President Obama, Kathleen Sebelius and the rest of the president’s team are downright giddy because, as they tell us, more than six million Americans have signed up for the so-called Affordable Care Act. Wow! And that was last week. This week, the news is even better. Now, it’s nearly seven million, we’re told, who signed up, which was the goal set by the president early on.
What an achievement, especially after the disastrous rollout when a reasonable person might conclude that nobody would be able to sign up. Great job, Mr. President!
Too bad the White House forgot to tell the American people how great ObamaCare is. An AP poll taken right before the six million number was released showed that only 26 percent of Americans support the president’s signature piece of legislation. That’s the lowest approval rating since ObamaCare became law. (In fairness, the poll may be way off base since it wasn’t conducted of “registered voters” or “likely voters” but simply “adults” – anyone, in other words, with a pulse.)
I don’t want to be a party pooper but there are a few things we don’t know. We don’t know how many of the six or seven million actually paid their premium. If they didn’t, they’re not covered — and so they don’t count.
We don’t know how many fit into the key demographic – young and healthy, the ones whose money is desperately needed to keep the plan afloat.
We also don’t know how many already had health insurance but got cancellation notices before they signed up for a new plan they didn’t want. For all we know maybe only a million of those supposed six or seven million got medical insurance for the first time.
And there’s something else we don’t know. We don’t know if the numbers the White House is putting out are even close to accurate.
Why should anyone take the administration’s word for anything about ObamaCare given the number of times the president himself misled the American people? He told us if we liked our health care plan we could keep it, period. He told us if we liked our doctor, we could keep our doctor, period. He told us our premiums would be going down. Tell that to the millions whose premiums went up.
No one knows how this will turn out. It will take years to get an answer on that. But I suspect still more trouble is right over the horizon. I’m betting that more than a few young, healthy Americans who signed up will cancel within six months. Either they’ll get an annual physical using their new insurance then drop out. Or they’ll go half a year and wonder why they’re paying for a product they think they don’t need. And if they get sick when they have no insurance, they know they can go to the emergency room where they can’t be turned down.
But even if seven million or so Americans really did sign up, wait until they find out what they’re getting for their money. Not all hospitals are in all plans. Not all doctors are either. And this seems like a good time to remind everyone what President Obama told a woman named Jane Sturm back in 2009. Here’s what Ms. Sturm asked the president:
“My mother is now over 105. But at 100, the doctors said to her, ‘I can’t do anything more unless you have a pacemaker.’ I said, ‘Go for it.’ She said, ‘Go for it.’ But the specialist said, ‘No, she’s too old.’ But when the other specialist saw her and saw her joy of life, he said, ‘I’m going for it.’ That was over five years ago. My question to you is: Outside the medical criteria for prolonging life for somebody who is elderly, is there any consideration that can be given for a certain spirit, a certain joy of living, a quality of life, or is it just a medical cutoff at a certain age?”
And here’s what the president told Jane Sturm about her mother:
“I don’t think that we can make judgments based on people’s spirit. That’d be a pretty subjective decision to be making. I think we have to have rules that say that we are gonna provide good quality care for all people. End-of-life care is one of the most difficult sets of decisions that we’re gonna have to make. But understand that those decisions are already being made in one way or another. If they’re not being made under Medicare and Medicaid, they’re being made by private insurers. At least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what, maybe this isn’t gonna help. Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”
Translation: A few pills are cheaper than a pacemaker. Or to put it another way: If she dies she dies.
Nancy Pelosi, who famously told us that, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it,” more recently said that Democrats are proud of the Affordable Care Act and that Republicans are “wasting their time” using it as an issue in the midterm elections. This woman is a gem, a gift for the GOP that keeps on giving. If Nancy Pelosi didn’t exist the Koch brothers would have to pay somebody to create her.
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