Herein lies Democrats' ongoing Obamacare quandary: On one hand, they can't abandon Barack Obama's signature domestic "achievement," which has struck an important blow for Statism and has expanded the government's role in people's lives. On the other hand, more than six years into the national debate, the law remains unpopular, largely because it is utterly failing to deliver on the myriad promises featured in Democrats' cynical and mendacious sales pitch. Hillary Clinton -- whose 2008 healthcare plan was savaged by Obama on the campaign trail before he adopted it as it own upon assuming office -- is struggling with this political tension. She feels obligated to declare that Obamacare is working, a fantasy that results in this sort of aloof dissembling when confronted with real people's painful realities. Here's Clinton's daughter effectively discrediting the central premise of the so-called "Affordable" Care Act, assuring voters that mother dearest will consider a litany of options (including unilateral executive action) to "fix" the problem that Obamacare was ostensibly passed to solve once and for all:
Elsewhere in Obamacare news, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has yet again slashed enrollment projections, downgrading an already-dramatically-reduced figure they produced earlier this year:
The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday slightly lowered its projections for ObamaCare enrollment, trimming its tally by about 1 million people. About 12 million people are now expected to have ObamaCare coverage by the end of 2016, according to the nonpartisan budget office. Just three months ago, the office had predicted that 13 million people would have coverage. The latest enrollment estimate is an even steeper drop from the CBO's estimates from 2015, which predicted 21 million people would have marketplace coverage by this time...It’s the latest sign of struggle for the Obama administration as it looks to boost sign-ups before the president leaves office next year.
As John Sexton notes, one of the reason given for the scaled-back estimate is a drop among enrollees not eligible for taxpayer subsidies. "In other words, CBO lowered the estimate because people who don’t get a subsidy just are not buying Obamacare coverage. Unfortunately, it’s those people who were expected to offset the costs of subsidizing everyone else," he writes. Meanwhile, a new report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that over a span of a year-and-a-half, Obamacare's infamously troubled federal website Healthcare.gov was targeted more than 300 times by cyber attacks -- and that vulnerabilities still remain. Via CBS News:
A new government report says the web portal for health insurance coverage under President Barack Obama’s law logged 316 security incidents during a period of about 18 months. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says none of the attempted cyberattacks appeared to have succeeded in compromising sensitive data, including the personal information of millions of consumers shopping for subsidized health insurance. However, GAO said it identified weaknesses protecting sensitive information that flows through a key part of the system that’s called the data services hub. The hub pings federal agencies such as Social Security, IRS, and Homeland Security to verify personal information. The security incidents took place between October 2013 and March 2015.
One would imagine that additional cybersecurity incidents have occurred in the ensuring year. Also, here's a compelling portion of USA Today's recent editorial upbraiding the Obama administration and favoring the Little Sister of the Poor, whose representatives argued at the Supreme Court last week that the Catholic nuns should not be forced by Obamacare's mandates to violate their faith's teachings by facilitating the purchase of birth control:
If the Obama administration had thought long and hard about the meaning of religious freedom, one of the nation’s most fundamental rights, it would not have ended up in the Supreme Court on Wednesday doing battle over free birth control with Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious non-profits. But while writing rules for Obamacare in 2012, the administration decided to compel religiously affiliated groups to assist in offering health care plans that violate a central tenet of their faiths...Unwisely, it failed to exempt religiously affiliated colleges, charities and other groups, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who provide care to the elderly poor, and Priests for Life, who galvanize clergy against abortion. The administration's position was constitutionally suspect and politically foolish. Even its later “accommodation” — under which non-profits may opt out of directly providing coverage — triggered a deluge of lawsuits by 92 religious non-profits across the country. On Wednesday, seven of those lawsuits, bundled together, were argued at the Supreme Court in one of the most widely watched religious freedom battles in years. The dispute centers on the accommodation, which is less of a fix than a fiction: Although religious groups do not have to supply birth control coverage themselves, they must give the government what amounts to permission to get their insurers to provide it instead. The outcome is identical.
The Court narrowly ruled in favor of Christian-owned company Hobby Lobby over a similar issue in 2014. Obamacare's regulatory "birth control" mandate attempted to coerce religious businesses and organizations to pay for a wide array of contraceptives and abortifacients, prompting an array of lawsuits on religious liberty grounds. Worrisomely, the pro-liberty position barely prevailed, 5-4, in Hobby Lobby. The Little Sisters' case will be decided this spring and may result in a 4-4 deadlock, given the liberal justices' hostility to religious freedoms. Last week marked the sixth anniversary of Obamacare being signed into law. I'll leave you with this always-timely flashback: