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Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
Editorials

President refuses to recognize Obamacare’s flaws

Published:

Remember when liberals scorched President George W. Bush for refusing to admit mistakes, particularly for saying Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction? The weapons were never found after the successful American invasion.

Infuriated opponents depicted the president as arrogant and out of touch.

Those liberals, you would think, would be equally incensed at President Obama, who continues to downplay the disastrous launch of the Affordable Care Act. Only last week did he half-heartedly apologize for misleading the nation by pledging Americans would be able to keep their insurance policies if they liked them.

Thousands of citizens are now painfully discovering the emptiness of that pledge as insurance companies cancel policies because they do not comply with Obamacare’s costly dictates.

Obama now admits some problems, but his primary response has been to stubbornly stay the course.

Even as he apologized Thursday for the policy cancellations, he stressed most people who lost their policies would end up with better coverage.

What he really means: Government knows more about your needs than you do.

And despite the Obamacare website failures that are preventing Americans from signing up for insurance, the administration is sticking with the mandate that individuals must buy health insurance by March or pay a fine.

Despite all the rationalizing, it is becoming apparent even to many Democrats that Obamacare will diminish health-care coverage and increase premium costs for many Americans.

The New York Times reports that even those who may not have to pay monthly premiums because of the program’s subsidies will face some shocking expenses because the low-cost “bronze” policies require patients to pay most of the costs of doctor and hospital visits.

And the plan gouges young people, who have been among the president’s most enthusiastic supporters.

As Syracuse University Professor Carl Schramm explained in The Wall Street Journal last week: “A Manhattan Institute analysis of Health and Human Services numbers notes that a 27-year-old male will pay 99 percent higher premiums under Obamacare than he would under previously prevailing market rates. One reason is that the law now limits insurers to charging no more than three times the amount they charge the youngest customers.

“Given that 64-year-olds use on average six times as much health care as 19-year-olds, the Affordable Care Act forces young people to pay considerably more than the cost of their own care.”

As often happens, when marketplace realities are ignored, government’s good intentions can have adverse effects.

With all the cracks appearing in the Obamacare dike, even Democrats are becoming frustrated by the administration’s insistence on plodding ahead without concessions.

Democratic senators such as Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, Alaska’s Mark Begich, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Colorado’s Mark Udall are among those urging changes and delays in the law.

Landrieu has introduced a measure requiring insurance companies to reissue the plans they have canceled, though the president has failed to support it.

We’ve opposed Obamacare from the start, but also understand it is unrealistic to expect the president to abandon his signature program.

But the president should see history will judge harshly his aloof and arrogant dismissal of the law’s many defects.

The president might win public support and even some Republican cooperation if he would admit the miscalculations and mismanagement and concede the need to refashion this overly ambitious law into something that will help those who truly need help obtaining insurance without penalizing the bulk of Americans who had no need for Washington to interfere with their health care choices.

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