Back in 2009, when Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying (without success) to sell Americans on the benefits a massive piece of legislation that would revolutionize health care, one of their go-to arguments was that the law would provide coverage to the many millions of Americans who were at the time uninsured. That exact number varied between 25 and 40 million, depending on who the speaker was.
During the recent debate over a bill to replace the rapidly fading Obamacare, Dems fell back on the same argument, admonishing voters that millions of Americans would lose coverage if the American Health Care Act became law. Again, the exact number hovered between 22 million and 24 million , with one Democrat — the redoubtable Maxine Waters — warning that 700 billion people in the state of Kentucky alone would lose coverage.
Interestingly, the one figure that Democrats never mentioned was the 6.5 million Americans who were uninsured by choice. These were taxpayers who elected to pay a fine rather than sign up for Obamacare. Pollster Scott Rasmussen explains:
The individual healthcare mandate [under Obamacare] requires every American to buy health insurance or pay a fine. In 2016, 6.5 million Americans chose to pay the fine rather than sign up for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.
Rasmussen goes on to note that another “15 million people would drop their Obamacare coverage if it were legal to do so,” emphasizing that this statistic should not be construed to suggest these people prefer not to covered. Instead, as he points out, “Obamacare requires every insurance policy to cover a set of what it defines as Essential Health Benefits.” These include maternity care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and a host of other “benefits” that many Americans have no use for. Their inclusion in the law was a method for redistributing the burden to taxpayers who, in the government’s view, could afford it.
Democrats choose to ignore these realities because they do not fit the liberal narrative.
Despite the failure of the party in power to accomplish even a “skinny repeal,” much less agree on a replacement for Obamacare, some Republicans remain optimistic that the topic of health care can be revisited at some future date. If and when they do, here’s hoping against hope that the Democrats can do more than hurl insults and make idle threats. The lives of millions of Americans (to take a page out of their playbook) depends on it.