by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
No doubt, you’ll remember all those romantic charts and stories from the liberal smart-set predicting Obamacare’s affordability and success. Remember the jeering aimed at conservatives who argued state-run markets that inhibit genuine competition and increase regulations would only spur costs to rise? “Lies,” they said.
In 2014, E.J. Dionne asked a valuable question: “Is there any accountability in American politics for being completely wrong?” The answer is, of course not. Not for some conservative talkers. And definitely not for the Voxers and liberal pundits who keep modifying the meaning of success whenever Obamacare’s viability is threatened (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 … you could spend hours linking to pieces rationalizing why ACA’s failures simply mean it’s “working.”)
At the time, Dionne argued that the ACA was doing exactly what its supporters had predicted, “getting health insurance to millions who didn’t have it before.” In reality, that was only one piece of Obamacare’s promise, and even that accomplishment has been retroactively simplified to create an impression of unqualified success. Far from it.
Of course mandating and subsidizing health-care insurance will decrease the number of uninsured. Yet Left punditry seems to be under the impression that coercing people to participate in their plans is revolutionary policymaking. But countless times in 2009, the president promised that exchanges would offer those newly insured Americans more quality “choices” and “affordability” and push down rates overall. (He promised the rest of us that health-care premiums would fall by $2,500 for a family of four. Instead, they’ve risen by over $4,800.)
New administration data released this week finds that Obamacare premiums will spike an average of 25 percent across the country for benchmark plans in 2017. But don’t worry, consumers on exchanges will also have far fewer choices. So they will either be forced to forfeit plans they like or lose insurance altogether and accept a tax or fine — or whatever liberals are calling their state-enforced mandate these days.