Last Friday, President Obama took the opportunity, at the Democrat National Committee’s Winter Meeting, to mock the GOP on Obamacare (video here):
Of course, for years now, rather than focusing on creating jobs or raising wages, or helping more young people afford college, Republicans in Congress have been obsessed with one thing above all else — no, not Ted Nugent. (Laughter.) They have been obsessed with repealing the Affordable Care Act. You know what they say: 50th time is the charm. (Laughter.) Maybe when you hit your 50th repeal vote, you will win a prize. Maybe if you buy 50 repeal votes, you get one free. (Laughter.) We get it. We understand. We get you don’t like it. I got it. (Laughter.)
For five years, Republicans in Congress have been talking about offering a serious plan of their own, their alternative. You can go back and look at every year — 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 — every year: “Our alternative plan is right around the corner.” (Laughter.) “We’re just about to put it on the floor.” “We’re going to have a vote.” “We’re still in the drafting process.” Every year. I’m sure it’s coming any day now. (Laughter.)
The reason they don’t do it, of course, is that we already took the best ideas that are out there about bringing down costs and covering more people. Yes, there have been some disruptions. Yes, we lost that first month out of the gate. And we’ve worked hard to fix problems that have come up without any cooperation from them; in fact, they’ve complained when we fix them. They say, how dare you fix the things we were complaining about? (Laughter.) Have you noticed that? They’ll complain about something, and then we take steps to fix it — “you’re a tyrant,” “you’re overreaching.” (Laughter.) You’re laughing, but it’s true. I’m not making this stuff up.
Now, if you check out the rest of the president’s speech, it’s pretty easy to see that he’s living in a dream world. Personally, I think he’s bought into his own lies – he truly believes that all of the negative news about his signature law are just lies ginned up by Fox News.
There are a few key points here that deserve scrutiny. Let’s go through them in order:
- President Obama has become obsessed with criticizing Republicans for being obsessed with repealing the Affordable Care Act – he even mentioned it in his State of the Union address earlier this year. Congress has passed multiple bills to repeal the Democrats’ disastrous law, all of which, unfortunately, have died in the Senate. These repeal efforts have been spurred on by the destructive results of the ACA – rising health insurance and health care costs, destructive economic effects that have resulted in job losses and reductions in hours for hundreds of thousands, and the looming damage that is yet to come with the pending implementation of the employer mandate. You would be hard-pressed to find a single law in America that has the potential to cause more harm to more Americans than the Affordable Care Act – but according to the President and his party, everything is sunshine and lollipops. The Congressional Budget Office was the final authority when they released their initial report showing that the ACA would be budget-neutral over a ten-year span, but when the CBO reports on the real damage the ACA will bring to the jobs market, we’re introduced to terms such as “job-lock,” and told that unemployment and underemployment aren’t such bad things, after all.
- Another constant drumbeat by President Obama and the Democrats has been the supposed lack of a Republican plan to replace the ACA. Back in 2009, during the debate over how to fix health care, Republicans tried to offer proposals – they proposed removing regulations that bar insurance companies from selling policies across state lines which would increase competition, thus lowering insurance rates as insurers had to compete for peoples’ business. They proposed reforming medical malpractice laws to reduce fraudulent malpractice suits, which would lower insurance and healthcare costs by reducing doctors’ malpractice insurance costs, and reduce unnecessary tests and procedures undertaken by doctors for no reason other than to cover themselves against such fraudulent suits. They proposed expanding Health Savings Accounts, which would help people to save money for expensive medical procedures.
But whenever Republicans made these proposals, Democrats scoffed. The message from President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid was, “We won the election.” They had the majorities, so they had the power, so they made a big show of trying to be bipartisan, but in the end, they rejected every Republican proposal, and they just did whatever they wanted.
Even today, Republicans have a plan, but it is much more convenient for President Obama and the Democrats to ignore the facts than to acknowledge that there is a better way.
- Now we reach the best part of President Obama’s speech. According to the President of the United States, “[W]e already took the best ideas that are out there about bringing down costs and covering more people.” Got that?According to President Obama, these are the Democrats’ “best ideas” to bring costs down, yet insurance and healthcare costs have done nothing but go up since the “Affordable” Care Act was passed – and there is no end in sight.
He also says these are the Democrats’ “best ideas” to cover more people, yet millions more have lost their health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act than have gained insurance under this law.
Things may not have been great in the healthcare industry before the Affordable Care Act, but prices were lower, and more people were insured, so we were better off then than we are now.
- President Obama’s complaints about Republicans’ complaining whenever the administration “fixes” something ring just as hollow as the rest of his mockery. For one thing, the Obama administration hasn’t fixed anything. Their big claim to fame thus far has been fixing the federal Healthcare.gov website, but that wasn’t a real fix – instead of crashing outright when the site gets too much traffic, they just set up a queuing system to make some people wait until site traffic had died down – basically, they turned Healthcare.gov into a virtual DMV. The president says “[W]e’ve worked hard to fix problems that have come up without any cooperation from them; in fact, they’ve complained when we fix them.”
The first problem with the president’s statement is that they haven’t really fixed anything. The website still breaks, it just breaks in a slightly more user-friendly way. Security is still a nightmare. The payment system still isn’t in place. Convicted criminals can still work as navigators.
Even the big issues that the administration has taken action on haven’t been fixed, they’ve just been delayed. When they were having issues rolling out the individual mandate, the White House just delayed the signup deadline…then they delayed it again…then they delayed it again. When it became clear that the employer mandate was going to cause significant economic damage, they delayed that mandate until after the 2014 midterms. When millions of Americans started losing their health insurance thanks to ACA-mandated policy requirements, President Obama delayed those requirements…then delayed them again…and has now announced that they will be delayed yet again – also until after the midterm elections, in an obvious ploy to minimize the damage to Democrats’ electoral chances.
And the reason these delays are constantly met with criticism from Republicans is because they are both overtly political and entirely illegal. Whenever Republicans challenge the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, we are told that it is “the law of the land,” yet the same people who trumpet that line over and over see no problem with the Executive Branch arbitrarily changing the deadlines included in the bill…so is it the “law of the land,” or is it just the whim of Obama?
But judging by the Democrats’ wild applause at the State of the Union when President Obama announced his intention to subvert Congress whenever possible, they would prefer that Obama’s whim be the Law of the Land.
The bottom line is this: President Obama would rather mock his political opponents than listen to anything we have to say or offer. He would rather perpetuate lies than hear the truth. He would rather demonize than unite. He would rather dictate than follow the law…and then, after he has lied, demonized, and dictated, he will mock anyone who disagrees with him.