The administration took a victory lap in the Rose Garden yesterday, celebrating the claim that more than 7 million people have now signed up for health insurance through Obamacare. President Obama himself showed up to beam and chastise Republicans for opposing his legislation. It was grand political theater with all his loyal Democrat legislators in attendance.
But know this—it was no more than political theater. Why?
There are many things we don’t know about that 7 million number. Let me count the ways we are in the dark:
- First, we have no idea how many of those they claim to have signed up are really signed up. Have they paid anything? Simply signing up is not the same thing as paying. I think we can reasonably subtract a significant number just on that question alone.
- Second, we don’t know how many registered for Medicaid. Early estimates showed approximately a 4:1 advantage for Medicaid recipients. Those are not exactly paying customers; their costs are incurred by the government, both federal and state.
- Third, it is obvious that perhaps a majority of the paying consumers were forced into the system because the law caused them to lose the health insurance they already had. That’s not an increase in the total of people covered by insurance; it’s simply a replacement.
- Fourth, we aren’t being told the percentage of signees who are younger, and therefore healthier, which is essential for the system to be financially feasible. Until now, that percentage was estimated to be far too low to create a workable program.
- Fifth, the other factor that is unknown is how many of those registered were actually uninsured in the first place. Again, all indications have been that the figure is extremely low. Wasn’t this supposed to be aimed primarily at those who didn’t have insurance? If they aren’t the ones benefiting, how can anyone call this a success?
Beyond the questions, there are the certainties: higher premiums and deductibles, unneeded coverages pushing those costs higher, and loss of doctors and medical facilities in the program. Again, how does this spell success? Yet our president will continue to say it’s working just as he intended:
That’s what’s even scarier. I don’t think this temporary victory lap is going to make Democrats running for reelection really feel any better. They will still be faced with voters who have lost their insurance and doctors, some of whom have even lost the treatments they were receiving for serious diseases. They also will have to answer to those who are now paying more for less. Those voters will not be happy.
So yesterday’s news didn’t change anything of substance with this unpopular law. Failure is still failure, no matter how you try to dress it up as a success.
It’s almost as if yesterday was April Fool’s Day or something. Oh . . .