At his press conference this week, President Obama tried to reassure Americans about ObamaCare. Instead, he displayed either an incredible lack of understanding about his own law, or something far worse.
Asked about increasing Democratic concern over what Sen. Max Baucus called a looming ObamaCare “train wreck,” Obama claimed that it’s all much ado about very little.
But almost nothing he said in defense of ObamaCare was accurate. Among his statements:
“A huge chunk of it’s already been implemented.”
In fact, all that’s been implemented so far are a few PR-friendly changes like a mandate to cover children up to age 26 and a more generous Medicare drug benefit.
Democrats put off the bulk of the law – the massive market regulations, the government-run exchanges, mandates to buy coverage, and various taxes and fees – until 2014, both to hide its true costs and to avoid any unpleasantness before the 2012 elections.
“For the 85% to 90% of Americans who already have health insurance… they don’t have to worry about anything else.”
Really? The Congressional Budget Office expects 7 million workers – and possibly as many as 20 million – will lose their employer coverage because of ObamaCare. That’s plenty to worry about.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said millions of seniors will get dumped from their private Medicare Advantage plans by 2017 thanks to sharp payment cuts required by the law.
And small businesses now providing coverage face huge rate hikes thanks to ObamaCare’s many market regulations and benefit mandates. Maryland’s biggest insurer, nonprofit CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, said ObamaCare will force rates up by 15% next year.
“The other stuff’s been implemented and it’s working fine.”
That’s only true if you ignore the fact that ObamaCare’s high-risk pools have been a disaster, attracting a third as many people as predicted while costing far more than the administration budgeted.
Or the fact that Obama had to issue more than 1,200 waivers to companies who said the law’s initial insurance market rules would have forced them to cancel coverage for millions of workers.
The overly complicated small-business tax credit has also been a bust, with only about 5% of eligible firms taking advantage of it. And so on.
“We’re going to be able to drive down costs… and that will save the country money as a whole over the long term.”
Except, Obama’s own health care number crunchers say ObamaCare will force national health spending up 7.4% in 2014, and add billions in costs over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office says it will add massively to federal health spending.
And the architects of Obama’s reform wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine about how, despite ObamaCare, “health costs remain a major challenge.”
It all leads one to wonder: Is Obama just dangerously misinformed about ObamaCare? Or is he willfully misleading the country?