Obamacare at Six: A Legacy of Deception - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Obamacare at Six: A Legacy of Deception

Obamacare just turned six and the president is still attempting to convince a skeptical public that his “reform” law is working. On the anniversary of its passage, the White House issued a statement from Obama containing all manner of hilarious claims including the following howler: “Thanks in part to this law, health care prices have risen at the lowest rate in 50 years … premiums for a family with job-based coverage are almost $2,600 lower than if trends from the decade before the law had continued.” As Emily Zanotti pointed out in this space, not even Chelsea Clinton buys that whopper.

The president’s claim that job-based family coverage costs less than it would had he refrained from meddling with health care flunks the laugh test. Employer-based health insurance premiums have continued to rise unabated. And, as the Kaiser Family Foundation reports, “Since 2010, both the share of workers with deductibles and the size of those deductibles have increased sharply. These two trends together result in a 67 percent increase in deductibles since 2010.” In his statement, however, Obama makes a specious claim about premiums while studiously ignoring skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs.

The claims the president makes about Obamacare are rife with such omissions. His claim that it has contributed to a slowdown in health care inflation, for example, is an Orwellian fantasy. According to a report produced by his own health care bureaucrats, the slowdown to which he refers began before the “reform” law was passed. In reality, Obamacare actually reversed the trend: “In 2014, U.S. health care spending increased 5.3 percent following growth of 2.9 percent in 2013 … The faster growth experienced in 2014 was primarily due to the major coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act.”

The president’s sixth anniversary statement also claims that Obamacare has made dramatic cuts in the uninsured rate, but that too conflicts with the facts. On September 9, 2009, Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to push his health reform agenda, and said this about the uninsured: “There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.” Naturally, he claimed his reform plan would drastically reduce this number. According to the most recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “On average, about 27 million people … will be uninsured in 2016.”

In other words, despite extravagant claims made by the White House about Obamacare’s impact on the uninsured rate, the net reduction has been about 3 million. This is modest progress indeed, considering the enormous cost and rampant corruption that have characterized Obamacare’s passage and implementation. And yet the president’s celebratory statement contains the following claim: “Thanks to this law, 20 million more Americans now know the security of having health insurance.” What this means, of course, is that most of the 20 million were already insured but lost their coverage due to Obamacare.

This not only highlights the president’s most notorious lie about Obamacare (“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”), it dovetails with CBO projections about things to come: “Over the next few years, more employers are expected to respond to the availability of coverage through the marketplaces by declining to offer insurance to their employees. As employers change their insurance offerings, some of their employees are expected to enroll in coverage through [Obamacare exchanges].” Presumably, this will also be celebrated by the White House, at least until Obama is finally evicted.

Naturally, the president’s sixth anniversary statement steers away from a great many promises that he presumably hopes we have long since forgotten. For example, the CBO report expects the government to raise about $38 billion in penalties from people who flout the individual mandate by refusing to purchase coverage. Obama originally ran for president on a platform that included a pledge that he would never countenance a mandate in any health reform law approved by his administration. But a few months after taking office, he demonstrated that this was just another manifestation of his bent toward prevarication.

Even worse, for many Americans, was Obama’s phony abortion pledge. During the 2009 speech referenced above he said, “Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” In 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted an investigation of plans certified and sold by the Obamacare exchanges. The GAO discovered that 1,036 such plans covered abortion. In other words, while the Obama administration was bullying Little Sisters of the Poor to cover abortifacients, it was turning a blind eye to Obamacare plans that were breaking federal law by funding abortions.

Another fraud perpetrated by the president during his 2009 speech to Congress was included in his list of allegedly inaccurate statements made by opponents of his health care plan: “There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false.” That was too much for Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who responded by shouting “You lie.” Representative Wilson took a lot of heat from the media over this, but he was later vindicated when it was discovered that illegal immigrants have indeed been receiving hundreds of millions of Obamacare subsidies.

The list of individual lies goes on and on, but perhaps they can be summarized thus: The basic premise of Obamacare is deliberately deceptive. The president and his supporters sold it as a health reform bill meant to control costs, increase access, and improve quality. But virtually none of its provisions really addressed the components of our medical delivery system that affect these things. So, the most important deception was the pretense that it was ever about health care. That was the big lie. Obama and his accomplices called it “health care reform” when it was really just a government power grab.

David Catron
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David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
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