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Lies, Damn Lies, and Obamacare

“If you like your plan, you can keep it”. Barrack Obama, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, on already-existing health insurance plans.

“At least 3.5 million health insurance policies canceled”. AP, 2013.

“You try to talk about health care in broad, intelligible points that cut through, and you inevitably lose some accuracy when you do that”. Anonymous Obama aide, 2013, on the same subject.

How much is “some accuracy” for the Obama administration? Is it two million Americans who lost their health insurance plans the moment Obamacare came into effect? Or 50 to 75 percent of 15 million Americans who bought health insurance on their own, and who are going to get kicked off of their plans by the time the year is over? Or maybe it’s the 93 million Americans whom the Federal government predicts will lose their insurance policies by the time Obamacare will have been fully implemented? One insurance cancellation is a tragedy, millions of them is business as usual, one imagines him saying.

Surely some of those people liked their now-cancelled insurance plan? Ah, but you see, their plans were “sub-standard” anyway, so Obama is doing them a favour by taking it away from them and by forcing them to pay exponentially higher insurance premiums Because when you are a 50-year old man with a vasectomy, you really shouldn’t have an insurance plan without maternity care and contraceptives coverage. Immaculate Conception might be a rare condition, but you never know who it might strike next. Take your new (41% more expensive on average) plan and go thank the President.

If the rash of insurance coverage cancellations was a bug rather than a feature of Obamacare, it might have been easier to swallow: an administration that is able to give $634 million no-bid contract to a company whose Canadian long-gun registry project had cost overruns of a thousand percent, for them to build the Obamacare exchange website which doesn’t work is clearly not able to touch anything without screwing it up, like King Midas: that would merely be incompetence on a cosmic scale.

But the millions of cancellations that Obama said over and over again wouldn’t happen were very much a feature: back in 2010 the Administration admitted that only 17% of those already insured will be able to keep their plans after two years. If you wonder why you never heard about this, it’s because it was buried on page 34553 of the Federal Register, the official publication where the 11,558,500 words of Obamacare regulations are hidden over 10,535 pages. At least Nancy Pelosi wasn’t lying when she said you had to vote for the law to find out what was in it. What she didn’t say was that the 906-page original Act was simply the abstract.

Well, at least there’s the new exchange, which enrolled 6 persons on its first day.  To say that that pace doesn’t justify the projected $6.2 trillion of new deficits is a gross understatement.  It shouldn’t be a problem, because Obama said Obamacare would be revenue-neutral, so that the new deficits are clearly a right-wing invention. It’s not as if the non-partisan Government Accountability Office whose reports the President is so fond of quoting actually said so…oh wait.

Only after a week of denial that Obama apologized for the present fiasco; before that, his line had been “For the vast majority of people who have health insurance that works, you can keep it.” Firstly, it isn’t true, unless New Math has introduced a new definition of “majority” that is below 50%. Secondly, who get to decide what works? Not the consumer, God forbid: the bureaucrats at Washington know better than consumers what they really, really, need in their insurance plans, like pediatric care: whether you will ever have children is quite irrelevant. And wouldn’t it be nice if he added that caveat before Obamacare was rolled out?

Luckily for columnists, the fun is only beginning: once the already-delayed Obamacare Employer Mandate enters into effect in 2014, be prepared to see mass layoffs and firings across the country. As many as 7 million jobs might already have been lost for that reason. Apparently, when you impose additional costs onto businesses, they are going to cut costs elsewhere. Who knew? Then again, 7 million is a pretty anemic figure in the greater scheme of Obamacare: just some of the lost accuracy the White House aide was talking about.

About Yuan Yi Zhu

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