Obama in September: When ACA is Working, You'll Stop Calling it 'Obamacare'

Sarah Jean Seman

11/14/2013 3:45:00 PM - Sarah Jean Seman

Once the Affordable Care Act is working really well “I guarantee you they will not call it 'Obamacare," President Obama teased at a Maryland Community College in September. He referred to his signature legislation as ‘Obamacare’ 13 times in that speech — Thursday at the White House the President meekly addressed it as the Affordable Care Act.

Less than a fourth of the projected 494,620 enrollees have made it through the marketplace, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius revealed Wednesday. Now, the Obama Administration and Democrats are trying to skirt the consequences of poorly laid plans with illogical solutions.

The question remains: will President Obama’s trademark legislation ever be working well enough that critiques will stop calling it ‘Obamacare?’ The answer — no.

The Affordable Care Act was “Doomed From the Start” according to George Washington University Professor Kimberly J. Morgan:

“Among the advanced industrialized countries there is no real parallel to Obamacare. In part, that is because most countries established universal health insurance long ago, some fairly gradually. By contrast, the United States is abruptly expanding coverage to millions -- probably around seven million people will be purchasing insurance coverage through the new exchanges by 2014. Even the closest precedents fall far short of this. In the mid-1990s, Switzerland boosted health-insurance coverage to try to reach the four percent of the population that was not yet covered. But that was in a country whose entire population was seven million. In 2006, the Netherlands adopted a health-care system in which individuals could choose their coverage from competing health plans. Yet, unlike in the United States, virtually all individuals and their families were already covered, and the vast majority opted to keep the plan they had.

The real source of Obamacare’s current problems lies in the law’s complexity. A straightforward way to assure coverage would have been to extend an existing, well-worn program to more people. This is how most other countries guarantee health insurance. In the British National Health Service, there is little that beneficiaries need to do in order to receive health insurance, as all residents are automatically entitled. Other countries rely on private intermediaries that provide insurance — nonprofit insurance funds in Germany or Switzerland, for example, or a mix of proprietary and nonprofit insurers in the Netherlands. Even in those instances, benefits packages and entitlements are highly standardized, making these health-care systems relatively uncomplicated from the standpoint of beneficiaries.”

There is no quick fix to this legislation. More than $600 million has already been drowned in the failing health care website, a Government Accountability Office representative said. American tax dollars should not be funding such a poorly-crafted government endeavor.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) laid down the line Thursday during a White House press conference:

“Promise after promise from this administration has turned out to be not true. So when it comes to this health care law, the White House doesn’t have much credibility. Let’s be clear. The only way to fully protect the American people is to scrap this law once and for all. There is no way to fix this.”

Best advice thus far — scrap this law once and for all: