He bases this claim on estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) about future enrollees. This is the same CBO that initially estimated Obamacare’s cost at $980 billion, then said the bill would be $2 trillion, and now projects $1.4 trillion. Relying on the murky crystal ball of this agency he writes, “The Affordable Care Act…is well on the way toward its goal of providing coverage to the uninsured.” Oddly, Robinson ignores a recent RAND study revealing that only 1.4 million of actual enrollees were previously uninsured. This is a drop in the bucket compared the 30 million people that Obamacare was supposed to rescue from the ranks of the uninsured. Thus, the National Journal feels compelled to claim, “The White House has succeeded in its quest to increase the number of Americans who have health insurance.” The author of this piece, Clara Ritger, clings desperately to a recent Gallup survey showing that the uninsured rate dropped during Obamacare’s open enrollment period.

There is no evidence that this decline is in any way connected with Obamacare, beyond the gratuitous speculations of the survey’s author, Dan Witters: “It is a safe assumption at this point to attribute at least most of that decline to the ACA.” Predictably, neither Ritger nor Witters provide any objective basis for this assumption. Nonetheless, it is being reported as a victory for the “reform” law. Steve Benen of MSNBC advises us the decline must be related to Obamacare: “given what we now know, if honest observers step back and view the thing at a distance, the ACA is working.”

There’s that phrase again. It’s could hardly be more obvious that this meme was a real winner in Democrat focus groups and, after being pushed by a few press secretaries, has become the settled narrative. Thus, the Chicago Tribune offers a recitation of White House talking points in a column titled, “Obamacare is Working,” U.S. News & World Report provides space for veteran Democrat hack Peter Fenn to abuse conservatives in a column titled, “Earth to Conservatives: Obamacare is Working,” and Politico announces, “The Affordable Care Act is Working.”

Anyone see a pattern here? It doesn’t matter that Obamacare has caused insurance premiums to rise, reduced access to care, and run roughshod over our fundamental liberties in the process. It doesn’t matter that the thing is so flawed it has already been “fixed” 40 times. None of the objective data matter. Democrats will lose this year’s midterm elections if the voters view Obamacare as a failure. So bureaucrats and op-ed columnists and even reporters will repeat the absurd claim that it is “working” over and over again to compensate. 

In our country, the Fourth Estate has become a fifth column dedicated to undermining anything or anyone opposed to the liberal agenda. Thus, no matter how preposterous the president’s claims, the press will repeat them as if they were facts uncovered by hard-hitting investigative journalists. An increasing number of surveys, however, suggest that the voters don’t trust the media any more than they trust Obama. So, perhaps the propaganda won’t work. We’ll know on November 4.

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About the Author

David Catron is a health care revenue cycle expert who has spent more than twenty years working for and consulting with hospitals and medical practices. He has an MBA from the University of Georgia and blogs at Health Care BS.