As one Twitterer put it after the remarks, publicly supporting ObamaCare is only about “fairness,” while opposing it is just “politics,” according to President Obama. At least that’s an improvement from earlier this week, when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius implied that opposing the law was somehow fundamentally racist. Who says the national conversation can’t improve?
Anyway, Obama told the nation today, we should be totally grateful for those one-time refund checks coming in the mail from insurers of between $100-$300 for overcharging premiums. That balances out the huge increases in premiums due to ObamaCare, apparently (video via Greg Hengler):
In a speech at the White House, which aides had framed as opportunity to highlight the more than $500 million in rebates consumers will be receiving from insurers in the coming weeks as a result of a provision in the law, Obama went after GOP lawmakers for continuing to take aim at the law.
“We’ve got a lot of problems in this country and there’s a lot work that congress needs to do…and yet we’re re-fighting these old battles,” Obama said. “Sometimes I just try to figure out why. Maybe, they think it’s good politics. ” …
Obama said that Republicans have ignored early successes of the law, such as the rebate provision, and accused them of trying to make “political hay” as his administration has worked to implement it.
“What I have heard is just the same old song and dance,” Obama said. “We’re just going to blow through that stuff and just keep on doing the right thing for the American people.”
Speaking of the same-old same-old, Reason wondered last month how many sales pitches it would take the White House to get people to understand it, let alone ignore the obvious problems in it once they did. CNN’s Gloria Borger points out what Obama didn’t talk about in his pep talk:
More bad news on the “political hay” front for Obama came a little earlier today, when Senate Democrat Joe Manchin decided to play politics, er, oppose ObamaCare in its current form (via The Corner):
Senator Joe Manchin bucked his own party this morning and slammed Obamacare’s “far-reaching tentacles and ramifications.” He also criticized it for running counter to American values.
“As Americans, we don’t like to be told what we have to do,” the West Virginia Democrat said on Fox News,”and if we don’t do it, you’re going to penalize me as my country, as my government.”
Coming from a union-heavy state, Manchin expressed that union leaders are “concerned” about the law affecting employees’ hours and jobs, especially with the continued uncertainty of the law’s implementation and delays.
“There’s a lot of things that aren’t answered,” he said. “And it’s got to be addressed and fixed.”
It would be better if we just stopped breaking things with this law, rather than trying to fix the law itself. In my column today for The Fiscal Times, I argue that the ACA has suppressed employment in the Great Stagnation following the Great Recession, and that the incentives built into the core of the law guarantees more of the same:
Critics complain that stagnant job growth results from the extra cost to employment from Obamacare, while supporters of the ACA claim either that job growth isn’t a problem or that its lack is unrelated to the health-care reform. A new study, however, shows that there may be a direct and unanticipated impact on the jobs market when the bill’s mandate comes fully into force.
The National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that the creation of the individual mandate and its exchanges might prompt as many as 940,000 people to drop out of the workforce. They would quit their jobs because working for employer-provided benefits would no longer be necessary.
Yahoo’s Rick Newman noted that this has both positive and negative potential outcomes. It might push older workers to retire early before becoming eligible for Medicare and allow spouses providing second incomes to stay at home. Nancy Pelosi argued in the final days of the Obamacare debate that this would allow others to take more risks as entrepreneurs and artists.
However, that dumps nearly a million more workers into taxpayer-provided subsidies than initially estimated (with the rosier job-creation projections in mind as well). That means higher costs up front for Obamacare, and at the same time increased risk of even higher safety-net spending if the drop-outs cannot sustain themselves without a full-time job.
Be sure to read it all, including my assessment of the shortage of artists the nation would suffer without ObamaCare.