Much has been said about the failings of Obamacare; so much, in fact, that I hesitated before writing this column. After all, by now even those who originally supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA) know they were lied to. Americans in growing numbers are belatedly coming to the realization that they have been had by a nimble-footed politician who specializes in distortion. However, assuming that the growing dissatisfaction with Obamacare means that thinking people can now rest is a mistake. While the Middle-East is monopolizing the media’s attention, Obamacare is becoming an out-of-control train speeding down the tracks with no one putting on the brakes. It is a train rushing headlong toward economic disaster.
With the mid-term elections coming in November and incumbent Democrats in both houses of Congress scrambling to hold onto their seats, now is not the time to forget about the disaster of Obamacare. In fact, now is the time to turn up the heat on Democratic incumbents and force them to justify their support of President Obama’s healthcare boondoggle. Democrats voted for Obamacare like obedient sheep without even reading it. Republicans voted against it. Herein is a powerful lever that can be used to pry these ovine Democrats out of their incumbent seats and replace them with candidates who will at least read the bills they deliberate on in Congress.
When trying to sell the ACA to the American public, President Obama got an assist from Nancy Pelosi who made that incredibly irresponsible statement about having to pass the 2,700 page behemoth to see what was in it. With her help Congress did pass Obamacare without reading it. Now many of the Democrats running to keep their seats in November wish they had read it. More to the point, they wish they had voted against it. Congress may not have known what was in the mammoth healthcare bill the president rammed through the House and Senate, but over the past two years American citizens have learned what’s in it, and they don’t like what they have learned. They also know that more bad news is coming concerning the law, although President Obama has attempted to minimize the damage to Democrats by unilaterally and probably illegally postponing implementation of the more troubling aspects of the ACA.
Obama gave the American public the old hard sell on the ACA with promises of free birth control, lower premiums, guaranteed coverage, better quality, and more options, but the bill he sent to Congress turned out to be a worst-case example of the maxim, he had the right string but the wrong yo-yo. Most Americans agreed with the president that healthcare reform was needed, but President Obama ignored the more sensible proposals that were floated and instead rammed a dog of a bill down the throats of Congressmen who were either too lazy to read it or too weak to fight it. Although Republicans refused to support the president’s healthcare bill in Congress, they failed to generate sufficient opposition to it by informing the public of the many problems we have now learned about the hard way.
Belatedly, even Obama’s supporters are figuring out that the president is just a smooth-talking politician willing to say anything to get what he wants. Most of what the president told the public prior to passage of the ACA has turned out to be not just inaccurate, but based on blatant, purposeful distortions; lies callously told to gain the support of people who would not have supported Obamacare had they known the truth. As a result, supporters blithely went along with Nancy Pelosi’s recommendation that Congress pass the bill and worry about the consequences later. This apparently sounded good to Democrats at the time, but this is no longer the case now that mid-term elections loom large in their increasingly unsecure futures.
Now that Americans are learning the truth about the ACA—that it is doing the exact opposite of what the president promised—they like Obamacare and the snake oil salesman who foisted it on them less and less. In fact, even women—Obamacare’s most ardent supporters originally—have now turned on the ACA and its namesake. Ironically, women make up the group that has been hurt worst by the lies Obama told about healthcare reform. Perhaps this is why 52 percent of women now have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare and Obama.
One of the things that attracted naïve Americans to Obamacare was the promise of lower premiums, but as most Americans now know, not only did healthcare premiums not decrease, they increased, substantially. The cost of individually purchased healthcare insurance has increased by an average of 49 percent. Next to go up will be employer provided healthcare policies. People who have seen their insurance costs escalate—Democrats and Republicans, men and women—now understand that they were lied to and that the liar is the President of the United States.
President Obama promised Americans more options to gain their support for the ACA, but we now know that health insurance options are more limited than they were before Obamacare was enacted. While in the past people could opt for a less expensive catastrophic policy or even choose not to purchase health insurance, under Obamacare they are mandated to: 1) Purchase health insurance whether they want it or not, and 2) Purchase the type of plan that Obamacare prescribes for them, even if this means paying for options they neither want nor need. For example, consider the case of women who cannot have children or choose not to. In the past, these women could purchase a policy at a substantially lower premium because it did not have to contain maternity coverage. Under the ACA, women no longer have that option. Maternity may not be in the cards for some women, but under Obamacare paying for it is.
President Obama told Americans they could keep their policies and keep their doctors if they liked them. We, of course, quickly learned that this was not just a lie, but a purposeful lie told knowingly and intentionally. The president knew his claim wasn’t true when he made it, but for political reasons he was willing to look straight into the camera and lie. President Obama’s you-can-keep-it claim was selected as the 2013 “Lie of the Year” by PolitiFact.com. Not only have many Americans lost their health insurance policies because of Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that at least 7 million more Americans will lose their policies. Worse yet, this projection probably errs on the side of optimism.
Another way that Obamacare has hurt Americans has been the double-whammy it puts on the working poor. First, a high percentage of people—mostly minimum-wage earners—have seen their weekly work hours cut to fewer than 30 by employers who simply cannot stay in business if they comply with the ACA requirement that they purchase health insurance for employees who work 30 or more hours a week. Second, low-wage employees who have seen their hours cut because of Obamacare will now be forced to purchase individual health insurance policies or pay a fine, neither of which they can afford to do on reduced hours.
Do you remember Jessica Sanford? In a speech he gave one year ago, President Obama used the example of Ms. Sanford to make his case for the benefits of the ACA. She is a single mother who could not afford health insurance until recued—supposedly—by Obamacare. According to President Obama, thanks to the ACA Ms. Sanford was finally able to purchase an insurance policy for $169 per month. As things turned out, Jessica Sanford’s case was like the rest of Obamacare—a great big lie. It turned out that her state-run exchange had a few bugs in it. When the bugs were corrected and the dust settled, President Obama’s poster girl for the ACA had to pay $324 per month for her health insurance policy, an amount she could not afford. Now not only will she be unable to afford health insurance, Ms. Sanford will have to pay a fine for failing to purchase a policy she could not afford.
The President’s mishandling of Syria, ISIS, Iran, and the various other hot spots in the Middle East is even more troubling than his mishandling of Obamacare. However, as voters Americans should not become so focused on the Middle East that we forget about the ACA boondoggle come November and the mid-term elections. Think of it this way: Democrats in the House and Senate who went along with him on Obamacare without even reading the bill cannot be trusted to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with ISIS and a soon-to-be nuclear power—Iran. When the mid-term elections roll around America’s rallying cry should be similar to the one associated with the Alamo: “Remember Obamacare!”