Earlier, I noted the difficulty of playing defense in a debate. Barack Obama gives a good example in this exchange last night with Mitt Romney on ObamaCare, an unpopular law, with Romney hitting one of its most unpopular features — the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an unelected body that makes final policy on approval for Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements and coverage, which can only be overridden by a supermajority vote in Congress. Romney hits ObamaCare on nearly all fronts — its impact on businesses and hiring, its inability to contain costs, and the lack of individual choice inherent in the plan, especially the IPAB. Obama, in response, can only offer a few wan slogans — and the main one has already been proven false:
During Wednesday evening’s presidential debate, President Barack Obama repeated his support for the controversial Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — often dubbed by conservatives as Obamacare’s “death panels” — in a back-and-forth with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“It — when Gov. Romney talks about this board, for example, unelected board that we’ve created, what this is, is a group of health care experts, doctors, et cetera, to figure out, how can we reduce the cost of care in the system overall?” Obama said.
“Now, so what this board does is basically identifies best practices and says, let’s use the purchasing power of Medicare and Medicaid to help to institutionalize all these good things that we do,” Obama added.
LifeNews also picked up on the exchange, a key moment in a fight Obama knew he’d have during this debate:
Romney also went after the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the health care rationing board that pro-life advocates repeatedly called for repealing because it would limit life-saving medical treatments.
“We didn’t put in place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they’re going to receive. We didn’t also do something that I think a number of people across this country recognize, which is put — put people in a position where they’re going to lose the insurance they had and they wanted,” he said.
“So for those reasons, for the tax, for Medicare, for this board, and for people losing their insurance, this is why the American people don’t want Obamacare. It’s why Republicans said, do not do this, and the Republicans had — had the plan. They put a plan out. They put out a plan, a bipartisan plan. It was swept aside,” he said. “I think something this big, this important has to be done on a bipartisan basis. And we have to have a president who can reach across the aisle and fashion important legislation with the input from both parties.
Obama offers a fairly rote defense of ObamaCare overall in the clip below (which doesn’t have the IPAB exchange), and by rote I mean “cliched.” He even trots out the “You keep your own insurance. You keep your own doctor” argument, which hasn’t been the case; the White House issued a blizzard of temporary waivers for insurance plans that met customer needs but didn’t meet ObamaCare’s formulas for one-size-fits-all coverage. Many more of these kind of plans — some of which make great sense for healthier consumers — have now disappeared, leaving only the option of more expensive comprehensive coverage for people who will never get the value out of the cost. Furthermore, millions of seniors got forced out of their Medicare Advantage plans, most of which disappeared after the passage of ObamaCare.
These are the exact same arguments that Democrats used in the 2010 midterms to defend their obsession with a takeover of the health-care industry while the economy festered. It didn’t work then, and it’s not sounding any better the second time around. Team Obama has had two years to come up with an original defense of ObamaCare, and the President offered nothing but a rerun.