Katie covered the president's umpteenth Obamacare pep rally yesterday afternoon. Obama delivered somewhat halting remarks to room filled with White House staffers and political supporters. The speech was so un-newsworthy and redundant that the only cable network to cover it live was -- surprise! -- MSNBC. My immediate reaction:
I love that speech every time he gives it.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) December 3, 2013
Obama and his supporters are repeating several false claims that must be debunked every time they're advanced, no matter how bored he may seem in keeping the spin alive:
(1) Obamacare critics have no alternatives of their own. For a president who claims to be open to all ideas, and who's only interested in "what works" (both laughable assertions), Obama sure seems unaware of viable conservative alternatives to his fatally flawed law. Back when the so-called "Affordable" Care Act was being debated, Republicans introduced a number of competing bills, including this framework. Healthcare wonks James Capretta and Tom Miller have offered a detailed free-market plan to cover people with pre-existing conditions involving portable plans and state-based high risk pools. Ben Domenech has outlined the main principles conservatives support, linking to several pieces of proposed legislation. Obama has no interest in these facts. He's interested in pretending that his opponents are cranky nihilists with no ideas of their own, and he's especially interested in uncorking his biggest applause line of the speech: "We're not repealing [Obamacare] as long as I am president." Allahpundit asks a good question: Is that really the message Democrats want in the headlines?
(2) Obamacare is bringing down healthcare costs. The president has made this claim himself, but New York Times columnist Paul Krugman takes the delusional cake: "Health reform is starting to look like a bigger success than even its most ardent advocates expected." Liberals are gleefully citing this Timesreport about Obamacare's projected price tag dropping by billions (compared to previous estimates) over the next ten years. They ignore several excerpts from the story they're cheering. For instance:
Economists broadly agree that the sluggish economy remains the main reason that health spending has grown so slowly for the last half-decade. From 2007 to 2010, per-capita health care spending rose just 1.8 percent annually. Since then, the annual increase has slowed even further, to 1.3 percent. A decade ago, spending was growing at roughly 5 percent a year...To be sure, the Affordable Care Act will lead to a drastic bump in health spending by the government starting next year, with an estimated nine million Americans signing up for Medicaid and perhaps as many as seven million buying a subsidized health plan through the government exchanges.
Liberals are trying to credit Obamacare for a phenomenon that's actually being driven by the lackluster Obama economy. Perfect. Conn has been doing Yeoman's work on this subject, but it bears repeating: The government's own accountants say that the slowdown in the rise of health spending (not a decrease, mind you) has nothing at all to do with Obamacare. Indeed, Obamacare is a countervailing force. CMS figures estimate that the new law will raise national healthcare spending by more than six percent next year, and by more than $600 billion over the next decade, compared to a scenario in which the "Affordable" Care Act did not exist.
(3) People are mostly just losing "substandard" coverage. This line is actually insulting to the millions who were truly satisfied with their previous healthcare arrangements, but who are now being instructed not to believe their own experiences and preferences. Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers is among this group. So is this stage four cancer patient. And this couple from Michigan. As I've pointed out before, the ultimate irony of this argument coming from Obama is that his law vastly expands a broken entitlement program that is the veritable definition of "junk coverage." If anything, he's upset that Medicaid wasn't extended further. How will this bogus "substandard coverage" excuse fly next fall when millions -- possibly tens of millions -- of additional Americans experience painful coverage dumping in the coming year? My guess is we'll see Obama give approximately this exact speech. Again:
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