With news that the Affordable Care Act has hit 7 million sign-ups, it appears likely -- no matter how much some Republicans don't want to admit it -- that the law is on the road to success. Now seems like as good a time as any to revisit those past predictions of disaster. Below, some of the greatest (worst) Obamacare hits:
Healthcare.gov Can't Be Fixed -- Writing in The Hill on Oct. 30, 2013, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) declared that the website, which failed to work for the vast majority of consumers when it went live on Oct. 1, should be scrapped altogether. Furthermore, he recommended that President Barack Obama delay the individual mandate, the most important part of the health care law, until the technical problems were sorted out.Choice excerpt:
"This may be the most stunning example of overpromising and under delivering in recent U.S history. Based on my review, the problems with the Healthcare.gov website are catastrophic."
In real life: The website was functioning smoothly by December.
The Administration Won't Hit Its Sign-Up Target -- According to a March 11, 2014, article from the Associated Press, "the White House needs something close to a miracle to meet its goal of enrolling 6 million people by the end of this month."Choice excerpt:
"With open enrollment ending March 31, that means to meet the goal, another 1.8 million people would have to sign up during the month, an average of about 60,000 a day. That's way above the daily averages for January and February, which have ranged between 33,000 and 34,000. The math seems to be going against the administration."
In real life: Do you believe in miracles?
The Law Is Unworkable -- With Healthcare.gov still hobbled in mid-November, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a press conference that there was no way to fix "the government taking control of our entire health care insurance market."Choice excerpt:
“When you step back and look at the totality of this, I don’t think it’s ever going to work. There are all types of health insurance policies out there based on your financial circumstances and how much risk you’re willing to take, and so the idea that the federal government should come in and create a one-size-fits-all for the entire country never was going to work."
In real life: He was wrong.
The Exchanges Will Be A Disaster -- Bill Kristol, who is famously always wrong, wrote in his Weekly Standard last August that the health care exchanges, which he called "the beating heart of Obamacare," would be a complete nightmare.Choice excerpt:
"If the exchanges are permitted to go into effect ... there will be error, fraud, inefficiency, arbitrariness, and privacy violations aplenty. ... Just as economic shortages were endemic to Soviet central planning, the coming Obamacare train wreck is endemic to big government liberalism. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature."
In real life: Okay, there were technological problems at the start, and the state websites run by Oregon, Maryland, and Massachusetts are still struggling. But overall the exchanges are now doing just fine.
The Law Will Be Repealed In Advance Of The Midterm Elections -- Writing in Forbes in November, conservative professor Steven F. Hayward made a bold call: The Affordable Care Act would be no more by mid-2014. The political fallout, he predicted, would simply be too much for Democrats to bear, and they, not Republicans, would lead the charge to scrap the law.Choice excerpt:
"With the political damage guaranteed to continue, the momentum toward repeal will be unstoppable. Democrats will not want to face the voters next November with the albatross of Obamacare."
In real life: Democrats facing tough reelection battles did try to water down the law, but repeal was never close to happening.
Uninsured People Aren't Signing Up, So The Law Can't Work -- Less than a month ago, Commentary's John Podhoretz wrote that, given a Washington Post survey finding that only 1 in 10 people who were previously uninsured had signed up for Obamacare, the law's entire rationale had been destroyed.Choice excerpt:
"They have thrown the entire health-care system into unprecedented chaos for a population that is, it seems, staying as far away from it as possible. Little has been fixed; much has been made far worse; nothing makes sense; and good luck to the Democrats who have to defend their votes for this colossal cock-up in November."
In real life: PolitiFact rated as "mostly false" a similar claim made by National Review's Rich Lowry, who relied in part on the same (inconclusive) data as Podhoretz did. PolitiFact concluded, "The fact is, we have no clear data and to say most of the people already had insurance sidesteps an information gap."
Obamacare May Be Obama's Katrina And Iraq -- In November, National Journal's Ron Fournier compared Obama's handling of Obamacare with President George W. Bush's struggles over the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina.Choice excerpt:
"[T]here are inescapable similarities in the ways that Bush and Obama handled their crises, and those actions changed the public's view of their presidencies. Specifically:
Their mismanagement raised questions about competence, compounded by deceptive and tone-deaf responses that undermined their credibility.
The crises came after a series of unrelated events that had already caused doubt among voters about the presidents. To borrow a cliché, Katrina was the last straw.
Their personal and job-approval ratings tanked.
Their dwindling political capital was squandered by defensive, insular advisers who refused to recognize the dangers.
They both ran reelection campaigns without a positive forward-looking message and made the races primarily about their opponent. That left them little political capital going into their second term.
Bush never recovered. Obama might still have time to learn history's hard lessons."
In real life: Support for Obamacare appears to be rising.