The Corner

Obamacare’s Failed Promises, Part 1,345

“If you like you plan, you can keep it,” or “If you like your doctor, you can keep him,” are just two of the failed promises made by the Obama administration and Obamacare’s cheerleaders. There were also the promises that the law would curb the cost curve and that premiums would not go up. 

Remember this priceless PolitiFact piece from 2012 looking at governor Rick Scott’s claim that premiums would go up under Obamacare? It concluded that the claim was “mostly false.”

Then there was the claim that “when Obamacare is fully implemented, economists predict that family health insurance premiums will be about $2,000 less.” And that these lower premiums were going to drive down Obamacare’s expected costs? (For more like these, check out this list of tweets from Democrats over the years about the greatness of Obamacare compiled by PJMedia.)

All this would be funny, if it weren’t so sad. Now we know, of course, that the predictions made by many conservatives and economists prior to the adoption of Obamacare about people losing coverage, not being able to keep their plans, the tremendous costs to taxpayers for questionable benefits, and the increase in premiums were absolutely correct. That’s in spite of this priceless piece by Dana Milbank at the Washington Post. The latest news, of course, is the announcement that Obamacare subsidies are going to explode, with the cost of the cheapest Bronze increasing by 28 percent. The city of Phoenix, for example, will see a 176.7 percent increase. IBD reports:

Overall, the cheapest bronze-plan premium will spike by an average 28.2% before subsidies, based on a review of prices in the biggest market in each of the 38 states utilizing the federal government website. That follows a 12.7% rise in 2016. For a 30-year old, a bronze premium will rise to $272 per month from $212 this year,

Six markets will see increases of more than 50%, including Nashville, Tenn. (54%); Columbia, S.C. (54%); Charlotte, N.C. (55%); Chicago (65%); Oklahoma City (80%) and Phoenix (177%).

All of this is in addition to the fact that with insurers leaving the exchanges, the number of choices available to you even if you benefit from subsidies and don’t face a hike in premium is significantly reduced. As expected, rather than acknowledge the failure of the law to fulfill its promises, president Obama is instead asking to extend eligibility for the subsidies to the middle class. 

Better yet, after repeating that Republicans are evil to predict the demise of Obamacare when they know that the law is working, Democrats are now blaming the GOP for not helping them fix the law. After years of claiming that the law works just as intended, Ezra Klein, for instance, tweets “It’s not hard to make Obamacare work better, but you need a governing majority that wanted it to work.” The tweet points to a piece by Matt Yglesias that calls for a larger (and more unpopular) mandate. That’s right: For Obamacare to work, you would have to force everyone to buy insurance products. It also requires you to define Obamacare ”working” as meaning that it isn’t cheap, it isn’t efficient, and it doesn’t provide consumers with the services they want at the price they can afford.

I will add that this has been one of those instances in which liberals show their blatant disdain for consumer choices, which is amusing at a time where Tim Kaine and many other Democrats are condemning the AT&T Time Warner proposed merger in the name of competition and consumer choices.

Finally, we shouldn’t forget that a big part of Obamacare involves a huge expansion of Medicaid. Many promises were made there, including that Obamacare would reduce the number of visits to the emergency room. Not so much, it turns out. If you add to this evidence that Medicaid itself doesn’t carry the health outcome promises that liberals said it would, the law has a terrible track record. 

This should put Hillary Clinton in an interesting place and certainly put some pressure on. After all, she has said in public what a success she thinks Obamacare is, even though she has markedly different thoughts in private as revealed by the WikiLeaked Clinton memo. It should also give a boost to down ballot Republicans.

We will see. 

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