Of Course: Democrats Argue Only More Government Can Fix Obamacare

Posted: Sep 09, 2016 1:30 PM

President Obama, whose promises and predictions about his signature domestic "accomplishment" got virtually every important thing badly wrong, is redoubling his calls for Congress to enact a so-called public option to "fix" his failing law. Doing so would increase competition in Obamacare's marketplaces, he claims. This is false. A government-run and taxpayer-funded "option" would undercut private plans on the individual market and quickly become the only game in town for millions of Americans. Private insurers are already bailing on the exchanges due to unsustainable losses; "competition" from a federal plan would all but guarantee the collapse of the private market in this space. This morning, I explained why Obama and his party have no credibility in offering additional Statist "solutions" to rectify the giant mess they've exclusively created, and expounded on why the government option would have the opposite effect of increasing choice and competition for consumers. Via David Rutz:

There was a bit of crosstalk at the end of one of my answers, when I said that the uprooting of the entire American healthcare system -- with which a large majority of people were satisfied prior to Obamacare's passage -- was the end goal of many Democrats. That isn't baseless, partisan speculation on my part.  Their own words:

The Washington Examiner's Phil Klein is out with a new column making the case that the disintegration of Obamacare could end up being the first domestic crisis the next president faces. His take on the political dynamics as the healthcare law circles the drain:

Now it's looking like either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to enter the White House facing a crumbling individual insurance market — without sufficient support in Congress to address the problem. This will cause an early face-off between the president and Congress, not unlike the 2011 debt ceiling crisis or 2013 government shutdown. Here's the basic problem. Obamacare has not signed up enough young and healthy individuals in its insurance exchanges to offset the cost of covering older and sicker enrollees. Insurers have been racking up billions of dollars in losses and have responded through a combination of hiking premiums, reducing the number of doctors and hospitals within their networks, or exiting markets altogether. These market exits have left consumers with fewer choices, and put even more pressure on the remaining insurers who now have to absorb yet more high-risk enrollees. There's no reason to believe things are going to get better in 2017.

Let's take the more likely scenario — that Clinton wins in November. (Note: Until Trump starts leading in polls in Pennsylvania, I will continue to view this as the more likely outcome). Clinton has already proposed a number of changes she would make to "build on" Obamacare...Her plans (or even less ambitious proposals meant to address the immediate crisis) will be vehemently opposed by Republicans, who won't be in the mood to "save" Obamacare. Under the best case scenario for Clinton — if the election is an absolute landslide — Democrats will have narrow majorities in the House and Senate. They will not have 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, which would mean a bloody war over unleashing the "nuclear option" to kill the filibuster. Even if Democrats did that, however, Clinton would face problems in the House, where any Democratic takeover would involve winning relatively conservative districts in which representatives would not be eager to vote for legislation seen as an expansion of Obamacare.

That lack of eagerness is only underscored by new polling data from Gallup, showing that an enduring majority of voters still oppose Obamacare.  By a double digit margin, more Americans report that the law has directly harmed, as opposed to helped, their household's healthcare situation -- with the percentage saying that Obamacare has made no difference down roughly 20 points since before its 2013 implementation:

Bottom line:

UPDATE - Bill Hemmer asked me about the battle for Congress at the tail end of our segment. I said that control of the Senate looks like a very close contest right now. Yesterday, I wrote that Quinnipiac was likely release a slew of battleground Senate polls in the near future, and based on their new presidential toplines, "all four Senate Republican incumbents [would be] either leading or virtually tied." And here you go: