Shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, the CBO projected that 9 million people would buy Obamacare-compliant insurance through newly established government-run exchanges. Now, after an enrollment period that his administration expanded by about two months—to more than half a year—President Obama says that 8 million people have “signed up” for (but in many cases haven’t actually bought) insurance through those exchanges.
The Obama administration’s stated goal was to have 39 percent of those who bought such insurance be between the ages of 18 and 34. Now Obama says the actual percentage is 28 percent.
Only in Washington, D.C. could someone put up numbers like these and then brag about them.
But, in truth, all of this talk about enrollment numbers is beside the point. Back when the Democrats defied public opinion and rammed Obamacare into law using the Cornhusker Kickback, Gator Aid, the Louisiana Purchase, and all the rest of the unseemly gimmicks they employed, opponents of Obamacare didn’t claim that the reason why the health-care overhaul would be bad was because it wouldn’t hit the coverage numbers the CBO projected. (If anything, opponents argued that Obamacare would surpass those numbers, as employers would dump people into the exchanges against their will, thereby costing American taxpayers even more than the CBO was projecting.)
No, Obamacare isn’t bad because it didn’t hit 9 million in Obamacare-compliant exchange purchases, nor because it didn’t include 39 percent young adults among its purchasers. It’s bad—horrible, actually—because it requires private citizens to buy a product of the federal government’s choosing for the first time in our nation’s entire history; because it funnels unprecedented amounts of power and money to Washington, D.C. and away from everyday Americans; because it incentivizes employers not to hire people and to cut hours for millions of people they’ve already employed; because it bans millions of people’s health insurance policies (except when Obama lawlessly un-bans them); because it causes people who like their doctors not to be able to keep their doctors; because it raises health costs; because it requires young people to subsidize maternity coverage and pediatric dental care for 60-year-olds who have no need or desire for such coverage; because it effectively bans doctors from expanding existing doctor-owned hospitals or building new ones, makes it difficult for doctors to stay in private practice, and tries to corral them into hospitals where they can more easily be controlled; because it will raise federal spending by a projected $2 trillion over its real first decade; because it will cut projected Medicare funding by a whopping 10 percent over that same decade, siphoning that money out of Medicare to (partially) pay for Obamacare; because it particularly goes after Medicare Advantage funding; because it stifles medical innovation; because it disrespects religious freedom; and because it mandates communal funding of abortion.
In short, it’s bad because it raises health costs, undermines liberty, costs jobs, and seeks to put American medicine under the control of the same folks who brought you healthcare.gov.
It might seem surprising, therefore, that Obama would have chosen to declare victory yesterday, imperiously proclaiming that “the repeal debate is and should be over.” In reality, however, his words might actually be true—just not in the way he intended. The American people hated Obamacare even before the Democrats willfully passed it, they hate it now, and they never stopped hating it in between. There’s strong evidence that the debate is, indeed, over—and that Obama and his allies have lost.
According to Real Clear Politics, since July 4, 2009, 458 polls have been taken on Obamacare. Twenty have shown Americans liking it, five have shown ties, and 433 (95 percent) have shown them disliking it. Perhaps even more strikingly, 299 (65 percent)—including the five most recent polls—have shown Americans opposing Obamacare by double-digits.
Imagine if Republicans were so stubbornly pushing something that was so evidently unpopular—and then had the gall to declare the debate over (in their favor). Do you think the mainstream press would let that fly?
Alas, the press doesn’t have the final say on Obamacare, and neither does Obama. The American people have the final say—and that’s why Obamacare will be repealed and replaced with a conservative alternative within days of Obama’s departure from the White House.
Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda.