At a recent press conference, President Obama delivered a reassuring announcement to the millions of Americans who are wary of the upcoming deluge of ObamaCare’s full implementation: “For the average American out there, for the 85 and 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing’s already happened. And their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better and more secure than it was before. Full stop. That’s it. They don’t have to worry about anything else.”
Well. “Full stop.” So that solves it. Is everyone happy now?
The theatrics from the president are appreciated; they lighten the mood a bit. But they’ll fall short when you don’t have health insurance and are faced with either being uninsured or joining the Medicaid rolls. “Full stop” is actually less of an authoritative command than an indication of what will happen to many people’s insurance coverage once ObamaCare is fully implemented. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out earlier this year, the entirety of ObamaCare’s regulatory framework will likely raise premiums in thirteen states “somewhere between 65% and 100%.” This includes my home state of Virginia, which, even at the lowest end of the scale, would find me paying a little over $250 a month for health insurance after ObamaCare goes into high gear. “Full stop” is what will then occur with my premium payments; but once I cancel the plan, I won’t have to worry about anything else. So it turns out that the president is partly right.
It’s instructive to witness the inability of politicians to accurately predict their own legislative outcomes. In 1967, Congress predicted that Medicare spending would equal only $12 billion per year by 1990 — a paltry sum. Actual spending for that year was $110 billion, so they were slightly off the mark. But of course, by that point, Medicare was fully entrenched in the American political system, and the notion of even modestly reforming it was off the table (it evidently continues to be off the table today). Thus stands the ossified character of American government, and thus will likely stand ObamaCare twenty-five years from now, too. Full stop.