Media icon Barbara Walters recently confessed that she and so many of her liberal ilk truly thought that Obama would be the next messiah, and that their hopes and dreams in that regard have been shattered by the utter fecklessness and incompetence of this administration in executing even the most basic of governing functions.
Yet, the complete overhaul of a massive, complex health care/insurance system that makes up nearly a fifth of the domestic economy is no simple task, and as Obama and his brain trust in D.C. have discovered (long after the rest of us), buying health insurance is a complex undertaking.
A few months ago, Democrats played chicken with the House Republicans and forced a government shutdown rather than allow the House bill to pass, the third iteration of which would have funded Obamacare, allowed it to proceed on schedule, but simply require that all members of Congress and their staff get coverage through the ObamaCare exchanges.
Up to that point, Republicans had unsuccessfully attempted to defund the law, to delay the individual mandate for a year, and make other changes to the law. Democrats sanctimoniously declared ObamaCare to be “settled law” to which there must be no protests and strict adherence (unlike, you know, the Second Amendment, which is more than two centuries old and enshrined in the Bill of Rights, but which liberal Democrats are constantly trying to repeal).
For all of the maneuvering, attacking, and counter-attacking by Republicans, it seems now that nothing Republicans have done has been more damaging to confidence in the ObamaCare law than simply letting the implementation play out unimpeded. Each week seems to bring a new report of another aspect of the law that Obama has unilaterally changed, in defiance of the limits placed on his powers under the Constitution.
Obama has unconstitutionally granted a one year delay to the employee mandate, repeated extensions of deadlines, waivers for politically connected businesses and labor unions; and now the most recent, and potentially the most significant, change, an exemption to the individual mandate (if only for a year).
According to a breaking report in Forbes magazine, “The administration will grant a ‘hardship exemption’ from the law’s individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance, to anyone who has had their prior coverage canceled and who ‘believes’ that Obamacare’s offerings ‘are unaffordable.’ These exemptions will substantially alter the architecture of the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers are at their wits’ end, trying to make sense of what to do next.”
Far from being brilliant, benevolent central planners, this administration is proving true the assertion by economist Friedrich von Hayek that “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” Instead of the Founding Fathers of Socialized Medicine, the Obama administration has been so arrogantly inept, so utterly clueless, that they make the Three Stooges look like members of the Manhattan project.
Obama had already thrown the insurance marketplace into even greater turmoil by announcing suddenly that he would grant a one-year extension for the evil insurance companies to sell those “sub-standard” policies that he’d been vilifying, an option that turned out to be impossible to implement.
Insurance companies had been carefully fine-tuning new policies for several years to comply with the Affordable Care Act and still not go bankrupt, and here was Obama promising the nation that he would allow insurance companies to undo something in a matter of weeks what it took them several years to do.
Most insurance companies, and even some state insurance commissioners (Democrat insurance commissioners, no less) rejected the option. Then again, it was never meant to be a viable option in the first place, just a way for Obama to be able to deflect blame, pointing to insurance companies and blaming them for not selling policies which he’d allowed.
The consequences of this latest gambit are far-reaching. If anyone who “believes” that the ObamaCare exchange policies will be a hardship for them gets an exemption, then it is extremely unlikely that Obama will be able to convince even a tiny fraction of those under-30 Americans, which he desperately needs in order to even remotely claim his system is solvent, to sign up for policies which have tripled the cost of their insurance.
What he’ll be left with is older, sicker people buying policies, who are also limited in what they can be charged for premiums under the terms of the law, thereby creating a perfect storm for the fiscal collapse of the program…massive outlays in health care costs, combined with limited premiums coming in. It is simply, categorically, unequivocally, unsustainable. This is the most blatant admission to date that the Affordable Care Act is simply unaffordable, and will never, EVER, reach the promised $2500 per family per year savings on which Obama campaigned.
When you factor in the additional revelation that his “catastrophic” coverage plans are often more expensive than the Bronze plans, and 200-300% more expensive that basic plans previously available to younger Americans on the “free” market (if you can call the previous competition-restricted, regulation heavy market, “free”), this has been an utter disaster for confidence in Obama and his administration. Any one of these delays and set-backs would be enough to undermine confidence in Obama, his administration, and his health care takeover, but taken together it is, well, catastrophic.
Day by day, revelation by revelation, the Republicans are being proven prophetic in their previous claims as to the disastrous consequences of ObamaCare; health care costs skyrocketing, people losing their doctors, millions more Americans uninsured (there are more uninsured Americans today than before the law was passed), and utter chaos in the system.
Republicans have proven completely incapable of outmaneuvering Obama and his socialist Democrat legions in Congress. He has repeatedly taken upon himself extra-constitutional powers, made unilateral changes to the ObamaCare law, and dared the Republicans to do something about it. More often than not, other than passing essentially meaningless bills to defund ObamaCare that would never see the light of day in the Democrat-controlled Senate, much less make it past Obama’s veto pen, Republicans have generally slinked back to the corner and licked their wounds.
Yet at the end of the day, nothing Republicans have done or can do may do more to bring the law crashing down than simply letting it go forward. And so, with Obama’s approval ratings plummeting among those constituencies he needs the most (the youth, women, Hispanics, blacks), and Democrats from vulnerable districts fleeing from him, his arrogant power grab may prove to be his greatest undoing.
Maybe because he believed, like Barbara Walters and the rest of his sycophants, that he truly was the next messiah, Icarus Obama overestimated his own brilliance and abilities and flew too close to the sun.