Ohio Governor John Kasich caused a stir by supposedly telling the Associated Press that he thinks opposition to ObamaCare by his fellow Republicans is “really either political or ideological.” He didn’t think such opposition “holds water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people’s lives.”
As liberal pundits frantically hammered out articles praising Kasich for seeing the light on ObamaCare, however, the Governor declared that the Associated Press had misquoted him. He said he was referring to the Medicaid expansion, not ObamaCare. This led to a curious addition to the AP story – not presented as a retraction or correction, but rather Kasich “clarifying” his comments:
Kasich called The Associated Press Monday night to clarify that he was speaking specifically about a repeal of Medicaid expansion and not of the entire Affordable Care Act – although opponents in Washington don’t usually draw such distinctions.
He said he believes the ACA “can and should” be repealed, but that opposition to the Medicaid expansion “was really either political or ideological,” adding, “I don’t think that holds water against real flesh and blood and real improvements in people’s lives.”
He has cast the Medicaid expansion in Ohio as a moral choice to help the poor.
While “repeal” remains the mantra for many Republicans in Washington, it’s up against some hard facts.
As Kasich suggested, millions of people now have a tangible benefit that would be taken away if the health law were repealed. Any GOP replacement law would probably have to give most of those people a way to remain insured, and that would involve considerable taxpayer expense and government regulation.
And even if Democrats lose their Senate majority, President Barack Obama still has the power to veto legislation. Republicans would have to muster a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress to override that.
I guess we’d have to hear the unedited tapes of the interview to judge whether Kasich spoke in a confusing manner, the AP deliberately misquoted him, or it was some combination of a politician stumbling over terminology and reporters hearing what they wanted to hear. It’s interesting that this “mistake” played perfectly into the Democrat storyline that ObamaCare is somehow “working,” resistance is futile, and most Republicans have made their peace with it.
Of course, to believe that nonsense, you have to completely and callously ignore all the people with ObamaCare horror stories about lost insurance, lost access to doctors, and increased insurance premiums. You’ve got to hand it to the Left and its willing media auxiliaries: they’ve been absolutely ruthless about telling those people to shut the hell up. No suffering American has ever been as thoroughly and complete ignored as the unhappy ObamaCare customer. Media liberals don’t want to hear your complaints about hundreds of dollars lost from your paycheck due to higher premiums, or how you can’t get important medical treatments any more. They especially don’t want to hear your lament about how you believed Barack Obama when he promised, on camera, over thirty times, that absolutely no one would ever dream of taking away the insurance plan you liked. Even when a Democrat candidate for the Senate, Amanda Curtis of Montana, admits on-camera that her healthcare costs have gone up, the Obama-friendly press just sort of coughs into its hands, studies its shoelaces for a moment, and goes back to working up the next “ObamaCare is here forever, so get used to it” piece.
So if you just airbrush the malcontents out of history, and don’t ask any tough questions about the hit to the federal treasury, ObamaCare looks like it’s kinda-sorta working, a little. It’s considered particularly bad form to bring up the net cost of each newly covered American. And it’s really impolitic to make any distinction between ObamaCare and Medicaid, as Kasich did. Actually, contrary to the AP’s assertion, ObamaCare critics are much more likely to bring up the difference between the ACA and Medicaid than supporters are. Let me amend that: ObamaCare supporters never admit the two programs are separate, unless they are forced to make the distinction by particularly insistent questioners. As for the Administration itself, falsely counting Medicaid enrollees as ObamaCare enrollees was a common trick during the early days of the HealthCareDotGov catastrophe, when Team Obama was brainstorming ways to squeeze a few encouraging headlines from brutal news cycles.
You know what would have been really nice? If the ObamaCare con artists had “drawn such a distinction” between Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act from the get-go. We didn’t need the other grotesque abuses, wasteful spending, and embarrassing failures of ObamaCare to expand Medicaid. We could have had an honest, statesmanlike debate about expanding Medicaid. Of course, that would have given critics a chance to discuss the problems with that storied welfare program, and the Left didn’t want that, so they pulled a massive bait-and-switch. They told America the subject of the discussion was a brilliantly-designed technocratic health insurance system, which would miraculously make insurance better, more widely available, and less expensive, all at the same time. It would do this without placing a burden on anyone who didn’t want to participate, because we were promised we could keep our old insurance if we decided we didn’t like the ObamaCare policies. And it literally wouldn’t cost the Treasury a nickel, because the con artists told us ObamaCare would reduce the deficit. That might be a bit hard to remember after a few weeks of listening to the jokers who blew $2 trillion on a dysfunctional website tell you Republican budget cuts were the reason there wasn’t enough money to deal with Ebola.
The only part of ObamaCare its authors invested much effort in writing meticulously were the parts of the bill that would make it difficult to defund or repeal. It was given fangs and claws to defend itself before much thought was given to how it would affect health insurance. Medicaid is now the armored hide that protects the rest of this twisted, feral creature. It doesn’t matter if people struggling to pay high insurance premiums and retain access to their family doctors are unhappy – how often must you grouches be reminded that you don’t count at all? What matters is that a straight-up welfare program, which wasn’t working very well prior to 2010, has been gigantically expanded, and it’s been fused into the circulatory system of the Affordable Care Act, so that carving into the latter will kill the former… and Medicaid’s greatly expanded army of pure government dependents will fight to keep it. If that means some working mom has to pay 200 percent higher premiums, tough. Working Mom will not fight as hard to get her hard-earned money back as Medicaid dependents will fight to retain their benefits. When the rest of ObamaCare collapses in a few years, as planned, Working Mom will join them in single-payer medical hell anyway.
So much for “Hope and Change,” huh? Now it’s “Abandon hope, all ye suckers who let Democrats get away with dumping ObamaCare on you.” Nobody told you at the time, but 2008 was your last chance to say anything about the course of health care in the United States. The downward spiral is locked in. Unless, of course, the American people are ready to rise up in historic numbers and demand the repeal of something they were explicitly told by would be optional.