Let’s see: Last Tuesday in the Rose Garden, the president bragged that 7.1 million Americans have signed up for Obamacare (but how many have actually paid?). What Obama didn’t mention was that 6 million Americans have had their coverage cancelled because, for example, a 60-year-old woman did not have the pediatric dental coverage mandated by O’Care.
Here Peggy Noonan explains that the bill, which was signed four years ago and affects a sixth of the U.S. economy, is not what was passed by Congress. Parts of it have been changed or delayed 30 times by executive fiat.
The program is unique in that the bill that was signed four years ago, on March 23, 2010, is not the law, or rather program, that now exists. Parts of it have been changed or delayed 30 times. It is telling that the president rebuffed Congress when it asked to work with him on alterations, but had no qualms about doing them by executive fiat. The program today, which affects a sixth of the U.S. economy, is not what was passed by the U.S. Congress. On Wednesday Robert Gibbs, who helped elect the president in 2008 and served as his first press secretary, predicted more changes to come. He told a business group in Colorado that the employer mandate would likely be scrapped entirely. He added that the program needed an “additional layer” or “cheaper” coverage and admitted he wasn’t sure the individual mandate had been the right way to go.
Finally, the program’s supporters have gone on quite a rhetorical journey, from “This is an excellent bill, and opponents hate the needy” to “People will love it once they have it” to “We may need some changes” to “I’ve co-sponsored a bill to make needed alternations” to “This will be seen by posterity as an advance in human freedom.”
That was the president’s approach on Tuesday, when he announced the purported 7.1 million enrollees. “The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Actis here to stay. . . . In the end, history is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic security. Nobody remembers well those who stand in the way of America’s progress or our people. And that’s what the Affordable Care Act represents. As messy as it’s been sometimes, as contentious as it’s been sometimes, it is progress.”
Someone said it lacked everything but a “Mission Accomplished” banner. It was political showbiz of a particular sort, asking whether the picture given of a thing will counter the experience of the thing.