Washington Examiner | Obamacare hasn’t aged well

Editorial Board, Washington Examiner:

Five years ago, President Obama signed his signature healthcare initiative into law. Despite predictions by Obama and his fellow Democrats that it would become more popular once it was implemented, the reality has been the opposite. In no small part due to Obamacare, Democrats have lost control of the House and Senate, even though they enjoyed overwhelming majorities in both chambers when they rammed the legislation through the U.S. Congress on a strict party line vote.

Democrats have pointed to signs of a recent uptick of support for Obamacare. But it’s worth noting that in April 2010, just after it was signed into law, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s monthly tracking poll found that 46 percent of Americans had a favorable view of the law, compared with 40 percent who had an unfavorable view. This month, just 41 percent have a favorable view, compared with a larger contingent of 43 percent who viewed it unfavorably. Even more staggering is that at the time the law passed, 50 percent of the uninsured viewed the law favorably, no doubt optimistic about the promises of quality, affordable healthcare. But in this month’s poll, just 31 percent of the uninsured had a favorable view. In other words, the segment of the population intended to be the primary beneficiaries of the law and who have the most reason to interact with it, have a more negative impression of the law than the broader public.

This should be no surprise. As time has gone on, more and more of the promises of the healthcare law have been proven false. When Obama pitched the legislation to lawmakers and the public in a speech to a joint session of Congress in September 2009, he said it would cost "around $900 billion over 10 years." Yet that cost estimate depended on an accounting gimmick — because the major spending provisions didn’t kick in until 2014, it was essentially a six-year cost estimate. According to the most recent Congressional Budget Office projections, the law is going to cost $1.7 trillionover the next 10 years. That much spending, has, indisputably, increased the number of Americans with health insurance by millions, but that wasn’t supposed to be the only purpose of the law.

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