On Wednesday, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a bill in the Senate that would allow Americans to keep their health insurance plans for a limit of two years. “I have repeatedly said that the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect,” Udall said, “and it will need to be improved as it is implemented.” Udall already wants to push off the open enrollment deadline on the Obamacare health exchanges until the end of May.
But Udall’s plan isn’t the only one in the offing. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has introduced the “Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act,” co-sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Kay Hagen (D-NC), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). That act does not set a two-year deadline on how long people can keep their insurance. As Ezra Klein of The Washington Post points out, “Obamacare’s premiums would rise.” But Landrieu’s office ominously called the bill a “transitional fix.”
The big problem for President Obama is that he cannot endorse either the Udall bill or the Landrieu bill without cutting the heart out of his signature legislation. President Obama did not merely lie about a provision of Obamacare – he lied about the crux of Obamacare itself, which is the mandated redistribution of health insurance cost from the healthy (who will be booted from their current, cheaper plans) to the unhealthy (who will benefit from the forced enrollment of the healthy into the exchanges). Should Obama back off of his position, he will bankrupt Obamacare before it even begins.
The White House knows this, which is why The New York Times reported on Tuesday, “White House officials refused to discuss in detail what options Mr. Obama was considering. But they made clear that the president was skeptical of any solution that would allow insurance companies to continue selling what officials consider to be cheap and substandard policies.”
That means that the Obamacare lie will remain in full force and effect. And the argument by some that Obama is forcing Americans into better plans they will readily embrace is belied by the awful enrollment numbers themselves: while approximately 5 million Americans have been thrown off insurance plans they liked, just over 106,000 have actually taken advantage of the Obamacare exchanges. That means that Obamacare has failed on both ends: it was fraud in the inducement, and the fraud has not been justified, even according to the left, by the supposed wonders inherent in the Obamacare exchanges.
This puts President Obama between a rock and a hard place. He can either dismantle the Obamacare redistributionist centerpiece, which would be tantamount to repeal by his own party, or he can stand in favor of his lie, in the face of politically-motivated opponents like former President Bill Clinton. In either case, his personal popularity will sink, and his allies in Congress will be hard-pressed to stand with him. That means that the Obamacare battle is destined to become a proxy battle over control of the Democratic Party: a battle between presumed 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, and President Obama. Obama wants to defend his program; Hillary wants to run against it, recognizing its inherent unpopularity.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.