During a recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch committed a social blunder — he told the truth about Obamacare and the people who support it. After pointing out that the GOP Congress had done away with the law’s individual mandate tax, and denouncing the “Affordable Care Act” in general, Hatch said those who still support it are “the stupidest, dumbass people I’ve ever met.” He was immediately attacked by the Democrats and their media toadies, of course, whereupon he apologized. That apology was disappointing. Hatch’s comments about the intellectual limitations of Obamacare’s supporters were dead on.
Indeed, the Democrat strategy for getting the “reform” law passed relied heavily on what Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber famously described as “the stupidity of the American Voter.” But they weren’t counting on the ignorance of all the voters. The Democrats knew conservatives and libertarians would never buy the absurd promises they were making on behalf of Obamacare. The Democrats bet that their own base consisted of people clueless enough to believe it was possible to reduce the cost of health care by passing a law whose provisions included guaranteed issue, community rating, and government-mandated benefits.
In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that very few Obamacare supporters would have been able to produce a coherent answer had they been asked to describe these provisions, much less their potential effect on the health insurance market and the medical delivery system. Guaranteed issue mandated that insurers offer health coverage to all applicants, regardless of pre-existing conditions. Community rating required insurers to sell coverage at essentially the same price to everyone. The combination of guaranteed issue and community rating created a redistribution scheme that robbed the healthy to pay the medical bills of the chronically ill.
Obamacare compounded this outrage by arbitrarily mandating ten government-approved “benefits.” And everyone had to pay for all of these “essential health benefits” (EHB) whether they wanted or needed them. Thus, as I pointed out in this space a couple weeks ago, a 60-year-old, unmarried male was forced to purchase a plan that included maternity coverage, a childless couple in their 60s had to buy pediatric coverage, and a perfectly healthy enrollee had to buy coverage for rehabilitative services. It was inevitable that the EHB provision would cause premiums to skyrocket, and Obamacare’s supporters were 100 percent onboard.
This is why the word “dumbass” occurred to Hatch during his AEI speech. They are the people who still believe Obamacare is working after years of skyrocketing premiums, shrinking provider networks, and dwindling insurer choices. They vigorously nod their heads when some former Obama administration official appears on MSNBC and tells them that the health care law’s myriad failures are the result of retroactive sabotage by President Trump. Never mind that Obamacare began disintegrating long before Trump launched his presidential campaign. These people don’t possess the critical thinking skills to assess simple cause and effect.
These are the same brainiacs whose mindless support of Obamacare skew public opinion surveys creating the illusion that about half of the country favors the law. Gallup’s most recent survey of the law’s popularity showed that a whopping 85 percent of Democrats approve of Obamacare. Likewise, the most recent Kaiser poll indicates that 83 percent have a favorable view of the law. Yet only 26 percent of these Democrats rated the U.S. health care system as “good or excellent” according to a Rasmussen survey. That’s right, more than 80 percent say health care “reform” was a success, yet only a fourth believe the health care system works well.
So, it’s pretty difficult to escape the conclusion that Hatch was right about the intellectual capacity of Obamacare supporters, and that their naïveté did enormous damage to our health care system. Yet the usual suspects either denounced or took cheap shots at the Senator. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer suggested to CNN that Hatch is just a maundering old failure: “Orrin Hatch, I think, is frustrated. He’s usually a very polite man, you know, but I guess he sort of lost it.” In reality, of course, Orrin Hatch is finishing his long and productive career with a big win on tax reform, a win that left Schumer with quite a bit of egg on his face.
Meanwhile, being the gentleman that he is, he apologized to Obamacare’s dumbass supporters. But it is they who should be apologizing. They were the useful idiots who helped the Democrats foist the “Affordable Care Act” on an unwilling electorate. We have them to thank for skyrocketing health insurance premiums, a collapsing community hospital system, a shortage of primary care physicians, and a shorter life expectancy. In retrospect, it appears that Senator Hatch may have been pulling his punches during that AEI speech.