ObamaCare is running out of gas

Two of the important features of the 2014 election cycle were:

1. Democrats and their mainstream-media groupies insisting that ObamaCare was no longer a relevant political issue; and

2. Republicans running about 35,000 political ads against ObamaCare and winning a historic landslide victory.

The effort to defund ObamaCare, which led to a supposedly horrible government “shutdown” that still has Americans quivering with rage, had no detectable ill effect on Republican fortunes.  On the other hand, 29 Senators who voted for ObamaCare have now been sent packing, 15 of them replaced by Republicans (probably soon to be 16, once Mary Landrieu finishes wasting Louisiana’s time.)

The bad news for ObamaCare just keeps coming, like a string of bowling balls and anvils rolling off a shelf to land upon the head of a cartoon coyote.  It’s an open question whether the Affordable Care Act will prove to be as resilient as the coyote.  Does this thing somehow survive even though Americans strongly dislike it, major parts of the law aren’t functioning, it’s only still alive at all because Barack Obama violates the Constitution with impunity to rewrite it, the Supreme Court is peering over legal challenges to the law with a frown upon its collective face, and the politicians who ran on repealing it just won a huge election?  Should we ask that question again after the long-hidden 2015 premium hikes are finally revealed to the American people?

CNN Money finds ObamaCare’s enrollment blood pressure falling dangerously low:

Fewer than 10 million people are expected to enroll in Obamacare for 2015, the Obama administration said Monday.

That’s a significant drop from the original goal. The Congressional Budget Office had projected 13 million, but officials said they expect the ramp up to be slower than the CBO originally thought.

The revised goal is 9 to 9.9 million. It raises questions about whether Obamacare enrollment will reach projections down the road.

The CBO had projected enrollment would hit 25 million by 2017, but now the administration says it will probably take at least one or two more years to reach that threshold.

This isn’t just a question of time.  9 million in 2015 would be only a modest increase in pace over the 7 million reported for 2014, a number that has already declined by a million people due to cancellations and invalid enrollments.  CNN doesn’t mention whether the CBO forecast took the higher premiums rolling out in 2015 into account when projecting demand.  On the one hand, it’s hard to imagine how they could miss such an important factor, but on the other, the CBO has a penchant for static analysis that underestimates the response of government’s “consumers” to its cost.  The slow pace of growth for the Affordable Care Act means the insurance industry will have trouble keeping up with the cost spiral.  It’s not just about reaching projections a few years late – some of ObamaCare’s industry partners won’t make it to 2020.  The public perception of a insanely complex, expensive, and intrusive scheme that can’t hit any of its performance goals will deepen.  (Remember, the original goal for the first year was a lot higher than the reduced expectations used by the White House to claim enrollment success in April.)

Of course, one way to force more ObamaCare enrollments is to kill existing insurance plans.  If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, unless Obama needs your plan to die, so you’ll have no choice but to sign up for his plan.  What private-sector tycoon wouldn’t love the power to create his own customer base, by making competitive products illegal?  Indianapolis Business Journal spots the next wave of insurance cancellations rolling ashore:

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is canceling the policies of about 30,000 Hoosiers and asking them to switch over to new health plans that comply with Obamacare’s rules.

That change could cause some customers??? premiums to spike while at the same time limiting their choices of hospitals and doctors.

For the past few months, the Indianapolis-based health insurer has been sending out notices to holders of individual insurance policies who renewed their coverage before Dec. 31, 2013. Such early renewals allowed Anthem customers to continue coverage under pre-Obamacare rules.

The Obama administration has said these so-called transitional policies can continue until as late as 2016. But an Anthem spokesman said the insurer chose to end them now due to what it perceived as modest demand.

And also because it was reportedly confusing for them to support both pre- and post-ObamaCare plans.  How much is this forced transition – the same one Barack Obama swore, dozens of times, that no American would ever have to face – going to cost Hoosiers?

Anthem???s premiums for 2015 for its individual Obamacare policies will be on average 50 percent higher than its individual premiums were in 2013.

Tony Nefouse, a local health insurance broker, said most of his clients having their Anthem policies canceled are not eligible for the tax credits Obamacare makes available to low- and moderate-income households. So they are getting hit with premium increases of 15 percent to 20 percent.

???Nobody wants that,??? Nefouse said. ???If you???re in that middle class and you don???t qualify for tax credits, you have to make some major decisions.???

Can we post the “If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It” supercut for the ObamaCare victims of Indianapolis?  YES, WE CAN!

What happens to ObamaCare if just about everyone’s subsidies go away?  The Supreme Court agreed to hear the legal challenge to ObamaCare subsidies on Friday.  This evidently came as a shock to many observers, but it shouldn’t have; the Affordable Care Act explicitly states that only state exchanges can grant subsidies.  It doesn’t matter if the con artists who bolted this nightmare law together changed their minds about including that language later – it’s in there.  Those who figured the Supremes would allow an Obama-packed circuit court to deep-six this challenge greatly underestimated the Court’s interest in preserving the legal integrity of government – which doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to rule against the ACA, but it means they see the issue as important enough to settle once and for all.  Also, it doesn’t look like the ridiculous garbage about “type-os” and “speak-os” pushed by the Left were very convincing.

There’s more on the line in this challenge than the fate of ObamaCare, as if that wasn’t enough.  The legitimacy of American government hangs in the balance.  If the people who draft laws can lie shamelessly about them, then rewrite the laws on the fly after they have been signed, in the interests of political expediency, we don’t have a constitutional government at all, and neither ObamaCare nor any other bill signed in Washington is really a “law.”  They’re all just open-ended power grabs.  Which means it’s hard to see why we really need a Supreme Court at all, since the actual text of a law can be reshaped according to what those who passed it claim they “really meant” on any given day, even when many of them no longer hold their congressional seats.

Speaking of shameless liars, a long-hidden video of ObamaCare architect Jon Gruber – the guy who claimed he made a string of “speak-os” when admitting on camera that the federal exchange wasn’t supposed to be able to hand out subsidies – has surfaced, in which Gruber admits ObamaCare was shrouded in lies to slip it past stupid American voters.  Yes, he literally used those words: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.  And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber explained.  “If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”  Funny thing – when this flaming bag of legislative poo was last deposited on the Supreme Court’s doorstep, they had to rule that the mandate was a tax, or the law would have died.  Are you digging the scale of the swindle Obama and his Party pulled on you yet, America?

If not, here’s some more from Gruber, on the subject of the equally dishonest rhetoric around those insurance subsidies: “If you had a law which said healthy people are gonna pay in… that made it explicit healthy people pay and sick people get money, it would not have passed.”  He’s crowing about all this, by the way, not apologizing for it.  He thinks it’s great that the American people were tricked and deceived for their own good.

This is why I’ve been saying, since ObamaCare Day One, that its creators were confidence men and scam artists, including Barack Obama.  They didn’t just make a few mistakes here and there.  They didn’t fail to anticipate a few crazy consequences of a gigantic law.  They deliberately lied about what they were doing, because as Gruber explained, they knew they couldn’t have forced it through Congress if they had been honest about it, not even during the brief window of total Democrat control that America will still be paying for, years into the future.  Obama knew he was lying in every single clip from that supercut above – his plan depended on the forced termination of existing insurance plans.  There would scarcely be one million enrollees today if that hadn’t happened, and it probably wouldn’t have reached two million in 2015.

Even if the Supreme Court strikes down subsidies from the federal exchange, it’s possible the subsidy trap will function the way it was originally intended to: instead of being a stake through ObamaCare’s heart, the decision could force the majority of the states to create their own ObamaCare exchanges.  However, given the continuing unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act, the puny enrollment figures, and the results of the 2014 election, the odds of ObamaCare surviving such a decision have diminished.  ObamaCare is running out of gas.  Every argument against repeal has weakened over the past year.  The number of people actually benefiting from the law – even the worst law has beneficiaries – is so small that the repeal movement should have little difficulty making sure they’re taken care of.

Pass that repeal bill and force Obama to veto it, vetoing the Democrat Party’s hopes for years to come in the process.  If a repeal bill lands on his desk right after the Supreme Court knocks down the subsidies, Obama’s veto will be the most painful thing the Democrats have ever done.  They will have earned the pain, just as they earned their midterm election defeat.  There must be a steep price to pay for defrauding the American people, or it will keep happening.  There are many other truths they don’t think you can handle.

Update: Further thoughts at the Washington Times about how the below-expected pace of ObamaCare enrollments is not merely a disappointing failure to reach a benchmark – and another sad attempt by the Administration to move its goalposts – but an existential threat to the financial survival of the program.  It’s not merely embarrassing if Year Two accumulated enrollment is 40 or 50 percent below the original projections made before HealthCareDotGov blew up on the launch pad.


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