Once again, President Obama is putting politics over people and spinning the truth about health care reform. Countless times this year, and again last week, he proclaimed that ObamaCare is working, called on members of his party to defend it, and ironically chastised opponents for politicizing the issue. But a closer look at the facts reveals that Obama’s rhetoric pales in comparison to reality.
The President’s declaration of success is highly questionable one, to say the least. More than six million cancelled plans, lost doctors, and higher costs aside, Obama is in essence celebrating the seemingly meteoric rise of entitlement culture and the welfare state. Health care reform did not require higher taxes, restricted choice, $27 trillion in debt, and increased government dependence. But that is precisely what ObamaCare is doing – and President Obama insists that it is working as he intended.
Even beyond the negative consequences on the nation’s prosperity, claiming victory from a practical sense is also a stretch. Obama’s celebratory touchdown dance touted 8 million enrollees, but there is still no clear estimate of how many of those 8 million were previously uninsured and have actually paid a premium – the only indication they are actually covered. The vague claim that "a sizeable part of the US population" is enjoying health insurance for the first time remains numerically unquantifiable. And the Congressional Budget Office estimates that ten years from now, there will still be 30 million uninsured people in the United States – despite ObamaCare’s "requirement" that every person in America have health insurance.
In addition to claiming victory, the President called on Democrats to "forcefully defend and be proud" of the law – an especially dubious plea for members of Congress whose constituents are facing cancelled plans, lost doctors, and higher costs because of ObamaCare. Imagine the response if Mark Udall were to hold a town hall event supporting ObamaCare in Colorado, where over 326,000 plans were cancelled, or if Mary Landrieu were to do so in Louisiana, where over 92,000 plans were cancelled. These same members of Congress have avoided even being seen with President Obama. The request to defend the disastrous health care law is a bold demand to make of politicians fighting for their political future.
Finally, true to his divisive form, President Obama criticized conservatives for their opposition to the law, as though any and all concerns are politically motivated. Obama chastised states refusing to expand Medicaid, saying the decision is "for no other reason than political spite." He clearly gave no contemplation that perhaps these states do not want to dump more people onto a failing government program, make it harder for the poorest families to access care, and gouge taxpayers in the process.
Ironically, at the same time Obama touted Obamacare, Democratic campaign strategists were warning candidates to avoid using the phrase "economic recovery" because it is a political loser. The translation, of course, is that the Democrats have failed to help the economy recover, and voters know it. Obviously, ObamaCare has been no small part of the infirmity.
But as far as President Obama is concerned, ObamaCare is working – an assertion he feels so strongly that he needs to keep repeating it.
(Jennifer Stefano is state director of Americans for Prosperity, PA.)