December 3 2013
There’s a new ObamaCare meme: “ObamaCare is here to stay,” writes Dana Milbank. “ObamaCare still alive,” observes Jonathan Chait, who believes that the website is “headed in the right direction,” though he doesn’t really say how far it has advanced toward a respectable destination.
Also an ObamaCare optimist, Paul Krugman blogs that “the facts on the ground are getting better by the day, and Obamacare will turn into a Benghazi-type affair where Republicans are screaming about a scandal nobody else cares about.” (See David Freddoso on why the Benghazi analogy might not work.)
But this is how supporters of ObamaCare have always operated: ignore inconvenient flecks of reality. Democrats believed that once they rammed the unread legislation through Congress, using novel procedures and smelly deals, without a a single vote from the other party, they could present it as “the law of the land,” unchangeable and unalterable--because of course, as everybody knows, laws can never be changed.
This is still the strategy: hold on to the notion that ObamaCare is a fait accompli that cannot be reversed. Megan McArdle writes that the new goal is just to hang on until 2015 because Democrats believe that if ObamaCare can hang in there until then, it's never going to be repealed:
A program that survives until 2015 can hopefully be fixed. A program that is fatally damaged by Democratic or insurer defections definitely can’t. The question is whether the public will embrace this new way of measuring the program’s success … and what happens if it doesn't.
But here’s the problem with the hold-on plan: ObamaCare is now confronting something that can only be denied with great effort: reality. If you saw Megyn Kelly’s interview last night with squirming Obama insider Ben LaBolt, you know how difficult it is to deny the reality about the president’s massive health care overhaul.
We're familiar with the unpleasant reality that people trying to buy health insurance on the government website face. But ABC News reports on a heretofore unnoticed big of ugly reality:
Moody’s, an agency that rates business’ credit worthiness, warned today that the Obama administration’s constantly changing rules and deadlines for the Affordable Care Act could negatively impact business for health insurance companies.
In the last few weeks, the Obama administration has changed the rules to let people keep their existing health insurance longer, delayed the open enrollment period for 2015 by one month, and extended the 2013 deadline for when individuals would have to enroll in order have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014.
All of those, Moody’s warned in their bi-weekly credit outlook statement today, are “credit negative” for health insurance companies and could “expose the sector to additional financial and operational risks.”
So what we have is meme vs. reality. Still, the GOP should take note: ObamaCare retains enormous support among progressives and pundits (but I repeat myself). They may not be reality-based but they sure as hell are determined. If ObamaCare is to fall, this will require astute leadership on the part of a party that sometimes snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. But this can be the GOP moment.