It is hard to know why liberals continue to root so hard for Obamacare’s survival, which promises as much heartache for them — including higher premiums and deductibles and limited service options — as it does for the law’s detractors. Nevertheless, the left-leaning punditocracy has much invested in what is certain to be a Pyrrhic victory at best, and they continue to look for a thin sliver of perverse hope wherever they can find it.
Where they are finding it at the moment is in a New York Times article published on Thursday, specifically in a quote taken from Sen. Ron Johnson, who described as a “Tea Party favorite”:
It’s no longer just a piece of paper that you can repeal and it goes away. There’s something there. We have to recognize that reality. We have to deal with the people that are currently covered under Obamacare.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein and others are reading a whole lot into the comment, which they view as a white flag. Apart from being overly optimistic — Times writer Jonathan Weisman goes on to note that Johnson still favors abolishing the individual mandate, which is far from submission to the law — Klein et. al. choose to ignore the other Republicans quoted in the piece by Times writer Jonathan Weisman. One of them, Lindsay Graham, says:
The hardest problem for us [Republicans] is what to do next. Should we just get out of the way and point out horror stories? Should we come up with a mini Contract With America on health care, or just say generally if you give us the Congress, the House and the Senate in 2014, here’s what we will do for you on multiple issues including health care? You become a more effective critic when you say, ‘Here’s what I’m for,’ and we’re not there yet. So there’s our struggle.
Another is Rep. Tom Price, of Georgia, who is also a physician. He advocates what he calls the Empowering Patients First Act, which would repeal Affordable Care Act but keep its prohibition on exclusions for pre-existing conditions in private health insurance.
Klein and other liberals also attach considerable weight to Weisman’s unsubstantiated claim that “more than two million Americans are expected to be getting their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act come Jan. 1.” Running with that statistic, Klein concedes:
There will be people who try to use their insurance and find they can't, or it's not the plan they meant to buy, or it's not a plan that covers their doctor.
He then adds reassuringly, “But those problems will, eventually, be solved.” He doesn’t go on to explain how, probably because he is expressing hope, not fact, just as he is doing his in dutiful repetition of Weisman’s claim that 2 million Americans will have signed up by New Year’s Day.
Indeed that is what all liberals want to believe, despite the harsh reality that the “back end” of the Healthcare.gov website, through which insurers receive premium payments, remains unfinished. Klein himself acknowledged as much on Nov. 20, when he reported (along with countless other news outlets) that 40% of Obamacare’s IT had not yet been built. That was four years into the fray. Does Klein honestly believe that the remaining two fifths of the site were built in a month’s time?
And even if he does, is he willing to ignore the fact that a number of the states with exchanges are expressing doubts that the federal government will be ready for its own Jan. 1 deadline? Last week Covered Oregon sent out robocalls to applicants warning that if they didn’t receive enrollment confirmation by Dec. 23, they should seek coverage elsewhere to be in compliance. Meanwhile, the health insurance exchange in Maryland is so buggy and under-performing that the state is contemplating scrapping it altogether.
Liberal commentators and their followers are free to continue searching for the silver lining, but in the end the Affordable Care Act is destined either to collapse of its own weight or face repeal, leaving in its wake a mess of incalculable proportions. Efforts to see a different outcome is just so much whistling past the graveyard.
- Covered Oregon to Obamacare enrollees: ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you (maybe)’
- Maryland gives serious thought to abandoning its glitch-ridden exchange
- The shocking Obamacare surprise awaiting seniors New Year’s Day
- If you thought 2013 was bad for Obama, just wait till 2014
- Latest attempt to explain away Obama’s Big Lie: He didn’t lie at all
- Obama told his Big Lie partly because Americans can’t handle the truth
- Covered California gave consumers’ contact info to agents without consent
- California auto-enrolling health plan exchange customers in food stamps?
- The Pants on Fire Report: Covered California required insurers to cancel plans
- Half a million Californians could lose their health insurance policies next year thanks to Obamacare
- Sticker shock: Californians suddenly discover why Republicans are shouting about Obamacare