- - Friday, September 27, 2013


President Obama is the most audacious president in memory, mostly because he knows that no matter how outlandish his pronouncements, there’s a willingness among Americans to grant a little more indulgence. Mr. Obama’s cockiness was on full display Thursday when he told an audience at Prince George’s Community College in Largo that when his signature health care law crashes and burns it’ll be the fault of the Republicans.

“Look,” he said, “part of the reason I need your help to make this [Obamacare] law work is because there are so many people out there working to make it fail … the Republicans in Congress are poisoning Obamacare, then trying to claim it’s sick.” The handful of Republicans trying to prevent the implementation of the law, in his formulation, are responsible for its failure, which now looks ever more inevitable. This is a clever bit of humbug. Mr. Obama knows how to count. Only 19 senators voted with Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday to block full funding of the health care takeover.

Mr. Obama needs more people to take the blame, so he cites another favorite target. “Some of the Tea Party’s biggest donors,” he said, “some of the wealthiest men in America — are funding a cynical ad campaign trying to convince young people not to buy health care at all.” He’s talking about Generation Opportunity and its “Creepy Uncle Sam” advertisements, which portray a man and a woman undergoing highly personal physical examinations. The doctor steps away for a moment only to have Uncle Sam take over.

This may not be the most tasteful representation of Obamacare, but it’s persuasive because it’s an accurate one. A key element of the president’s law requires doctors to replace the traditional system of storing medical records in paper files with electronic records. Like all emails and telephone calls, once they’re in electronic form, the records will be at the fingertips of dozens of government agencies. This provision enables the federal government to snoop on everyone’s medical history, including ailments, treatments and prescriptions. This extraordinary power begs to be abused. Last year, someone at the Internal Revenue Service leaked information from Mitt Romney’s tax returns to undermine his presidential campaign. The next round of candidates will suffer the leak of records of heart attacks, sexually transmitted diseases, and even the pills he takes for insomnia. None of this is the government’s business, but Uncle Sam will know it all.

Generation Opportunity’s ads tell young people they have better and less expensive alternatives to a government insurance exchange. The website OptOut.org explains that someone young and healthy would be better off skipping the government scheme and buying a high-deductible plan for as little as $41 a month, which is a good deal even after Obamacare’s individual-mandate tax. The dirty little secret of Obamacare is that it soaks low-risk individuals to subsidize high-risk individuals. It’s a transfer of wealth from the young to the old.

The ads cut a little too close to the facts for Mr. Obama. He knows that his health care takeover is a train wreck/plane crash/automobile collision in the making. Putting the blame on Republicans might be the one whopper too big; the country wouldn’t swallow it. Whatever happens when the health care exchanges open Tuesday, the “honor” and the fault will be his alone.



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