“During the government shutdown, Barack Obama held fast, heroically refusing to give an inch to the hostage-taking, barbaric orcs of the Tea Party who insisted on delaying Obamacare. It was a triumph for the master strategist in the White House, who finally maneuvered the Republicans into revealing their extremism. But we didn’t know something back then: Obama desperately needed a delay of Healthcare.gov. In his arrogance, though, he couldn’t bring himself to admit it. The other possibility is that he is such an incompetent manager, who has cultivated such a culture of yes-men, that he was completely in the dark about the problems. That’s the reigning storyline right now from the White House. Obama was betrayed. ‘If I had known,’ he told his staff, ‘we could have delayed the website.’
“This is how you know we’re in the political sweet spot: when the only plausible excuses for the administration are equally disastrous indictments.
“In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it took about five minutes for liberals to cast the chaos and confusion of the disaster as a searing indictment of not just the Bush administration but of conservatism itself. Whatever the merits of that argument (and there are not many), Katrina was at least a surprise. The October 1 deadline for Obamacare was set by Obama’s own administration years ago — and it caught them completely off guard. The president may now claim that he knew nothing, but he must have wondered why Henry Chao, Healthcare.gov’s chief project manager, set the bar of success at sea level last March: ‘Let’s just make sure it’s not a Third World experience.’ At this point, it could only be more of a Third World experience if Healthcare.gov required enrollees to pay with chickens.” —Jonah Goldberg, Obamacare Schadenfreudarama
“The most troubling provision in Obamacare’s Section 1311 gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services blanket authority to control how doctors and hospitals treat patients. [...] What that means for you is that if you enroll in an exchange plan, with or without getting a subsidy, your care will be standardized by the federal government with an eye to reducing what you consume and how much it costs. Your doctor may have to choose between doing what’s right for you and avoiding a penalty. Exchange plans can pay only those doctors who obey whatever regulations the secretary imposes.
“Yet the president claims that people losing their health plans and having to sign up on the exchanges will be getting a better deal. Losing your doctor, blind shopping for a health plan, and settling for Medicaid-level care and government controls, all for a premium 41 percent higher than before with a deductible that’s doubled that sounds substandard to me. — Betsy McCaughey, The President’s New Lie
“Despite some navigators having already been exposed as having arrest warrants against them, the Department of Health and Human Services has no plans to screen out the criminals. [...] In addition to convicted felons, navigators are drawn from labor unions, community organizers, former ACORN staffers and front-groups for the Democratic National Committee.
“Call right up and give all your private financial and medical information to those guys! What could go wrong? (Before Obamacare was even online, Minnesota’s health exchange emailed the Social Security numbers and other identifying information for about 2,400 Americans to a man applying to be a “navigator.”)
“If you call today, you can sign up for Obamacare plus learn about a Nigerian prince in exile who’s willing to share his vast inheritance with you in exchange for your bank account numbers.” — Ann Coulter, To Speak to a Nigerian Prince about Your Health Care, Press ‘1’ Now
“One of the most disturbing aspects of this entire affair is the stench of lawlessness that surrounds it like a miasma. President Obama carps impatiently that he will simply direct insurance companies to reinstate the policies that they, in an effort to follow the law, have been required to cancel. He says that he will direct that application of the law be delayed a year — but he says nothing about where he is supposed to get the authority for such actions. The president’s response to the embarrassment of the eponymous legislation he shoved down the throats of the American people is one of the most disturbing occurrences of his administration. Since Magna Carta in 1215, a test of legitimacy has been the extent to which the sovereign is subject to the laws of the land. Obama is not a sovereign, exactly, but he acts as though he were above the law, that the law (like taxes) were something to be imposed on the rest of us but which he and his magic circle of apparatchiks could ignore or delay or partially implement at their pleasure. The law is binding upon us little people, and upon insurance companies, which would be severely penalized should they fail to abide the provisions of that intricate legislation.
“I suspect that one of the reasons Obama’s approval rating is in free fall is because of his obvious surprise and petulance in his public encounters over the disaster of Obamacare. He has made some grudging half apologies, but it is clear that the only thing he is sorry about is that he cannot — not yet, anyway — simply decree what happens with health care in this country. He believes himself above the law and is impatient about finding a means of achieving that discretion. For our own good, of course. Many observers on the Right have long known this about Obama. Suddenly, though, it is out there for all to see. The American people don’t like tyrants, even smooth-talking, Harvard-educated ones. The great trek away from Obama and what he stands for — above all, government unlimited — has begun.” —Roger Kimball, Obama and the Limits of Schadenfreude
“Having ordered America’s insurance companies to comply with Obamacare, the president announced that he is now ordering them not to comply with Obamacare. The legislative branch (as it’s still quaintly known) passed a law purporting to grandfather your existing health plan. The regulatory bureaucracy then interpreted the law so as to un-grandfather your health plan. So His Most Excellent Majesty has commanded that your health plan be de-un-grandfathered. That seems likely to work. The insurance industry had three years to prepare for the introduction of Obamacare. Now the King has given them six weeks to de-introduce Obamacare. …
“Later that day, anxious to help him out, Congress offered to ‘pass’ a ‘law’ allowing people to keep their health plans. The same president who had unilaterally commanded that people be allowed to keep their health plans indignantly threatened to veto any such law to that effect: It only counts if he does it — geddit? As his court eunuchs at the Associated Press obligingly put it: ‘Obama Will Allow Old Plans.’ It’s Barry’s world; we just live in it. …
“The most telling line, the one that encapsulates the gulf between the boundless fantasies of the faculty-lounge utopian and the messiness of reality, was this: ‘What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.’ Gee, thanks for sharing, genius. Maybe you should have thought of that before you governmentalized one-sixth of the economy. By ‘we,’ the president means ‘I.’ Out here in the ruder provinces of his decrepit realm, we ‘folks’ are well aware of how complicated insurance is. What isn’t complicated in the Sultanate of Sclerosis? But, as with so many other things, Obama always gives the vague impression that routine features of humdrum human existence are entirely alien to him. Marie Antoinette, informed that the peasantry could no longer afford bread, is alleged to have responded, ‘Let them eat cake.’ There is no evidence these words ever passed her lips, but certainly no one ever accused her of saying, ‘If you like your cake, you can keep your cake,’ and then having to walk it back with ‘What we’re also discovering is that cake is complicated to buy.’ That contribution to the annals of monarchical unworldliness had to await the reign of Queen Barry Antoinette, whose powdered wig seems to have slipped over his eyes. —Mark Steyn, Thus Spake Obama
“Unable to deny that millions of Americans have lost the coverage he vowed they could keep, Obama and other Democrats are now peddling what we might call the ‘5 percent’ con job. The president asserts that these victims, whom he feels so terribly about, nevertheless constitute a tiny, insignificant minority in the greater scheme of things … They are limited, he maintains, to consumers in the individual health-insurance market, as opposed to the vastly greater number of Americans who get insurance through their employers. According to Obama, these individual-market consumers whose policies are being canceled make up only 5 percent of all health-insurance consumers.
“Even this 5 percent figure is a deception. As Avik Roy points out, the individual market actually accounts for 8 percent of health-insurance consumers. Obama can’t help himself: He even minimizes his minimizations. So, if Obama were telling the truth in rationalizing that his broken promises affect only consumers in the individual-insurance market, we’d still be talking about up to 25 million Americans. While the president shrugs these victims off, 25 million exceeds the number of Americans who do not have health insurance because of poverty or preexisting conditions (as opposed to those who could, but choose not to, purchase insurance). Of course, far from cavalierly shrugging off that smaller number of people, Obama and Democrats used them to justify nationalizing a sixth of the U.S. economy.” —Andrew McCarthy, Obama’s ‘Five Percent’ Con Job
“When people, even now, go on TV and defend Obama by trying to spin ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period! If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period!’ into statements full of ellipses and qualifiers, they remind me in an odd way of the devoutly religious. As those folks see it, if something good happens, it’s because of God. But when something terrible – such as the Holocaust or childhood leukemia – occurs, they explain that God moves in mysterious ways, and we mere mortals can’t hope to divine His motives.
“Well, okay, He’s God, and if He created the heavens, the stars, the earth and all of its inhabitants, including dogs, elephants and giraffes, it might be expedient to cut Him some slack. But when we’re talking about an arrogant narcissist whose major achievement was being a shill for ACORN, which is a lot like being a union organizer but without the requisite muscle, why would anyone fawn over this lying jackass?” —Burt Prelutsky, The United States of Obama
“Obama’s admirers may offer him credit for seeking to do good, but at what price? The Hippocratic oath for physicians should also apply to leaders: First, do no harm. The entire health care system now trembles with uncertainty because Obama imposed his vision of ‘fundamental transformation’ on a reluctant nation.
“Even assuming that Obama had the best motives – a desire to see the uninsured covered – his greed to control and regulate the entire health care system revealed a man without wisdom or prudence. He didn’t realize buying health insurance was so complicated, he explained on Thursday. Anyone who’d even run a Kinko’s would know better. He didn’t keep tabs on those tasked with creating this massive, hydra-headed system. Perhaps he thought there were no problems in the world that wouldn’t yield to another Obama speech.
“C.S. Lewis warned of soft despots: ‘Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.’” —Mona Charen, Obama’s Soft Despotism
“Incredibly, government officials told the Washington Post Sunday that the Obama administration will label the federal insurance marketplace a ‘success’ if 80 percent of its users can buy plans online. The Post notes that number is ‘an internal target that administration officials have not made public.’ No doubt they’re waiting for November 30, when the Healthcare.gov website is expected to be fully functional. Thus, much like the dishonest signup numbers released last week that counted those with policies in their virtual shopping carts as fully enrolled in a plan, a ‘successful’ website will be defined as one which leaves one-in-five Americans in limbo.
“Add to the mix scam websites and navigators, thousands of doctors being dropped from plans that can no long afford them, a dearth of signups by younger, healthier patients critically necessary for ObamaCare’s survival, and a series of devastating poll numbers regarding both the president and his so-called ‘signature achievement,’ and it becomes clear that the president’s ‘fix’ is about nothing other than fixing his political fortunes and those of his party.
“Furthermore, Democrats’ lack of faith in Obama’s efforts to undo the damage is reflected in the 39 House Democrats who supported a bill sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) aimed at reversing the insurance cancellations, and the one sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). …
“All in all, ObamaCare remains what it has always been: an unmitigated disaster, enabled by an avalanche of lies and a conspiracy of silence by Obama administration officials and Democratic representatives. Obama’s “fix” can’t negate that reality. —Arnold Ahlert, ObamaCare Fix as Bad as ObamaCare Itself
“Fox News points out that student health insurance has been absolutely devastated by the Affordable Care Act. It’s a form of popular, affordable insurance that is essentially ceasing to exist. Bowie State University in Maryland canceled all 5,500 of its policies after watching the cost of a plan skyrocket from $100 per year to $1,800 per year, thanks to ObamaCare mandates. Universities in North Carolina, Iowa, and Washington State also reported premium increases of over 1,000 percent. Bethany College in Kansas canceled all of its policies after their premiums quadrupled from $445 to over $2,000. New Jersey colleges saw their premiums triple.
“The young voters who put Obama over the top in his two elections feel understandably betrayed. ‘We don’t have that money. We can barely afford books,’ one student is quoted complaining in the Fox News story. Chin up, little kulak! Barack Obama knows what’s best for you. Weren’t you listening when he said, ‘If I like your plan, you might be able to keep your plan?’ —John Hayward, Obamacare Bummer Update
“Obamacare was promoted as a program that would not only right those wrongs, but that would create no losers at all. This was always an absurdity, as anyone with a modicum of math knowledge would know. But those were the promises explicitly made by Obama and the Democrats: everyone would save money, no one would lose doctors or hospitals or health plans, the sick and unemployed would be covered, and it would save us all money — except for the very, very, very rich, whose taxes would be raised.
“Well, it hasn’t quite turned out that way. The old system had winners and losers, and so does the new one. But they are a very different set of winners and losers. You might say that Obamacare turns the old system on its head, and it’s not just the very rich who are penalized, it’s the solidly middle class and upper middle class. Not only did those groups not bargain for this, they were explicitly promised it would not happen.
“But even without the broken promises, there’s another problem with the inequities of Obamacare: they do not flow from anything we recognize as natural consequences, because they are imposed by a government that has made the decision as to who will be the winners and who will be the losers. The dirty little secret of Obamacare (that was never really a secret) is out: it is the most redistributive entitlement program in U.S. history.” —Jean Kaufman, The Real Beneficiaries and Victims of Obamacare
“Our president got his legacy program passed by deceiving the American people in a giant swindle. Not only have millions lost their health care plans, tens of millions more may lose theirs at year’s end when they learn that their employer’s health care plans also do not meet Obamacare mandates.
“Hillarycare cost the Democrats the House in 1994. Obamacare, the love child of Hillarycare, could cost Democrats the Senate in 2014.
“But what makes this a disaster not just for a party but a philosophy is that Obamacare is liberalism incarnate. It is premised on the idea that progressives, starting from scratch, can redesign a health care system, 16 percent of the economy, and make it more fair, more just and more efficient for us all. Obamacare was an act of hubris by an administration of talking heads most of whom never ran anything in their lives. And what we are witnessing is the antithesis of what we were promised. …
“The crisis for Obama, his party, and his philosophy is that this is not only a nightly national story; it is a daily story in every state. And the anecdotes of debacles have been piling up, one upon another, for seven weeks. They do not cease, and there is no end in sight.
“Nothing, it appears, will interrupt the litany of personal woes before Democrats, in panic, cut themselves loose of Obamacare and try to swim away from the Lusitania. It will likely be a long time before another Democratic president dares again another such Great Leap Forward.” —Pat Buchanan, Will Obamacare Be the Death of Liberalism?
“Whether the president knew the truth and lied, or the White House (citing the fear of causing ‘drama’) kept it from him, or he simply didn’t ask the questions in order to proclaim a plausible deniability later, I don’t know. What we do know is that President Obama, as Jake Tapper recently reminded people on Twitter, has no problem telling people that they are going to have to change their ways for the greater good, when it came to health care. So much for individual freedoms.
“There are also growing concerns that this entire fiasco with the Healthcare.gov site was a calculated scheme to eventually push the United States into a single-payer system. Certainly, the left believes that this is the solution, after the abject failure of the roll-out. The president himself said that he wasn’t ‘stupid enough‘ to go out and keep promoting Obamacare if he had known that the website was not functional. Maybe he wasn’t that stupid. Maybe he knew about it and kept pushing it anyway. Maybe he continually lied to the American public in order to pass a law that he wanted, in order to reshape this country into the model of ‘fairness’ that he idealizes in western Europe. …
“I am not in a position to judge the president’s intent, because I can’t read his mind or his motives. All any of us can do is judge him by his actions, and what we believe that he believes. And we have the right to judge him, because he is supposed to be accountable to us, the American public.” —Deanna Fisher, The Obama Trilemma – Ego, Evil, or Idiot
“The reaction to the incompetence, arrogance and deception has ranged from ridicule to anger. But more is in jeopardy than just panicked congressional Democrats. This is the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency, the embodiment of his new entitlement-state liberalism. If Obamacare goes down, there will be little left of its underlying ideology.
“Perhaps it won’t go down. Perhaps the web portal hums beautifully on Nov. 30. Perhaps they’ll find a way to restore the canceled policies without wrecking the financial underpinning of the exchanges. … The more likely scenario, however, is that Obamacare does fail. It either fails politically, renounced by a wide consensus that includes a growing number of Democrats. Or it succumbs to the financial complications (the insurance ‘death spiral’) of the very amendments desperately tacked on to save it.
“If it does fail, the effect will be historic. Obamacare will take down with it more than Mary Landrieu and Co. It will discredit Obama’s new liberalism for years to come.” —Charles Krauthammer, Why Liberals Are Panicked About Obamacare
“It is possible to let people keep their current insurance, but only by unraveling a key element of Obamacare. To make the law work, people in the individual insurance market content with their current coverage have to be forced out of their plans and onto the exchanges. That’s the only way to ensure the exchanges aren’t overwhelmed by older and less healthy consumers.
“The president couldn’t be honest about this at time of the law’s passage and still can’t be honest about it. The White House acts as though it is doing the people whose insurance is getting canceled a favor by protecting them from ‘substandard’ policies, rather than admitting that it is asking them to make a sacrifice.
“The great engine of the welfare state is the hidden cost. Usually, the costs of a new program or regulation are too diffuse or distant to matter much politically in comparison to the promise of a direct benefit. This time, the costs aren’t hidden. They are immediate and concrete in the canceled policies and the higher premiums, and they are making the politics of Obamacare toxic.
“The Obama administration clearly hopes it can brazen it out. It came up with a date for fixing the website, Nov. 30, so it could have a date to use to hold off the dogs, for now. It will come up with some sort of administrative ‘fix’ to the problem of cancellations so it can have something it can call a fix and try to use to stop Democratic defections. Its strategy is always based, at bottom, on spin and muddling through. …
“You know it’s a hell of a predicament, though, when Bill Clinton thinks keeping your word is the only way out.” —Rich Lowry, The Obamacare Lie That Can’t Be Fixed
For further enlightenment:
The Most Shocking Obamacare Revelation, by Walter Russell Mead
Obamacare and the Lowest Common Denominator, by John Hayward
Remembering Stanley Ann Dunham Obama, by Mona Charen
Was Benghazi Not Enough? Obama Should Resign over Obamacare, by Roger L. Simon
Would You Like a Happy Ending? by Stilton Jarsberg
Second Wave of Health Plan Cancellations Looms, by Guy Benson
HHS Lied about “Anonymous Shopper” Delay in Healthcare.gov, by Ed Morrissey
Older Hill Aides Shocked by Obamacare Prices, by Jonathan Allen and Jennifer Haberkorn
Obama in the Dark on Healthcare.gov, by Jonah Goldberg
White House Edging Away from “Keep Your Doctor” Promise, by Mary Katherine Ham
The Lawlessness of the ‘Fix’, by Andrew McCarthy
Obamacare Kills a Million Plans, by John Hayward
The Myth of the “80% Unaffected by Obamacare,” by Jazz Shaw
Ron Johnson Told You So, by Christian Schneider
Poll: Obamacare is Destroying President Obama’s Second Term, by Bryan Preston
Videos for folks with time on their hands: