Another day brings another federal report that President Obama’s “reset” button on health care really translates into an “overcharge.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, a new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary “predicts that 65% of small businesses [covering 11 million people] will see their health-insurance premiums increase under part of the Affordable Care Act.”
Naturally, the Obama administration disputes the accuracy of this forecast, just as it has disputed the accuracy of forecasts by the Congressional Budget Office such as these:
- That the president’s signature health care legislation will cost at least $800 billion more than originally predicted.
- That “virtually as many Americans will lack health coverage in 10 years as before the law was passed — but 2 million fewer will be working than if the law hadn’t passed.” And, “As a result of the ACA, between 6 million and 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance coverage each year from 2016 through 2024 than would be the case in the absence of the ACA.”
- That rather than cutting “the cost of the typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year, health insurance premiums are actually expected to increase by up to 10 to 13 percent.”
- That ObamaCare will account for more than half the increase in government spending over the next 10 years and that “mandatory spending on health care will increase by 74 percent from 4.6 percent of GDP today to 8.0 percent of GDP over the next 25 years.”
What we are seeing with ObamaCare is a re-enactment of the political theater we saw when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a gag gift: “a red plastic button on a black base with a Russian word “peregruzka” printed on top,” as Politico reported in March of 2009.
The joke was supposed to be that “peregruzka” in English translated as “reset,” signifying a “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations. However, here is what Politico observed happened next:
“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said, to Clinton’s clear surprise. Instead of "reset," he said, the word on the box meant “overcharge.” Clinton and Lavrov guffawed. “We won’t let you do that to us,” she said.
Does political irony come any richer than that?
Hillary Clinton, the mother of a failed attempt at instituting nationalized health care, created with her botched “reset” joke a metaphor that today extends to two of the worst fiascos of President Obama’s tenure in office: the botched “reset” of nationalized health care and the botched “reset” of U.S.-Russia relations.
Clinton’s remark that “We won’t let you do that to us” rings as false as Obama’s promises that "If you like your doctor or health care provider, you can keep them. If you like your health care plan, you can keep that too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold."
Meantime, Russia -- in Syria, Iran, Ukraine and elsewhere -- shows the “reset” of its relations with the U.S. amounts to political theater turning into tragedy.
And the illusion of “reset” against the reality of “overcharge” extends to so many other promises Obama made just before his election in 2008, when he said, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
As Victor Davis Hanson wrote, Obama has certainly fundamentally transformed the United States of America in these ways:
“We are $6 trillion more deeply in debt. And there are record numbers of Americans on food stamps, unemployment insurance, and disability insurance, or simply disengaged from the work force. We have the worst of both worlds: high taxes on job creators, along with continuing huge deficits. We live in an age when a president can arbitrarily nullify a law, like ObamaCare’s employer mandate; ignore it, like the Defense of Marriage Act; or simply create it, as with partial blanket amnesties. Various wars — on coal, guns, non-union businesses, and political opponents — are waged by executive action.”
Add to this the scandals of Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, various attempts to squelch or manipulate the news media — and more.
Sadly, rather than providing America with a “reset” to embrace, Obama’s presidency has burdened us with an “overcharge” of costs in many areas. Is this the price we’re willing to pay for the fundamental transformation of the United States?
In the 2014 and 2016 elections, we have a chance to hit the “reset” button.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.