President Barack Obama once again came out swinging in defense of his signature healthcare law.
Countless times since the rollout, and again last week, he proclaimed that Obamacare is working, called on Democrats to defend it, and chastised conservatives for their opposition that he believes is entirely political. But people should look beyond Obama’s rhetoric and consider reality – Obamacare is bad medicine for America.
The president’s definition of success is a curious one. More than six million cancelled plans, lost doctors, and higher costs aside, Obama is in essence celebrating the expansion of the welfare state. In order to get more people insured, it was not necessary to raise taxes, restrict choice, drive the debt up to $27 trillion, and make millions more people dependent on the government.
US President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on April 1, 2014. Hundreds of thousands of Americans rushed to buy Obama's new health insurance plans on March 31, prompting a victory lap from a White House that paid a steep political price for its greatest achievement. The scramble to sign up under Obama's health care law at the end of a six-month enrollment window caused website glitches and long lines at on-the-spot enrollment centers. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM
But that is precisely what Obamacare is doing. And President Obama insists that it is working as he intended.
But even beyond the negative consequences on the nation’s well-being, claiming victory from a practical sense is a stretch, to say the least. Obama “spiked the football” as he touted seven million enrollees, but there is still no clear estimate of how many of those seven million were previously uninsured and have actually paid a premium signifying they are covered. The president’s vague claim that “a sizeable part of the U.S. population” is enjoying health insurance for the first time remains completely unquantifiable.
And the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 10 years from now, there will still be 30 million uninsured people in the United States – despite Obamacare’s apparently lax requirement that everyone in America attain health insurance.
In addition to claiming victory, the president called on Democrats to “forcefully defend and be proud” of the law – an especially dubious order for members of Congress, whose constituents are facing cancelled plans, lost doctors, and higher costs because of Obamacare. Imagine the response if Mary Landrieu were to hold a town hall event supporting Obamacare in Louisiana, where over 92,000 plans were cancelled, or if Mark Udall were to do so in Colorado, where over 326,000 plans were cancelled.
US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action 'Obamacare Summit' at the St. Regis Hotel on November 4, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Obama spoke on health care and rallied over 200 supporters to get uninsured consumers to purchase a plan through the Affordable Care Act. Pool/Getty Images
These same members of Congress have even avoided being seen with President Obama. The request to defend the disastrous healthcare law is a bold plea to make of politicians fighting for their political lives.
Finally, true to his divisive form, President Obama criticized conservatives for their opposition to the law, refusing to lend an ear to any legitimate concerns. Obama chastised states refusing to expand Medicaid, saying the decision is “for no other reason than political spite.” He clearly gave no consideration to the idea that perhaps these states do not want to dump more people onto an inept government entitlement program, make it more difficult for the neediest families to access care, and fleece taxpayers in the process.
Ironically, at the same time the president touted Obamacare, Democratic strategists were warning candidates to avoid using the phrase “economic recovery” because it is a political loser. The translation, of course, is that the Democrats have failed to help the economy recover, and America knows it. Obviously, Obamacare has been no small part of the malaise.
But as far as President Obama is concerned, Obamacare is working – an assertion he believes so strongly that he feels the need to keep repeating it.
Akash Chougule is a policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s premier free-market grassroots organization. Akash brings a unique perspective to AFP, and specializes in education, health care, tax, and transportation issues.
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