Obamacare’s apologists, tired of being laughed at for claiming “it’s working,” have adopted a new talking point that they hope will produce less mirth. They now claim the law is such an integral part of our health care system that it is no longer susceptible to repeal or even revision. As President Obama recently put it, “This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one another.… This is health care in America.” This is a perfectly absurd claim to make about a law that has been in effect for only a year and a half.
The President’s assertion is particularly ridiculous considering that Obamacare isn’t yet fully in force. Some of its major provisions, the employer mandate for instance, have only been partially implemented. Others, like the “Cadillac tax,” won’t go into effect until the President is conveniently out of office. These facts have not, of course, prevented Obama’s media sycophants from parroting the party line. The New York Times chimes in thus: “The Affordable Care Act… is now fully woven into the nation’s social fabric.”
A medical metaphor involving “metastasis” would be more accurate. Obamacare is metastasizing throughout our medical delivery system, much as a malignant carcinoma spreads through a cancer victim’s lymphatic system—with more or less the same result. It is killing the health care system with which the majority of Americans were satisfied and is replacing it with a Byzantine morass of regulations and taxes that, as the Washington Post reluctantly reported last week, enjoys the tepid support of only 39 percent of the public.
There is no mystery concerning the cause of Obamacare’s anemic support. It has failed to live up to the grandiose promises made on its behalf by the President. Indeed, in most cases, the “reform” law has produced precisely the opposite effect the public was encouraged to expect. Obama pledged that the law would bend the cost curve down, for example, claiming the average family would save $2,500 annually. Instead, it has actually caused premiums and deductibles to go up for millions, a trend that is expected to continue.
But this is merely the insult that Obamacare has added to the injury of kicking millions of Americans off of health insurance plans they liked, an injury rendered all the more painful by the deliberate lies they were told by Mr. Obama. This is the same man who, during his first presidential campaign, lied about his position on the individual mandate. It is the same President who has been caught lying—twice—about the number of people who have gained coverage through the hilariously titled “Affordable Care Act.”
Yet we are now to trust him when he says that all this “progress” is in danger if the Supreme Court finds that his minions at the Treasury Department have acted illegally in their zeal to impose Obamacare on the entire nation. Last week Obama actually had the audacity to admonish the Court for agreeing to hear King v. Burwell, whose plaintiffs challenge the legality of an IRS decision to disperse taxpayer-funded subsidies through federal Obamacare exchanges: “Frankly,” he said, “it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up.”
And what if, having already incurred His Majesty’s displeasure by taking up the case, the justices rule against him in King? Cataclysm, chaos, disease, and death. These are the actual words used in the nation’s top birdcage liners to describe the results of such a ruling. In the Washington Post, Dana Milbank shrieks that it would plunge “the entire American health-care system into chaos… a judicially induced cataclysm. The New York Times screams that it would “put millions of Americans at risk of disease and death.”
This is all hysterical nonsense, of course. But it suggests a very real fear that neither Chief Justice John Roberts nor Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy is inclined to let them off the hook again. And, if these fears are confirmed, it will mean a 5-4 ruling that will have the ultimate effect of sending the law back to our elected representatives to clean up the mess. In a GOP-controlled Congress, this means the law will be comprehensively revised in ways that will have many Obamacare apologists waking up at night screaming.
Which brings us back to the new talking point. Aside from its essential absurdity, the “social fabric” meme is really just a veiled admission that Obamacare has failed. If the President and law’s other supporters actually believed it was legally viable, or if they had been successful in selling it to the voters, or if it had not exploded on the launch pad, they wouldn’t panic every time it goes before the Supreme Court. They see it as little more than an escalator to single-payer, and they fear that it is about to be shut down.
If it had been passed with the consent of the voters and been implemented without bureaucratic skulduggery, it might have had a chance. But the President is not an honest man, nor are the congressional Democrats who rammed it through Congress. It isn’t in them to do the right thing. Thus, from its inception it carried the seeds of its own destruction. Or, to paraphrase the President’s metaphor, failure was woven into its fabric from the start.