Friendly Reminder: The People Scaring You About Repeal Were Disastrously Wrong About Obamacare

Guy Benson
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Posted: Jun 21, 2017 1:30 PM
Friendly Reminder: The People Scaring You About Repeal Were Disastrously Wrong About Obamacare

We've advanced a variant of this argument before, calling out liberal interest groups like the American Medical Association and AARP for reflexively opposing Republican Obamacare replacement plans after having betrayed their core constituencies to carry buckets of water for the Democrats in 2009 and 2010.  Track records and credibility should matter.  Many Conservatives warned that Obamacare would increase rates and cost a lot more than $940 billion.  They predicted that many people would not be able to keep their plans and doctors as promised, that adding millions of new people to a heavily-strained Medicaid program wasn't wise or sustainable, that Obamacare's exchanges weren't going to be ready for primetime, and that the law's co-ops were going to fall apart.  For questioning the Democratic line, these since-vindicated critics and skeptics were routinely attacked as haters, liars, and even racists.  By contrast, what did the liberal 'smart set' predict at the time?  Here's a fun little stroll down memory lane:


The OFA "Truth Team" cited "fact checkers" (maybe like this organization?) who divined that premiums would not rise under Obamacare, echoing lefty wonk Ezra Klein, the Democratic Party, and of course President Obama.  Hacktastic left-wing attack outfit Media Matters blasted "right wing media" (hashtag 'noise machine!') for "falsely" claiming that rates would go up under the law.  It's now been roughly four years since the law was implemented.  How are those tweets holding up?  Badly.  Very, very badly:

The cost of an individual ObamaCare policy has increased by an average 105 percent from 2013 to 2017 in all 39 states that have used the federal exchange, the Trump administration said Tuesday. A senior Health and Human Services official said the findings are significant because they look at the increases from the time key ObamaCare provisions took effect, compared to most year-to-year studies that fail to show the 2010 law’s “true effect.” The average monthly premiums increased from $224 in 2013 to $476 in 2017, according to the report. The HHS official said the cost doubled in 20 of the states and tripled in three of them.

Every single one of the people and entities above are now frantically admonishing Americans about the parade of horribles that will befall them under Republican Obamacare alternatives. (I've raised several concerns about the House-passed bill, as well, though I've also refused to sit idly by as hysterical misinformation is repeated ad nauseam).  Citizens should bear these people's histories in mind as they assess the credibility of their latest pronouncements -- having been wildly, catastrophically, embarrassingly wrong in their faulty or deceitful cheerleading for Obamacare.  Another figure featured in the aggregated tweets above is a liberal blogger who declared that premiums didn't really matter, so long as out of pocket costs went down -- which they would, of course.  Yeah, nope -- via CNBC late last year

Those cheap Obamacare plans are getting even more expensive.  Deductibles for individuals enrolled in the lowest-priced Obamacare health plans will average more than $6,000 in 2017, the first time that threshold has been cracked in the three years that Affordable Care Act marketplaces have been in business, a new analysis finds. Families enrolled in bronze plans will have average deductibles of $12,393, according to the study by the consumer insurance comparison site HealthPocket. A deductible is the amount of money someone must personally pay out of pocket for health services before insurance covers the remaining cost...Deductibles for the second-least-expensive types of plans, silver plans, will average $3,572 for individuals next year, about 15 percent more than this year's average deductible for silver plans, the study found Deductibles for families covered by silver plans are up by the same amount, for an average of $7,474 next year. Premiums of all silver plans are rising by an average of 17 percent nationwide.
Out-of-pocket costs have gotten so prohibitive for so many consumers that even the New York Times has been unable to avert its gaze from the widespread phenomenon of effectively useless "insurance" under Obamacare. Another swing and a miss. So with the most high-profile, tent-pole promises of Obamacare now inoperative, what do the law's defenders have left?  The answer to that question was recently provided by a Politico reporter, responding to a challenge about the collapsing law by dutifully parroting verbatim Democratic talking points:


When President Obama started test driving the "slowest rate of growth in decades" spin a couple years back, some killjoy sticklers felt compelled to point out that (a) the federal government's own analysis attributed that phenomenon to the tepid economic recovery, not Obamacare, and (b) that "it's going up slower!" was not the promise.  The cost curve was to be bent downward.  As for the record percentage of insured people, I've always found it odd that Obamacare apologists tout this "achievement."  They made it legally punishable to not have insurance; of course the insured rate was going to increase.  What's more telling are the dreadful exchange enrollment numbers -- and the tens of millions who have remained uninsured, largely due to Obamacare's lack of affordability.  Democrats called their law the 'Affordable Care Act,' not the 'Cover More People But Costs Will Go Up Act.'  

Incidentally, padding Obamacare's coverage rate (which entails millions of people who were previously insured) is the law's Medicaid expansion, which piled more people into an already-strained and empirically-failing government program.  The expansion, framed as "compassionate" by supporters, is creating additional access problems for consumers, and is "unexpectedly" doing a number on state budgets.  As predicted.  Meanwhile, please enjoy the otherworldly spectacle of an Obama spokesperson -- of all people! -- attacking somebody else (who happens to be known for principled honesty) for supposedly lying about a healthcare bill -- of all things! -- without evidence:


In sum, I'm not asking you to love the American Health Care Act, or whatever turns up in the Senate.  I'm asking you to proceed with extreme caution before credulously swallowing whatever the Obamacare brigade is trying to feed you about 'repeal and replace' efforts.  Those who mendaciously or foolishly got us into this ugly policy quagmire lack the credibility to extricate us from it, especially when their "solutions" boil down to more money and more government (or worse).  To employ an analogy that the Left might understand, heeding the guidance of the people who brought us Obamacare regarding the future of healthcare would be like putting Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld in charge of America's next moves in Iraq.  The Obamacare chorus appears unchastened by its disastrously wrong analysis, which has resulted in direct harm to millions of American families.  They are instead delivering lectures and sowing fear about alternatives to their failing plan.  Why not just have Jonathan Gruber lead the charge against the GOP bill at this point?  The arrogance is staggering, and many of their paint-by-numbers attacks are predictable.  To wit, I'll leave you with Hillary Clinton's running mate complaining that he doesn't know what's in the Senate bill while also telling us exactly whom it will hurt: