Hey Republicans, before you get too smug about "Obama Dentata", you might want to remember...
Yes, Republicans are gleeful about having a new pet issue to attack the ACA with. And yes, this one was indeed either a really, really stupid screw-up or purposeful fudging, depending on whether you believe the official explanation or not.
However, before you get too cocky, let's go down memory lane again, shall we?
- 1. October 2013: "No one can enroll!!"
- (ok, this one is a gimme; the technical mess at HC.gov and some of the state exchanges did make it almost impossible for anyone to sign up the first month.)
- 2. November 2013: "No one will enroll!!"
- ...which was clearly already being proven wrong by the time Thanksgiving rolled around.
- 3. December 2013: "Hah! They'll never break a million!!"
- ...that is, until the Christmas/New Years spike, which brought the total enrollee figure up to over 2.1 million.
- 4. January 2014: "OMG!! 5 GAZILLION POLICIES WERE CANCELLED!!"
- ...which actually turned out to be only around 1-2 million people at most, the vast majority of which (including myself) simply swapped out their old policies for new ones.
- 5. February 2014: "Well...there's no way they're gonna hit the 7 million mark!!"
- ...except that by the end of February the total had hit 4.2 million. The final total, of course, would prove to be 8.02 million by 4/19 (and around 9.2 million total by Labor Day)
- 6. March 2014: "But...but how many of them have paid??"
- ...well, this seemed a wee bit early to be asking that question considering that the policies for over 52% of the eventual enrollees wouldn't even take effect until April or May, but in the end the answer turned out to be around 88%.
- 7. April 2014: "OK...But how many of them were already insured??"
- ...around 43%, as it would eventually turn out, which is even lower than the 50% I had estimated.
- 8. May/June 2014: "Rate Shock!! Premiums will shoot through the roof in the 2nd year!!"
- Um...no, actually. More like 7% on average, give or take...which is actually lower than the 10-11% per year that came before the ACA.
- 9. July/August 2014: "ATTRITION!! People are fleeing Obamacare by the millions!!"
Hmmm...OK, time for an update on these.
- As I said at the time, #1 was accurate...until mid-November. This year pretty much all of the websites appear to be doing dandy, even the ones which sucked last year.
- #4 turned out to only be about 1.5 million at most, although another few million may end up having to be replaced this year or next. That didn't stop Pat Roberts from flat-out lying about the number in Kansas, of course.
- #'s 5 and 9, of course (along with #2 & 3 to a lesser degree), are the main focus of today's circus. The ACA exchanges did hit, and break 7 million paying enrollees. The fact that this number eventually drifted down to around 6.7 million last month doesn't change the fact that it was still at about 7 million as of August 15th (some 4 months later). That's exactly why the CBO downshifted their 2014 projection from 7 million to 6, which is still being easily beaten by a 12% margin.
- #6 Was so full of crap that it took 2 separate posts to debunk fall of it. I had plenty of fun with that one.
- #7 Was the subject of my first true "rant" post, in which I took on Avik Roy for the first time.
- #8 is (overall) turning out to be even better: Just 5.6% on average.
How about looking at something a bit more recent, like, say, Mitch McConnell's insane Senate debate garbage about kynect, in which he flat-out lied about the ACA at least 13 times in a 5 minute period.
Or perhaps right here at home, where numerous GOP candidates lied over and over about the connection between Medicaid expansion and the ACA?
And then there were the couple-dozen Koch Bros-financed attack ads which were proven, one by one, to be either flat-out lies or grossly exaggerated, to the point that they actually stopped running them.
And finally, New Rule: Now that there's been an uproar over all the neocons who liedabout the Iraq War with no consequences, someone must tell me why there isn't a similar uproar over all the Republicans who lied about Obamacare with no consequences. (audience applause) It's been four years since the bill passed. Has anybody come across even one death panel? The next liberal to tell a Republican, "you're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts", should really just admit they've never seen Fox News. (audience cheering and applause)
Now, look, I get it that neither party has a monopoly on lying, and in fact they all do it so often, they've invented their own word for it — "I misspoke". But how come the rule for one party — the Republican Party — is that when they get caught in a lie, they don't have to stop telling it?
- They said Obamacare would use death panels. It doesn't.
- They said it was a government takeover, and the insurance industry is making record profits.
- They said it covered illegals. It doesn't.
- They said it was a job killer. It hasn't been.
They said there were elves who bake cookies in trees. Well, almost. (audience laughter and applause)
Now for sure, Obama also told a lie when he said everybody who likes their health care plan can keep it. And for about 2% of the population, that did turn out to be false. The difference is, he stopped saying it! He stepped up and said, you're right, my bad, because he understands there's this thing called observable reality. (audience applause)
But on the Republican side, observable reality needs more study. (audience laughter) Which is why their talking points that have been disproven, remain! Like a guest who's been asked to leave a party, but does not.
It reminds me of a horror movie where you think you've killed the lie, but it won't stay dead. Which is why I call them zombie lies. (thunder crackles and camera shakes)
So yes, the HHS Dept. made a huge mistake (ie, either an honest one or the mistake of thinking they wouldn't get busted).
And yes, I'm genuinely pissed off about it.
But that mistake (or possibly deliberate lie) was made in the process of reducing the uninsured population in the country by 11 million people or more, whereas your lies (absolutely deliberate) were done in the process of tryng to stop 11 million+ people from receiving healthcare.
Does that justify being dishonest (or, if you believe the official explanation, terribly sloppy)? No. I've already read the riot act to the HHS Dept. today, and stand by every word. They screwed up bigtime and deserved to be called out for it.
But it doesn't give you the right to act morally superior either, especially given that up to 45,000 people were dying every year due to lack of health insurance prior to the ACA.