It’s the most breathtaking lie in the history of American politics, the dirtiest trick a president and his political party have ever played on the people they were elected to represent.
In June 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that as a consequence of Obamacare, 66 percent of those covered by small employer plans and 45 percent of those covered by large employer plans would have their health insurance canceled. So would “40 to 67 percent” of those who had individual health insurance policies. That adds up to 93 million Americans, calculated Avik Roy, the health care expert for the Manhattan Institute.
President Barack Obama knew. So did senior Democrats in Congress. Yet both promised Americans over and over that “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.”
This was a bald-faced lie.
Remember when Mr. Obama said Obamacare would reduce insurance premiums for the average American family by $2,500 a year? That was a lie, too.
Most who will keep their health insurance will have to pay more. Rates for young men will rise, on average, by 99 percent, a study by the Manhattan Institute in September estimated. For young women, rates will climb between 55 and 62 percent.
A more recent study by the American Action Forum indicated premiums for Americans age 18 to 35 will rise from an average of $62 a month to an average of $187.08 a month, a 202 percent increase. (Increases vary considerably from state to state, depending on how the state regulates insurance companies.)
For some, the rate hikes are much higher. NBC News broadcast an interview with a small businessman in North Carolina whose new premium will be 400 percent more. Jennifer Most, a disabled mother in Allentown, Pa., who lives on a fixed income, will have her health insurance premium rise from less than $200 a month to $947.63. It’ll force her to choose between health insurance and “putting food on the table,” she told a local TV station.
Often before, political leaders have made mistakes that inadvertently have caused Americans pain. Never before has a president and his party conspired to do deliberately so much harm to so many.
Mr. Obama had to lie, his defenders in journalism say, because if he told the truth, Obamacare never would have passed.
Obamacare has so many serious, apparently irreparable flaws some suspect it was designed to fail.
“For all of the Affordable Care Act’s technical problems, at least one part is working on schedule,” said the editors of the Wall Street Journal. “The law is systematically dismantling the individual insurance market, as its architects intended from the start.”
Those who share the Journal’s suspicions say the president’s secret goal is to have a health care system run completely by the government, as in Britain. Most Americans oppose this, so he can obtain his goal only by subterfuge.
I’m skeptical, in part because I doubt a president with such enormous self regard would subject himself to the scorn and ridicule Mr. Obama is receiving now on purpose; in part because I’m guided by Occam’s Razor. Her “mortifying” testimony to the House Energy & Commerce Committee indicates HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius knows next to nothing about the law she’s supposed to administer. The simplest explanation for why someone says and does stupid things is stupidity.
After offering additional reasons for skepticism, Bloomberg News economics writer Megan McArdle said: “Perhaps they did want single payer all along, in their secret heart of hearts, but it’s ludicrous to think that they were capable of designing and pulling off a conspiracy of that magnitude.”
I agree — but Mr. Obama and his “team of sycophants” may have thought they could. Those more arrogant than intelligent tend to imagine themselves to be much more clever than in fact they are.
“Obamacare was supposed to be so utterly complex as to hide the blame for all of its failures, therefore allowing the government and its partners in the mainstream media to place all of the blame on the private insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, technology firms, and anyone that does not work for the federal government,” said James Edwards, a medical malpractice attorney in Texas.
But “the rollout and website were such huge failures up front that even the old and sick who will tolerate the massive inconvenience of dealing with bureaucrats for endless hours can’t buy coverage.”
If Mr. Edwards is right, Hubris has met Nemesis.
Jack Kelly writes for The Toledo Blade and The Pittsburgh Press (firstname.lastname@example.org).
First Published November 5, 2013 3:40 PM