This could be a hunch, but I suspect vulnerable Congressional Democrats are going to regret Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid having kicked off the 2014 midterm season by declaring his party’s campaign slogan to be “All Obamacare Victims Are Liars.”
Last week, after regaling his colleagues with the glories of Obamacare, Reid warned, “Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America. Those tales turned out to be just that—tales, stories made up from whole cloth.”
Reid is far from the only liberal claiming Obamacare victims are an urban myth. Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times reporter Michael Hiltzik mused, “Maybe there are no genuine Obamacare horror stories.” Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum demanded, “Has anyone in America actually been harmed by Obamacare?” The ever-certifiable Paul Krugman decried “Health Care Horror Hooey.”
Yet according to a recent Rasmussen survey, one third of Americans report that they personally have been hurt by Obamacare. Projecting to the entire U.S. population, that’s an awful lot of liars.
Can we reflect for a moment on the insanity of Reid’s claim? Supporting Obamacare because you believe it will help the needy, even if the middle class and well-off will suffer, is one thing. And downplaying the cost of redistributing wealth through government subsidies is Democratic boilerplate. But claiming that there is literally no downside to a law this big and complicated, that not one single person will be adversely affected by it, is borderline demented.
Consider the circles of hell Obamacare victims have wandered through in the past six months:
- Millions have lost their health care plans
- Many haven’t been able to find equivalent coverage due to higher premiums or deductibles
- Some with life-threatening illnesses have lost their doctors or hospitals and watched their conditions worsen due to discontinuity of care
- Millions have had to waste hours, days, or weeks scouring poky online exchanges to replace something they already had
- Many are being forced to buy coverage for things they don’t need
- Many who didn’t lose coverage are watching their premiums increase
- Employees are having their hours cut or losing their jobs
- The eventual enforcement of the delayed employer mandate will yield millions more policy cancellations
Yet liberals’ argument against these complaints is: “No one has been hurt by Obamacare, or if they have, it was completely unnecessary. If only they’d spent hours researching dozens of plans and generating spreadsheets comparing premiums, coinsurance, and deductibles, they’d find a plan we think is better for them. And if their costs are going up, it’s because greedy insurance companies raised their rates—which totally coincidentally happened right as Obamacare began.”
The left is ecstatic that they’ve been able to poke holes in the stories of a few cancer victims whose coverage was dropped and supposedly could have gotten comparable Obamacare plans. Liberals believe that, because trained investigative reporters who consult insurance executives and interview Consumer Reports writers are able to sleuth around for hours comparing the costs of various bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plans, little old ladies who are scared of computers should be ashamed at themselves for not doing the same.
So what if a few of the horror stories aren’t as egregious as their confused victims believe? The fact that these victims are confused by what Obamacare is doing to them while they’re trying to fight life-threatening diseases should be horrifying enough to anyone with a conscience.
Even Hiltzik admits that there are “numerous cases of individuals or families who are paying more for coverage this year than last, and possibly for less coverage than they had before.” He concedes that provider networks are smaller than those subscribers previously had, and acknowledges that many major insurance carriers did a poor job explaining options to customers after dropping coverage.
But in Hiltzik’s mind, stories of frustration and hardship don’t rise to the level of “horror” unless patients’ Obamacare doctors are sporting hockey masks and chainsaws.
There are numerous other reliable stories out there—see the cases of Stephen Blackwood, Jeff and Victoria Haidet, Linda Deright, Tom Gialanella, and Julie Stovall—that the left hasn’t been able to deconstruct. But liberals aren’t interested in learning whether there are any genuine Obamacare horror stories; they’re interested in snookering the public into accepting their sneers about how all such stories are false.
If Democrats don’t start acknowledging the people hurt by the fatally flawed Affordable Care Act and supporting its delay or repeal, they may be the ones with Obamacare horror stories come November.
Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics
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