While proponents of Obamacare are becoming harder to find, those that remain seem to be living in an alternate universe. Over the weekend, the group Americans United for Change (yes, the same outfit that shadowed Heritage Action’s nine-city town hall tour last month) declared “the reason conservatives are hell bent on trying to stop this law now” is because “they’re afraid it’s going to work.”
I suppose it all depends on how you define the word “work.”
Thanks to Obamacare, the “doctor can’t see you now.” At least that is how the Los Angeles Times is relaying the impact of the law in California. According to new data, “major insurers in California have sharply limited the number of doctors and hospitals available to patients in the state's” Obamacare exchanges to “hold down premium.” The result is that “consumers could see long wait times, a scarcity of specialists and loss of a longtime doctor.”
On March 23, 2010, President Obama mocked opponents of his signature legislative achievement, saying, “I heard one of the Republican leaders say this was going to be Armageddon. Well, two months from now, six months from now, you can check it out.”
Nearly 42 months later, the American people are done checking it out. Obamacare’s popularity – a mere 39-percent in a recent CNN – is on the decline. And over the weekend, the negative headlines kept piling in:
- WSB-TV (GA): Georgia Healthcare Company to Lay Off Over 100 Because of Obamacare
- Washington Free Beacon: Medicare Cuts, Obamacare Prompt Hospital Layoffs
- USA Today: Health law offers quandary for youths
- Forbes: Obama To Labor Unions With Multi-Employer Health Plans: Drop Dead
Still, the Obama-aligned Americans United for Change claims, “for every poll showing Obamacare generally struggling in approval, there’s two polls showing strong support for the individual elements.”
Obamacare was never about “individual elements,” though. It was about how this mandate worked with that regulation and how the regulation affected some other tax. After signing the bill, President Obama alluded to the difficulty saying, “I’m signing into law will take several years to implement fully, but that’s because this is a difficult, complex issue.”
One of the reasons for the complexity is the implementation of the Obamacare exchanges, which open for enrollment on October 1. On Fox News Sunday, Britt Hume articulated the danger of the exchanges:
“There's a very simple reason why the President and his fellow Democrats do not want to delay this bill for another year, and that is in January, subsidies for purchase of insurance kick in for a great many people. And the belief is based on much history, that once the subsidies begin to be provided and start flowing to people, they will like them. People tend to feel that way about money coming their way.”
On this point, the left-wing Americans United for Change agrees, saying “One thing is inevitable: once more and more people personally see the benefits of the law the harder it will be for the benefits to be taken away.”
The entitlement nature of Obamacare isn’t relegated to just the exchange subsidies, though. States that accepted the Medicaid expansion will also receive significant federal funds over the next few years. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Obamacare’s entitlements will cost taxpayers $48 billion in 2014—and nearly $1.8 trillion through 2023.
That’s a lot of money, which is why Hume concluded “that once a government benefit like that begins to flow, history shows that it is very hard ever to reverse that.” Proponents of Obamacare are counting on it, which is why conservatives are “hell bent” on defunding the law now.