Considering the news on the massive, unpopular health care law this week, it’s pretty amazing how out of touch Democrats and the Obama administration are when they talk about the fallout from and reactions to their health care overhaul.
Today, the trustees of Medicare are set to release a report on that program’s future solvency. President Obama and members of his administration have been repeatedly claiming that Medicare’s solvency has been extended by their health care bill, thanks to “savings” in the program. But in fact these savings are being spent on the massive expansion of government health care that the bill features. On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held a conference call to tout that claim, despite reports from both CBO and CMS saying they can’t count the money for both things. Indeed, the AP writes today, “[D]espite assertions to the contrary by the Obama administration, the new health care law doesn’t improve Medicare’s solvency by much. . . . An April 22 analysis pointed out that the highly touted gain of 12 years of additional solvency for Medicare from the health overhaul is largely an ‘appearance,’ stemming from how Medicare cuts are handled under federal accounting rules. Savings from those cuts would be used to finance coverage for the uninsured. ‘In practice, the improved (Medicare) financing cannot be simultaneously used to finance other federal outlays (such as the coverage expansions) and to extend the trust fund, despite the appearance of this result from the respective accounting conventions,’ the report said.”
And The Wall Street Journal editors note, “Earlier this week, the Congressional Research Service reported that the new bureaucracy the bill created is so complex and indiscriminate that its size is ‘currently unknowable.’ Capitol Hill’s independent policy arm added that among ‘the dozens of new governmental organizations or advisory bodies,’ it is ‘impossible to know how much influence they will ultimately have.’” This is in spite of assurances by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) during debate on the health care bill that “this bill does not increase government.”
These kinds of things are precisely why Americans continue to not believe the Obama administration and Democrats when they try to sell their boondoggle of a health care overhaul and why voters are rejecting it every chance they get, as they did in Missouri by three-to-one on Tuesday. As The Wall Street Journal editorial puts it, “No wonder Missourians rebelled, as with voters in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia last year.” Of course, the WSJ editors point out, “[t]his is another resounding health-care rebuke to the White House and Democrats, not that overwhelming public opposition to this expansion of government power ever deterred them before.”
The responses from many Democrats to Missouri’s referendum on the individual mandate illustrate just how obtuse they remain to the outrage of ordinary Americans about their health care legislation. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the referendum was “of no legal significance.” According to The Hill, “Asked what it means that voters in Missouri would vote against the federal mandate, Gibbs said: ‘Nothing.’”
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats might have been even worse with their takes. Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill told state reporters on a conference call yesterday, “I certainly noticed the vote on Prop C, the healthcare law, and: message received.” But apparently she didn’t get that message very clearly, as she went on to say, “I know that there’s a lot of work we need to do on not just the provisions of the law, but most importantly making sure everyone knows what’s in the law. And I can only be hopeful that as time goes on, more and more people realize the positive things that are in the bill.” So McCaskill thinks it’s only because people don’t know what’s in Democrats’ 2,800-page bill that they do like it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a similar response at a press conference yesterday. The Wall Street Journal reported, “[H]is main argument was that people will like the law better the more they see its benefits. ‘It’s very obvious that people have a lack of understanding of our health care reform bill,’ Reid said. ‘The more people learn about this bill, the more they like it.’”
But it’s become quite clear that Americans know precisely what’s in the health care bill: a mandate requiring people to purchase insurance, cuts to Medicare, higher health care costs, higher premiums, lost coverage, higher taxes, lost jobs, and ever more spending. That’s why Americans rejected Democrats’ health care takeover, and that’s why they continue to oppose it. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday, “Throughout the health care debate, Republicans heard the concerns of our constituents and insisted on the kind of commonsense solutions they were asking for, solutions that would actually do something to lower the cost of care. Democrats preferred to do their own thing. They said let’s raise taxes and cut Medicare to expand government, and then try to convince people it was in their best interests.” Yet the response from Democrats is that Americans don’t know enough to judge this flawed health care bill. The American people watched the debate and have seen the subsequent reports on how none of the major promises made about this health care bill can be kept. And they simply oppose this law.
From the Communications Center
Around the Hill