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WOLF: Bending Obamacare’s honesty curve downward
Growing list of health care lies plagues president’s overhaul
The Obamacare house of cards is crumbling before our eyes. The Obama administration's signature piece of legislation brings a sixth of the U.S. economy under federal control, and the writing is on the wall: Obamacare will collapse under the weight of its own false promises. The only mystery left is whether we will allow America to go down with it.
Remember when President Obama claimed over and over again that his health care plan would "bend the cost curve downward"? He even declared resolutely that he would not otherwise sign the bill. Well, add that to the growing list of Obamacare lies.
This is going to be a bumpy flight.
The nonprofit and nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation recently released the results of a survey that shakes the president's health care law right down to its core. Health insurance premiums rose in 2011 to more than $15,000 per family for the first time in American history. Not surprisingly, Obamacare itself is to blame for much of the increase. The forced requirement to include adult "children" on their parents' insurance up to the age of 26, as just one example, contributed to 20 percent of the increase.
Before Obamacare, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) projected annual health care spending would increase an average of 6.1 percent per year over the next decade. Despite the promises, after Obamacare passed, CMS recalculated its projections upward to 6.3 percent. Huh? Now the Kaiser survey shows that the actual results for the first year amounted to a 9 percent increase. Mr. Obama bent the cost curve all right - upward.
Are the increased costs justified, even if it does break the president's cost-curve promise because, after all, Obamacare finally was going to provide insurance for 46 million uninsured people? Brace yourself. According to Gallup, the percentage of adults in America without health insurance has increased since Mr. Obama took office and since he signed Obamacare into law.
Please return your seat backs and tray tables to their full upright position. We are hitting some major turbulence now.
OK, so health care costs are going up because of Obamacare, and more adults are uninsured since it began - mostly because of Obamanomics (that's another story) - but at least Mr. Obama promised it would reduce the deficit, right? Well, that was then, and this is now. Administration officials are quietly abandoning the so-called CLASS Act portion of Obamacare, supposedly meant to provide long-term elderly care. In reality, this was the mother of all accounting gimmicks, which counted 10 years of tax revenues but just five years of expenditures to give a false sense of fiscal sanity. Democratic senator and Obamacare supporter Kent Conrad of North Dakota called this "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing Bernie Madoff would have been proud of." Absent the accounting gimmicks, the Congressional Budget Office now acknowledges that Obamacare actually increases the national deficit by $540 billion over the next 10 years.
We have just lost cabin pressure.
Of course, while each of these three lies is damning in its own right, they barely scratch the surface of the Obamacare duplicity. And let me be clear: These are lies. There's normally something generous about our human nature that seeks to avoid that word - lies - but we are in an existential crisis in America, and it demands blunt and precise language. We did not get here because of simple distortions or exaggerations or even misrepresentations. Obamacare is the product of statements known by their makers to be untrue and meant to deceive - lies.
Mr. Obama promised on at least eight occasions that he would open his health care hearings to the public. Invite the C-SPAN cameras in, he said, so Americans would know who's on their side. C-SPAN Chief Executive Brian Lamb said the network certainly would have covered the meetings, but the president "never asked us."
The Obamacare lies are mounting: You could keep your current insurance. You could keep your doctor. The plan would cost less than a trillion dollars. Medicare would be protected. There would be no health care rationing. No one earning less than $250,000 per year would see an increase in his taxes. Tax credits would alleviate the burdens placed on small businesses. The plan would create 4 million new jobs, 400,000 almost immediately. Americans would love Obamacare once they saw what was in it.
The crumbling of Obamacare is now so unmistakable that its supporters have become the dog that didn't bark. It's difficult to find anyone outside the administration who is still willing to defend it publicly.
Calling a lie a lie is difficult for some people, but I cannot apologize for being blunt when America's future is at stake on such a serious matter. At best, the only alternative is what "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno recently said of the president: "I can't figure out if he's the kind of guy who makes infomercials or the kind of guy who falls for infomercials."
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is President Obama's cousin. He blogs at MiltonWolf.com.
About the Author
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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