Anything That's Wrong With ObamaCare Is Your Fault
James Taranto calls our attention to a piece called "Four Ways ObamaCare Could Still Fail", noting that it appears not on a conservative media outlet but on the liberal Democrat site TalkingPointsMemo.com.
Lest we expect an analysis of problems with the law, however, the author, Sahil Kapur, leads with the obvious -- the law's biggest problem is the GOP ("Republicans remain committed to botching ObamaCare's implementation"). These are the reasons Kapur fears ObamaCare might sink:
1. Americans don't like it. “I would rank the number one obstacle to be ‘social acceptance,’” said Jonathan Gruber, a professor at MIT who helped craft the Affordable Care Act. Americans dislike the law not because they're looking at the law on its merits and making a considered assessment, but because Republicans talk smack about it. “I think that the biggest obstacle to ACA implementation is the relentless negativity and opposition of the Republicans and their media outlets,” said Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University and an expert on health care law. (Because, of course, Americans are so blindly receptive to the message put forth by Republicans and their media outlets. Just ask Mitt Romney.)
2. States are declining to expand Medicaid. Thirteen governors are refusing to get on board because of "pressure from the right."
3. States are refusing to build insurance marketplaces. Kapur makes this argument:
The law encourages states to set up and run their own one-stop marketplaces to connect sellers and buyers of health insurance — the central mechanism through which its subsidies and coverage guarantees are actualized. Although states had the ability to opt out, it seemed like a no-brainer because if they decline to set one up, the federal government is required to craft and operate one for them.
(If the federal government will swoop in and take over unless the state agrees to its terms, is encourage quite the mot juste?) Kapur notes that ObamaCare "lacks a funding mechanism for Department of Health and Human Services to set up exchanges for states that decline to do so themselves," which throws a monkey wrench into this whole setup. He laments that Republicans who resisted being strong-armed into setting up exchanges will likely also resist appropriating additional money for the HHS to step in and do it. Fancy that.
4. The nullification of the Medicare Cost-Cutting Board or IPAB, otherwise known by cranky Red staters as death panels. This nullification will be caused by Senate Republicans who "can -- and have signaled their intention to -- filibuster nominees to the board."
Taranto notes that that isn't the only issue confronting IPAB. Not only are some House Democrats against it, but "Kapur ignores another problem, reported last month by the Washington Post's Sarah Kliff: ObamaCare proponents despair of finding enough experts to serve on the 15-man panel, 'a federal job where the compensation is low, the political controversy high and the ultimate payoff unclear.'"
Kapur's argument amounts to the following: Democrats passed a law that had and still has insufficient public support (points 1 and 4), that cannot achieve its goals without unconstitutional means (point 2), that did not allocate the necessary resources to accomplish its objectives (point 3), and that lacks and still lacks even minimal support across the political aisle (all four points).
That sounds very much like the conservative critique of ObamaCare. At this point it's fair to say that ObamaCare opponents have won the argument. Of course, since supporters won the political battle three years ago (and Obama won re-election), this monstrosity is now the law of the land, ensuring that both sides' victories will have been Pyrrhic.