Published on The Weekly Standard (http://www.weeklystandard.com
Obamacare Misses Its Target on the Uninsured by Half
Jeffrey H. Anderson
July 15, 2014 10:05 AM
In March 2010, Obamacare was about to be voted upon by the House of Representatives, and the Democrats were in the process of deciding whether to ignore public opinion at their peril. At that time, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that Obamacare would cost $938 billion over a decade and would reduce the number of uninsured people by 19 million as of 2014 (with a reduction of 1 million prior to 2014 and 18 million in 2014 alone). Unimpressed, the American people overwhelmingly opposed the intrusive overhaul — with 20 of 21 polls taken that month showing it to be unpopular, most of them by double digits. The Democrats willfully passed Obamacare anyway and lost 63 House seats that November.
Two years later, the Supreme Court declared Obamacare’s coercive Medicaid expansion to be unconstitutional as written, and the CBO adjusted its projection for the number of uninsured accordingly. It projected that Obamacare would reduce the number of uninsured by 14 million as of 2014 (2 million before 2014 and 12 million in 2014 alone), at a 10-year cost of $1.677 trillion — or $739 billion more than the 2010 projection. (This February, the CBO projected that Obamacare’s 10-year cost would eclipse $2 trillion.)
In February of this year, the CBO projected that Obamacare would reduce the number of uninsured by 13 million as of 2014. In April, the CBO had seen enough of the Obama administration’s skillful rollout of Obamacare to reduce that estimate to 12 million.
Now the Urban Institute finds that Obamacare has actually reduced the number of uninsured adults by 8 million since the rollout began last fall. (Gallup shows a similar number.) That’s far short of the number of newly insured that the CBO projected in April of this year, in February of this year, or in 2012 — and it’s less than half the tally the American people were told Obamacare would hit when they opposed it in 2010.
Yet Paul Krugman says that “health reform is — gasp! — working.” Only in Washington could something that fails to hit even half of its original target be considered a gasp-inducing success. No wonder Obamacare is every bit as unpopular now as it was before the party that passed it took its initial Obamacare-induced “shellacking” four years ago.
It’s time for a well-conceived conservative alternative that will fix what the government had broken even before Obamacare was passed, shift things in a conservative direction from the pre-Obamacare status quo, and lead to the full repeal of perhaps the worst legislation in American history.
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