The Debate Is Not Over

Titanic cartoon 

            Sometimes when you say something, people immediately recognize it is not true. A good example is when you have to declare “the debate is over”. Were it really over, your critics would have given up the fight and your victory would not need to be announced.

President Obama seems to recognize when he is losing the debate because it is then he is fond of declaring “the debate is over”. In his 2014 State of the Union address to Congress he declared the debate on global warming is over. Perhaps the fact that there has been global cooling for the last seventeen straight years compelled him to make this erroneous statement. When you’re losing the debate it’s time to declare it’s over.

Now he’s implementing the same strategy when it comes to ObamaCare. With the disastrous rollout of his health care reform, the president has been under intense scrutiny, even from his fawning press, to explain the problems with ObamaCare.

So it was not surprising when he took the occasion of the end of the open enrollment period to declare “The debate over repealing this law is over.” Clearly he was hoping that merely making that statement would somehow make it true. Unfortunately for him and most Americans the real problems have just begun.

It was no surprise that the White House declared they had 7.1 million Americans “signed up” for ObamaCare at the end of the open enrollment. You had to know they would announce this success even though they could not give us any details regarding how many of these have actually paid for their insurance, how many represent newly insured Americans as opposed to those whose policies were cancelled due to ObamaCare, or any of the demographic breakdown details regarding age or pre-existing medical conditions.

We know that 6.2 million Americans or more lost their health insurance policies last fall when their insurance companies were forced to cancel policies that failed to comply with the stringent new standards of ObamaCare. (The number would have been much higher if the Employer Mandate had not been delayed by President Obama.) So the 7.1 million new “sign ups” might actually only represent 900 thousand newly insured Americans when those who lost their insurance due to the law are counted. But even that assumes all of these people have actually purchased a policy. The reports from insurance industry insiders say at least 20 percent of the “sign ups” have failed to make a payment so the real number of insured is probably at least 20 percent lower. That brings the number of newly insured down to about 720 thousand.

Democrats are suddenly invigorated. Those Senators up for re-election in Red states think they’re reborn. Instead of running from their voting record on ObamaCare they’re suddenly willing to double down on their rhetoric. Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu says ObamaCare “holds great promise and is getting stronger every day.” Alaska’s Mark Begich declares “seven million people have access to quality, affordable care and are in control of their own health-care choices.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi boasts Congressional Democrats “are happy to not run away from what we have done. We’re very proud of what we have accomplished.”

Republicans should be happy the Democrats are so proud. The Bible said it well, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18). Already the Republicans won a pivotal test of the impact of ObamaCare when Republican David Jolly of Florida defeated Democratic favorite Alex Sink in a special election to fill a vacant House seat. It is clear that ObamaCare played a big role in altering the outcome of that race that many had conceded to the Democrats.

Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush, writing in The Wall Street Journal says, “ObamaCare is and will remain a political problem for Democrats because there’s a huge disconnect between the party’s rhetoric and the reality that people affected by the law have experienced. . . Even if the administration gets seven million paying customers on the exchanges, they can’t assume they are all happy patrons who will vote Democratic in gratitude. Most are people whose health coverage was canceled last fall despite Mr. Obama’s frequent promise that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

Remember that those who lost their plans had chosen those plans on their own and most were happy with them. Now they have new plans with mandated greater coverage for treatments many do not need such as maternity coverage for men and contraceptives for nuns. Many are paying more for that unwanted additional coverage, especially young people who are being compelled to subsidize the costs of older, sicker Americans. Many have lost their doctor, who is not available on the exchanges, because provider fees have been lowered to cover the cost of insurance that cannot be based on pre-existing medical conditions.  It is unlikely they will feel the love for the Democrats that made them purchase these unwanted policies and caused them to lose their doctor.

The real debate will be a silent one and will take place in the voting booths in November. Democrats still have plenty of reasons to be nervous.

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