The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Ink-Darkened Water

Last week, the president's trained hamsters in the media remained silent as the White House crowed about reaching its 7 million enrollment number for Obamacare. One week earlier, the administration couldn't tell us when 5 or 6 million had "enrolled," but on April 1st, their exactitude was amusing—not 7 million, but seven-point-one million. Of course, no rational person believed these numbers. In fact data from insurance companies and state exchanges indicate that between 20 and 40 percent of "enrollees" never pay for their policies, meaning they do NOT have insurance.

In addition, 6 million people lost their existing policies pre-Obamacare. How many of them simply switched to more expensive policies under Obamacare. The web site studiously does not ask whether an enrollee is simply moving from other insurance to Obamacare. That information would be politically damaging so ...

Peggy Noonan has a way of cutting through the BS. She writes:
[Obamacare's] biggest proponent in Congress, the Democratic speaker of the House, literally said—blithely, mindlessly, but in a way forthcomingly—that we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it. It is a cliché to note this. But really, Nancy Pelosi's statement was a historic admission that she was fighting hard for something she herself didn't understand, but she had every confidence regulators and bureaucratic interpreters would tell her in time what she'd done. This is how we make laws now.

Her comments alarmed congressional Republicans but inspired Democrats, who for the next three years would carry on like blithering idiots making believe they'd read the bill and understood its implications. They were later taken aback by complaints from their constituents. The White House, on the other hand, seems to have understood what the bill would do, and lied in a way so specific it showed they knew exactly what to spin and how. "If you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan, period." "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period." That of course was the president, misrepresenting the facts of his signature legislative effort. That was historic, too. If you liked your doctor, your plan, your network, your coverage, your deductible you could not keep it. Your existing policy had to pass muster with the administration, which would fight to the death to ensure that 60-year-old women have pediatric dental coverage.
Remember back in 2009 when Obama and the democrats told us that ramming this legislation through without bipartisan support was necessary because 30 million people were uninsured. Gasp! 30 million! After four years, a cascade of unilateral politically motivated delays and modifications, how many of those 30 million have gotten insurance. Let's do the math.
  • Obamacare resulted in 6 million people losing their insurance.
  • Obamacare claims to have 7 million enrollees—absolutely fictitious, but let's take the number at face value.
Doing the math using the administration's fictitious numbers, that means that at most, there are 1 million fewer uninsured people. Hmmm. 1/30 or about 3 percent improvement in the number of uninsured has taken 4 years. Not very impressive. In fact, pathetic.

Again, Peggy Noonan comments:
What the bill declared it would do—insure tens of millions of uninsured Americans—it has not done. There are still tens of millions uninsured Americans. On the other hand, it has terrorized millions who did have insurance and lost it, or who still have insurance and may lose it.

The program is unique in that it touches on an intimate and very human part of life, the health of one's body, and yet normal people have been almost wholly excluded from the debate. This surely was not a bug but a feature. Given a program whose complexity is so utter and defeating that it defies any normal human attempt at comprehension, two things will happen. Those inclined to like the spirit of the thing will support it on the assumption the government knows what it's doing. And the opposition will find it difficult to effectively oppose—or repeal the thing—because of the program's bureaucratic density and complexity. It's like wrestling a manic, many-armed squid in ink-darkened water.
The Democratic Party owns this disastrous legislation and as always, hopes that opponents would shy away from fighting "a manic, many-armed squid in ink-darkened water." They hoped that fantasy would triumph over reality. They hoped that lies would somehow morph into truth, that simple arithmetic would redeem them when the numbers simply don't compute.

Now, reality has begun to seep into the "ink-darkened water," but the price, if any, that the democratic party will pay in November is not commensurate with the damage they have allowed to be done. That's a shame.