MATH IS HARD FOR OBAMACARIANS

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss misrepresentations of a new Urban Institute study by Obamacare apologists in the “news” media:

If you read the “reporting” of the legacy media on Obamacare, you will have noticed a spate of stories with titles like the following from CNBC: ‘Health spending post-Obamacare seen $2.5 trillion lower.’ This headline misrepresents a new study from the Urban Institute in a way that suggests the nation has saved enormous amounts of money thanks to the “Affordable Care Act.”

This is absurd, of course, but it highlights an underappreciated element of the health care reform debate—the adversarial relationship that exists between Obamacare’s partisans in the press and basic statistics.

This running gun battle between math and the media manifests itself in two ways, depending on the limitations of individual journalists: Most just can’t handle the numbers, and are thus easily taken in by specious studies and grifters like Jonathan Gruber. A far smaller group can manage the math but must ignore its implications in order to support ‘reform.’

A prominent member of the former cohort is Jonathan Cohn, who writes that the Urban Institute study is ‘one more reason’ to feel good about PPACA. To read the rest of the column, click here.

WHO WILL BE BLAMED FOR KING V. BURWELL CHAOS?

In today’s American Spectator I suggest that the fallout from a SCOTUS ruling against the IRS in King v. Burwell won’t come down on the heads of the local officials who refused to set up state exchanges:

A Supreme Court ruling against the Obama administration in King v. Burwell, according to conventional Beltway wisdom, will create serious political problems for governors and legislators in the 34 states that declined to set up Obamacare insurance exchanges. Most of these officials are Republicans, the thinking goes, and will thus be blamed for letting petty partisanship deprive their constituents of subsidies while plunging state insurance markets into chaos. Public wrath, we are told, will eventually force them to create PPACA exchanges.

However, a new voter survey conducted in the affected states suggests that this is very unlikely to occur.

According to the survey, published by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), the refusal of governors and state legislators to create Obamacare exchanges would not be seen by the electorate as the cause of any lost subsidies or disruptions in their insurance markets: “Instead, the vast majority of the voters are likely to blame Congress or the IRS.” This view is held by more than two-thirds of the electorate in the 34 states that would be impacted by the Supreme Court ruling.

The conventional Beltway wisdom regarding the political fallout from King v. Burwell is wrong. To read the rest of the column, click here.

OBAMACARE’S AMAZING WAYBACK CLAUSE

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss the ridiculous claim by the President and his supporters that Obamacare slowed down health care inflation even before it was implemented:

Obamacare’s boosters have made many implausible assertions about its supposed successes … But any list of their most comical claims would have to include those involving the law’s “wayback clause.” Haven’t heard of that one? Well, like the provision authorizing the IRS to issue subsidies via federal exchanges, it’s absent from PPACA’s text. Nonetheless, its efficacy is routinely touted by Obamacare’s proponents as proof that “reform” works.

The most celebrated effect of this amazing provision is its retroactive reduction of medical inflation during the years preceding the law’s implementation.

Obamacare was passed in 2010. However, except for a few minor provisions, it didn’t go into effect until 2014. Yet the law’s wayback clause is such a powerful cost control tool that it has been able to traverse the time-space continuum and slow the rate of health care inflation, as the President himself has phrased it, ‘every single year since the law passed.’

In reality, PPACA has probably ended the 12-year downward trend in medical inflation. Preliminary data suggest that it began to accelerate again in 2014. To read the rest of the column, click here.

THE SUM OF ALL OBAMACARIAN FEARS

In today’s American Spectator I discuss what really scares Obamacare advocates about King v. Burwell. They are terrified that SCOTUS will send PPACA back to Congress for repairs, and that the new majority might actually heed the will of the voters:

Justice Scalia said as much, during oral arguments, after listening to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli recite a long list of horribles that would result from a ruling against the Obama administration: ‘You really think Congress is just going to sit there while… all these disastrous consequences ensue…. Congress adjusts, enacts a statute that takes care of the problem.’ Verilli’s response revealed that this is the very contingency that he is desperate to avoid: ‘Well, this Congress, Your Honor… I… I…’

This prompted laughter in the gallery but Justice Scalia was not amused: “I don’t care what Congress you’re talking about.”

Scalia’s dudgeon was provoked by Verrilli’s insinuation that the current Congress is somehow less legitimate than the Democrat-controlled body that originally foisted Obamacare on an unwilling electorate. But, make no mistake, that is what the Solicitor General and his masters in the White House believe. They didn’t view the election of Republican majorities to both houses of the national legislature as a voter repudiation of bad policies and worse management. They saw it as a species of hostile takeover.

Scalia’s suggestion that Congress should perform its constitutional role, for them, is evidence that he is a partisan. They believe he and the other Republican-appointed justices are dying to send Obamacare back to a GOP-controlled Congress determined to kill it.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

KENNEDY WON’T SAVE OBAMACARE’S BACON

In today’s American Spectator I discuss the pathetic hope by PPACA supporters that a single question asked by Justice Kennedy during Wednesday’s King v. Burwell hearing means he’ll support the Obama administration’s illegal attempt to rewrite the law:

Supporters of the “Affordable Care Act” have been rather glum of late. Since the Supreme Court agreed to hear King v. Burwell, a lawsuit that challenges the Obama administration’s decision to funnel insurance subsidies through federal exchanges established in the 36 states that refused to create PPACA “marketplaces,” they have rather ironically bemoaned the possibility that five unelected justices could do irreparable damage to the law with one “wrong ruling.”

Consequently, they have desperately grasped at a thin straw tossed their way by Justice Kennedy, who asked if their were federalism implications to the petitioner’s interpretation of PPACA. This caused Obamacare supporters to clap their little hands with glee.

A typical example of this newfound optimism can be found in a giddy Slate piece titled, “Will Kennedy Save Obamacare?” Its author describes his comment as follows: “Something rather amazing happened during Wednesday’s oral arguments… most observers expected Justice Anthony Kennedy … to join his fellow right-wingers in cheering on the challengers. Instead, he threw a curveball.”

But even the Obama administration’s Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, didn’t take the “curveball” seriously. He told the Court he “was not prepared” to argue that a ruling in favor of the petitioners would present a federalism problem.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

KING V. BURWELL IS MUCH BIGGER THAN OBAMACARE

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss why Wednesday’s oral arguments before SCOTUS will cover issues that, in the long term, are far more important than health care reform or insurance subsidies:

John Adams, in a 1775 essay referencing the Roman historian Livy and other sources, wrote that a republic was’a nation of laws, not of men.’” As recently as fifty years ago, most Americans would have intuitively understood his point and why it was relevant to their lives. Today, it isn’t clear that the President of the United States, the leaders of the Democratic Party, or the members of our “news” media would grasp the meaning of Adams’ words, much less that they still matter today:

We will soon discover if the same can be said of the Supreme Court.

The Court will hear oral arguments this Wednesday in King v. Burwell. The petitioners in this case want the justices to rule that the Obama administration must abide by the provisions of PPACA that govern insurance subsidies. The text of that law, better known as Obamacare, requires that all subsidies must flow through exchanges established by the states. But due to the refusal of 36 states to set up such ‘marketplaces.’ the Obama administration cobbled together federal exchanges in those states.

The administration is now issuing illegal subsidies via those exchanges. The President conducts himself in a manner utterly inconsistent with republican principles and his constitutional oath.

This is, at its core, what King v. Burwell is about. It is rather an attempt to prevent the President from doing further violence to the Constitution. To read the rest of the column, click here.

NO, MR. PRESIDENT, OBAMACARE ISN’T WORKING

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss the latest futile attempt by the White House to convince us that this smoking train wreck is working:

Last week, the White House took to Twitter for purposes of publicizing its latest Obamacare enrollment blarney. Far more informative than the tweet’s fictitious sign-up numbers was the schmaltzy video to which it was linked. Staged in the Oval Office, this one-act farce features a simpering HHS Secretary briefing our Thespian in Chief, who then delivers the following soliloquy: “The Affordable Care Act is working. It’s working better than we anticipated. It’s certainly working a lot better than many of the critics talked about early on.” In Obama’s 27-word script, “working” appears 3 times.

The President doth protest too much, methinks. But don’t take my word for it.

Ask the folks who learned last Friday that Obama’s bureaucrats sent them erroneous tax information relating to PPACA. AP reports, “Officials said the government sent the wrong tax information to about 800,000 HealthCare.gov customers, and they’re asking those affected to delay filing their 2014 returns.” And, as with most government blunders, the price will be paid by those who can least afford it. Robert Pear points out in the New York Times, “[T]housands of lower-income Americans who qualified for subsidized insurance had hoped for tax refunds and now must wait for weeks to file their taxes.”

To read the rest of the column, click here.

OBAMACARE RULING MAY END CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss the absurdly apocalyptic predictions that have appeared in the media about the consequences of a Supreme Court ruling against the government in King v. Burwell.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell three weeks from now, and the possibility that the justices might uphold the health care “reform” law as written has driven our liberal friends to the edge of lunacy. This is never a long journey for anyone on the left, of course, but they have arrived at the precipice with unusual alacrity this time.

Their predictions about the outcome should the Court rule that “established by the state” actually means “established by the state” have gone from the merely portentous to the downright apocalyptic in only a few months.

They started predicting that the Court would “cripple” Obamacare. But 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the law, so this didn’t exactly cause panic in streets. Next, they said that a ruling against the government could deprive many of taxpayer-funded insurance subsidies. The taxpayers were oddly unmoved.

Now, they have resorted to claims so wild that even progressives will have trouble taking them seriously. To read the full column, click here.

UNINSURED BALK AT OBAMACARE BITE

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss the discovery by Kaiser that half of the uninsured remain without coverage because the cost of insurance is too high under Obamacare:

When it became obvious a couple of years ago that Obamacare would accelerate health care inflation, the law’s boosters began claiming that cost control was never its primary goal … As expressed by the New York Times, the new story goes thus: ‘At its most basic level, the Affordable Care Act was intended to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance.’

A new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation may cause Obamacare partisans to regret retreating to that position:

‘When asked why they lacked insurance coverage, more than half of adults who appear to be eligible for assistance volunteered that coverage was too expensive.’ That’s right. A law that will cost $2 trillion over the next decade is unable to fulfill the one promise “reform’s” advocates still admit to making on its behalf.

Obamacare’s last claim to legitimacy has vanished. To read the rest of the column, click here.

STEVEN BRILL’S LATEST WORK OF FICTION

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss America’s Bitter Pill, the largely fictitious account of Obamacare’s conception and passage written by Steven Brill:

I put off reading Steven Brill’s new book for much the same reason I procrastinate when it’s time to clean the gutters on my house. I was sure it would be a boring chore that would leave me yearning for a shower. A previous encounter with this writer’s work in a 2013 edition of Time suggested that this tome would contain a catalogue of canards about U.S. health care, a tendentious account of the tawdry political process that produced Obamacare, and some hare-brained theory on how to fix our medical delivery system.

My forebodings were well-founded.

Brill’s ideological recidivism colors every word in America’s Bitter Pill. Thus, the hopelessly dysfunctional Rube Goldberg contraption whose supporters still call the “Affordable Care Act” isn’t the product of sleazy politicians determined to take over a sixth of the U.S. economy and gain control over the most intimate decisions Americans make about their lives. It is rather the result of pressure put on those well-meaning public servants by “the hospital lobby” and the other special interest groups that control U.S. health care.

To read the rest of the column, click here.