Would you buy a used claim from a tarnished ex-savior?
President Obama -- who, before 2012, told voters about 30 times that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" when this was not the case -- made an appearance three days before Easter to tell us that about 8 million people who had previously languished in uninsured misery now had health insurance, due to himself.
He picked a bad week to do it, as just days before, the Census Bureau announced it was changing the rules to make it harder than ever to measure the real effects of his health care proposal upon the national populace. Meanwhile, a poll released on April 16 revealed that 61 percent of the American people believe that their president lies.
The breakdown showed that 37 percent (a plurality) believe he lies most of the time, 24 percent some of the time, 20 percent "now and then," with a mere 15 percent believing him worthy of trust. This is a far cry from "Honest Abe" and trusty George Washington, and rather quite deep into "Tricky Dick" country, a sad comedown for anyone, but especially one who ran as a change agent and shiny New Age redeemer who promised to make the world new.
There were three little problems with this cheerful rendition that make it seem less than appears. It made it seem that a large number were young, healthy people, (i.e., "young invincibles") whose premiums were supposed to make the whole project solvent. But it turned out quite a few were VERY young people, (i.e., children) on their parents’ policies, who had therefore bought nothing. Then, it turned out that some of this 8 million may not have bought anything either, as they had not paid money, and some of those who had made their first payments were expected to drop out in the months following.
This was expected to bring the 8 million down to something closer to 6 million, which was about the same number as those who lost their insurance when the individual market (as planned by Obama) fell apart early last fall. If most of this 6 million bought new insurance through the exchanges, it is a fair bet that they —not the long-term uninsured — make up most of the 8 million, and thus the act has achieved very little. But then, if this 6 million who lost their insurance still are without it, then the two numbers cancel themselves out completely, and the act has done nothing at all.
Then, there's the amazing coincidence of this sudden new change in the rules. "The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama's health care law in the next report," the New York Times tells us. "The new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable. ... [I]t will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument."
How very convenient. Does anyone think that this would have happened had the administration thought things would go well?
The Republican Party should run up a series of ads with stock footage of Obama saying, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan," followed by whatever line of the day he is trying to peddle. This claim of 8 million fully paid-up and previously uninsured new Obamacare clients would be a good place to start.
Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."