For years, Obamacare supporters' mantra has been consistent: "It's working," and the law's dishonest critics have been proven wrong. The indisputable reality, however, is that the law is actually imploding under the weight of its own failures, vindicating opponents' predictions in the process. Bill Clinton's comments this week underscored those failures. Calling the partisan scheme "the craziest thing in the world," Clinton correctly noted that millions of consumers have seen their premiums soar, as their access to care has shriveled up. The "Affordable Care Act" was sold with promises of more "choice and competition" to drive down costs, but it has turned out to be unaffordable, offering fewer choices. It is unpopular, and has consistently hurt more people than it's helped. A failure. Though Clinton has attempted to walk back his critique of the law that his wife essentially designed and championed in 2008 -- and continues to praise as a success -- the damage is done. MSNBC's Chuck Todd acknowledged as much on his program, calling it a "real problem for Democrats" because Obamacare is being litigated more heavily as a major issue in down-ballot races:
As Cortney wrote yesterday, Bill isn't the only Clinton who is facing up to the Obamacare mess. Chelsea Clinton is candidly admitting that the "affordable" part of the law -- which was its central promise -- hasn't materialized, reiterating a criticism she leveled in March of this year. It seems as though the Clinton family is doing its best to insulate Hillary from what should be a serious vulnerability. Other Democrats are taking a different approach, like Obamacare architect Zeke Emanuel trying to claim that rate hikes haven't been "across the board," and pointing the finger of blame at...Republicans. Katie's analysis of that segment is here, featuring several of his talking points:
With limited exceptions, premiums have increased across the board, shooting up by double digits in many places. You're in trouble when your spin is that the average hike isn't higher than 15 percent. That constitutes a big, fat increase for struggling consumers, and even if his statistic is accurate (other estimates are higher), that means that half of the rate boosts clocked in at more than 15 percent. Let us all recall together than President Obama and the Democrats promised that Obamacare would substantially reduce premiums for all Americans. The opposite is happening, and that doesn't even factor in the steamrolling out-of-pocket costs that are causing more consumers to consider purchasing insurance for their insurance. As for Emanuel's "blame Republicans!" gambit, that's just patently absurd on its face. Democrats shut Republicans out of the bill-writing process in 2009 and 2010, jamming the law through without a single GOP vote, despite bipartisan opposition and public discontent. They own every single problem with their party-line experimental scheme, period. Good luck blaming the GOP, whose attempts to repeal and replace this disaster have been repeatedly voted down, blocked, and vetoed by Democrats. And by all means, please blame Marco Rubio and Congressional Republicans for shutting down unpopular federal bailouts of insurance companies who've suffered big losses by participating in the law. They've saved hardworking taxpayers billions, taking them off the hook for temporary, unsustainable, and wildly expensive bandaids that were set to expire anyway. The bailouts would have wasted valuable resources simply to delay the inevitable.
Emanuel's solutions, aside from blaming the party that had nothing to do with the law? (1) Spend even more money on subsidies, and (2) ramp up the penalty (i.e., the hated individual mandate tax) to try to force more young and healthy people to buy the coverage they can't afford through Obamacare. As Bill Clinton might say, this would be doubling down on "crazy." Other liberals have already pivoted to demanding changes that will either lead to a single-payer system, or are just flat-out advocating the adoption of that fully government-run regime. That idea is unaffordable, politically untenable, and immoral. The VA's government-run system is still plagued by rationing, scarcity, lethal wait lists and abuse, despite major injections of cash. (An overblown problem, Hillary Clinton said). And that's on a limited scale, designed for the people who've earned our help the most. Exporting and expanding that system onto a population of 320 million, uprooting tens of millions from the coverage they enjoy, cannot work. I'll leave you with this little detail, which harkens back to that famous "you lie!" heckle:
UPDATE - In another jaw-dropping rate hike, Oklahomans on Obamacare will be facing a 76 percent spike in 2017, as the state's top regulator says Oklahoma's exchange is on "life support."