Uh oh, Mary Landrieu and friends. Your 13th-hour ass-covering maneuver is being exposed as a political sham. How did every Senate Democrat vote back in 2010, when they could have made a difference to protect millions of Americans? CNN fires up the not-so-wayback machine:
Senate Democrats voted unanimously three years ago to support the Obamacare rule that is largely responsible for some of the health insurance cancellation letters that are going out. In September 2010, Senate Republicans brought a resolution to the floor to block implementation of the grandfather rule, warning that it would result in canceled policies and violate President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their insurance if they liked it. “The District of Columbia is an island surrounded by reality. Only in the District of Columbia could you get away with telling the people if you like what you have you can keep it, and then pass regulations six months later that do just the opposite and figure that people are going to ignore it. But common sense is eventually going to prevail in this town and common sense is going to have to prevail on this piece of legislation as well,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said at the time. “The administration's own regulations prove this is not the case. Under the grandfathering regulation, according to the White House's own economic impact analysis, as many as 69 percent of businesses will lose their grandfathered status by 2013 and be forced to buy government-approved plans,” the Iowa Republican said. On a party line vote, Democrats killed the resolution, which could come back to haunt vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year. Senate Democrats like Mary Landrieu, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan and Mark Begich – all of whom voted against stopping the rule from going into effect and have since supported delaying parts of Obamacare.
Merry Christmas, NRSC. Why, it's almost as if Republicans issued explicit and detailed warnings that Obama's promise wouldn't hold true for many Americans, only be willfully ignored by party-line Democrats. Landrieu's feigned surprise is transparent and cynical. Incidentally, Sen. Max Baucus -- who co-authored Obamacare, then alerted America its oncoming "trainwreck" -- is the latest Democrat to sign on to the "delay" caucus. Where were he and his colleagues just a few short weeks ago? Voting in lockstep to oppose a GOP-proposed delay, resulting in a government shutdown. Nice work, guys. Will voters accept their abrupt, "never mind!" reversal? And will Reid allow votes on Manchin and Landrieu's bills? The pressure to do so may mount as more Americans begin to realize that the Obamacare-caused maladies of changed coverage and increased premiums aren't limited to individual market consumers. We've pumped this report several times, but it bears repeating. People with employer-based insurance aren't immune to Obamacare's effects. Avik Roy explains:
Last week, I cited a CBS News report that detailed a disturbing trend in a handful of states: The overwhelming majority of (the relatively few) new Obamacare enrollees have signed on through Medicaid, rather than the exchanges. "If that trend continues, there's concern there won't be enough healthy people buying health insurance for the system to work," wrote correspondent Jan Crawford. The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff revisits this critical issue today and concludes that the trajectory isn't getting much better:
The first month of the new health law’s rollout reveals an unexpected pattern in several states: a crush of people applying for an expansion of Medicaid and a trickle of sign-ups for private insurance. This early imbalance — in some places, nine out of 10 enrollees are in Medicaid — has taken some experts by surprise. The Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid to cover millions of the poorest Americans who couldn’t otherwise afford coverage, envisions a more even split with an expanded, robust private market. “When we first saw the numbers, everyone’s eyes kind of bugged out,” said Matt Salo, who runs the National Association of Medicaid Directors. “Of the people walking through the door, 90 percent are on Medicaid. We’re thinking, what planet is this happening on?” The yawning gap between public and private enrollment is handing Republicans yet another line of criticism against President Obama’s health overhaul — that the law is primarily becoming an expansion of a costly entitlement program.
Part of the reason for this disparity is that people who are newly-eligible for Medicaid don't need to use Obamacare's broken website to sign up; so that is goosing the numbers in one direction. But another big factor is pretty intuitive. Millions of Americans are now being offered "free" coverage. Millions more are being asked to overpay for private insurance. Which group is more motivated to act? As an aside, I find it interesting that Obamacare defenders are spinning the "keep your plan" lie as a good thing because people no longer have to endure their "junk" insurance plans. This updated claim doesn't excuse the original lie, and also happens to be untrue. But if the Left is so opposed to "junk" coverage, why are they such fans of Medicaid? That government program, based on the most exhaustive study ever done, is the veritable definition of junk coverage. Its beneficiaries are limited to an ever-shrinking pool of doctors and hospitals, and do not experience better health outcomes than uninsured people. Taxpayers have poured trillions down the Medicaid drain. Democrats' signature law expands this broken, costly program, while forcing millions of other off of their existing plans, resulting in higher costs for many.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography