Obamacare Myths Bending Down to Reality

January 27, 2011

President Obama and Congressional Democrats promised that after their big government health care takeover became law, the “overheated rhetoric” would end and voters would see the law’s benefits:

OBAMA: “In a few moments, when I sign this bill, all of the overheated rhetoric over reform will finally confront the reality of reform.” (Michael Scherer, “President Obama Signs and Celebrates His Partisan Victory,” Time, 3/23/2010)

PELOSI: “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it …” (“Pelosi Remarks at the 2010 Legislative Conference for National Association of Counties,” Pelosi speech, 3/09/2010)

But mounting evidence suggests that it was Obama’s rhetoric that was “overheated.” Medicare’s actuary said that ObamaCare will now break two of Obama’s central promises:

Two of the central promises of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law are unlikely to be fulfilled, Medicare’s independent economic expert told Congress on Wednesday.

The landmark legislation probably won’t hold costs down, and it won’t let everybody keep their current health insurance if they like it, Chief Actuary Richard Foster told the House Budget Committee. His office is responsible for independent long-range cost estimates.

“Foster was asked by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., for a simple true or false response on two of the main assertions made by supporters of the law: that it will bring down unsustainable medical costs and will let people keep their current health insurance if they like it.

“On the costs issue, ‘I would say false, more so than true,’ Foster responded.

“As for people getting to keep their coverage, ‘not true in all cases.’“ (“Medicare Official Doubts Health Law Savings,” Associated Press, 1/26/2011)

In fact, the essential selling point for Obamacare was “bending the cost curve” down:

“[Vice President Joe Biden]: But, look, I think, if I can lay out, Mr. President, what I think we all agree on, and then figure out whether as a way to deal with the deficit end of this — bending the cost curve, to use a phrase you and many others have used, Mr. President.” (“Remarks by The President In Discussion of the Deficit at Bipartisan Meeting on Health Care Reform,” The White House, 2/25/2010)

“‘You’ll be able to buy in, or a small business will be able to buy into this pool,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘And that will lower rates, it’s estimated, by up to 14 to 20 percent over what you’re currently getting.’” (“Will Health Care Bill Lower Premiums?,” Associated Press, 3/17/2010)

Obama also explicitly promised that his big government healthcare takeover would allow American workers and families to keep their doctors and would also reduce their premiums:

If you like your doctor, you’re going to be able to keep your doctor. If you like your plan, keep your plan. I don’t believe we should give government or the insurance companies more control over health care in America. I think it’s time to give you, the American people, more control over your health.” (“Obama’s Speech on Health Care Reform,”Real Clear Politics, 3/19/2010)