Although the Obama administration scandals that have emerged since Election Day are hurting the Democrats a bit, Obamacare remains the real threat to the Dems in 2014. As Tevi Troy points out in Commentary, by most every measure, things are going badly on the Obamacare front:
Health-insurance premiums are becoming more expensive, which is particularly striking when you consider that the act’s advocates promised it would decrease costs by $2,500 per person.
A majority of states have chosen not to create state-based exchanges—the highly regulated ObamaCare insurance-policy marketplaces. Thus, the federal government must now scramble to figure out how to develop as many as 33 state-based exchanges.
The new requirement that employers provide their full-time employees with health insurance is already skewing hiring patterns and delaying efforts to get the wounded American labor force back to work. As the Los Angeles Times reported, “rather than provide health care to more workers, a growing number of employers are cutting back employee hours instead.”
A startling new study of Medicaid, on which ObamaCare relies to cover about half of the soon-to-be insured people in the country, found that Medicaid does not produce improved health outcomes for its recipients.
The cost of the bill, initially estimated to be around $898 billion, has doubled, to about $1.85 trillion. A minority report from the Senate Budget Committee has the figure at $2.7 trillion.
All kinds of regulatory deadlines in the bill have been missed, and confusion reigns among plans, patients, and administrators alike. That’s why Montana Senator Max Baucus, an original sponsor of the bill and the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has stated that the implementation of the bill is shaping up to be a “huge train wreck.”
The question is: on whom will the train wreck be blamed? The logical answer is: on the Party that voted Obamacare into existence, not the Party that said it would never work.
The Democrats hope to evade this logic, and its electoral consequences, by attributing the emerging (but always latent) Obamacare difficulties to Republican obstructionism. Troy collects specimens of the blame-shifting, including this rather garbled statement by President Obama:
When you’re doing it nationwide, relatively fast, and you’ve got half of Congress who is determined to try to block implementation and not adequately funding implementation, and then you’ve got a number of members of, or governors—Republican governors—who know that it’s bad politics for them to try to implement this effectively, and some even who have decided to implement it and then their Republican-controlled state legislatures say, don’t implement, and won’t pass enabling legislation—when you have that kind of situation, that makes it harder.
Fortunately, this blame-shifting looks like a political non-starter. Why? Because Republicans very publicly predicted the adverse consequences of Obamacare from the beginning and, accordingly, were unanimous in their opposition. As Troy states:
In March 2010, Democrats rammed ObamaCare through the House without a single Republican vote. Republicans objected to the bill on numerous grounds, and predicted that premiums would go up, costs would not go down, and employers would lay off employees in droves. In the 2010 election, the American people sent a very clear signal that they objected to ObamaCare: Their votes flipped 63 House seats and the majority in the lower chamber to Republicans, as well as six additional Senate seats. Between 2011 and 2013, during the 112th Congress, Republicans voted to overturn the Affordable Care Act 36 times. The GOP standard-bearer in 2012 advocated the repeal of ObamaCare, and the other candidates seeking the nomination campaigned on it as well.
Democrats have continued to press forward, passing the 2,700-page law without Republican support or input, writing more than 20,000 pages of regulations to implement it, and they have spent colossal sums of taxpayer dollars to put in motion (and publicize) this legislation. Now, as GOP analyses of the plan’s unworkability is starting to come true, and the implementation is proving to be just as challenging as Republicans predicted, President Obama, Senator Reid, and Secretary Sebelius have the audacity to say that the failings of their strong-arm approach are the responsibility of those who said it would never work.
In sum, events are proving that the Republicans were right and the Democrats wrong on the key factual questions surrounding the most publicized, and arguably the most important, issue of the Obama years. Voters can’t help but notice. The Democrats probably will pay a price at the polls next year, and the price might be steep.
JOHN adds: Talk about a non-starter! No one calls the disaster Boehnercare.