Does Obama expect a Christmas miracle to save Obamacare?

More people will lose insurance than gain it due to Obamacare this year. To pretend otherwise, President Obama simply omits millions of people from his math. Photo: CMS exemption form, edited by Ernest Istook

WASHINGTON, December 22, 2013 — President Barack Obama must be expecting a Christmas miracle. Otherwise, Obamacare will cause more people to lose health insurance this year than to gain it.

That’s why Obama is dismantling Obamacare, jettisoning whole chunks as he tries to save his own creation even as he cripples it and creates public chaos.

Not relying on divine intervention, Obama has his whole team scrambling to change rules, to re-interpret and to re-define how everything is done and measured. Insurance companies complain that he’s causing utter havoc with his constant changes (usually outside his legal authority) that will make the already-high Obamacare prices even worse within a year.

But Obama is focused on January 1, trying to prevent everyone from recognizing the truth: the “Affordable Care Act” has made insurance more expensive than ever, totally Un-Affordable.

This is not what Obama had prophesied. But he continues to make bold and confident predictions. On Friday, before departing for his Christmas vacation in Hawaii, the President said “a couple million people, maybe more” will have Obamacare coverage by January 1. Then he claimed “several million” will be covered by an unspecified date. Those statements belong next to his promise that “if you like your plan, you can keep you plan.” That claim was a runaway winner of the “Lie of the Year” award.

White House misplaces millions of Americans

Obama’s latest happy talk has a problem: The White House seems to have lost millions of Americans in their calculations.

No figures were released from the secret Obamacare data vaults to back up Obama’s new claim of millions covered. Likewise, no basis was given for another new White House claim that “only” half-a-million Americans have been unable to replace the loss of their individual health insurance plans.

President Obama on Jay Leno’s show admitted that he struggled with any math beyond the seventh grade. But you don’t have to be smarter than even a fifth-grader to see the gap in the White House math.

Number of cancelled plans due to Obamacare-approx 7,000,000
Enrolled in Obamacare (state & federal, mid-December)-approx - 500,000
Added to Medicaid due to Obamacare-approx - 800,000
–—Unaccounted for–—approx 5,700,000

Even if the number of cancelled plans were lower, the gap remains immense. Don’t be surprised if the White House makes a sudden claim that it can cover this gap by another expansion of Medicaid, which clearly would exceed Obama’s legal authority. Medicaid already is bankrupting federal and state governments!

The loss of existing policies worsens next year when Obamacare dictates kick in for group insurance coverage.

Everything is uncertain and chaotic because Obama insists he can do special favors by temporary adjustments that will put off the worst parts until after the 2014 elections. At least 17 major changes have already been announced by the White House — without submitting a single one to Congress for approval.

The latest edict they’ve issued says those who have lost their current individual policies due to Obamacare can now qualify for lesser-quality catastrophic policies, as a hardship exemption to the individual mandate. If you are a victim of Obamacare, you have suffered enough! They’re told it’s okay to purchase the insurance that Obama claims is “substandard” and “bad apple” insurance, rather than buying coverage under full Obamacare policies as dictated by the individual mandate.

Previously, Obama told the Supreme Court this individual mandate was essential to the entire program. It’s the individual mandate that Republicans wanted to delay, but Obama refused and preferred a government shutdown instead. But now Obama has announced that he’s delaying that very mandate.

They finally admit that Obamacare costs more

The official announcement, issued through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, finally admits what the President kept denying: Obamacare costs more. Their memo states the temporary exemptions to the individual mandate are being created “Because some consumers were finding other coverage options to be more expensive than their cancelled plans or policies”

So we should forget Obama’s gloating claims that his plan would cost less than a monthly cell phone bill? And would be “less expensive than expected.”

For now at least, Obama is abandoning both cornerstones of his plan. The employer mandate was pushed back and now the individual mandate is riddled with so many exemptions that it is more loophole than anything else. NBC’s Chuck Todd openly wondered whether anybody would have to pay it now.

But bypassing the mandate does not undo the massive bureaucracy of Obamacare, the massive expense of its subsidies nor its expansion of Medicaid.

Oregon’s website makes Obama’s look good

Many states are struggling with Obamacare also, as their glowing promises collapse around them. One-fourth of the states’ program directors have resigned or taken “medical leave,” as calculated by Josh Archambault of the Foundation for Government Accountability. Leaders of the state programs have resigned in Minnesota, Maryland and Hawaii. Oregon’s executive director is on indefinite medical leave and others are abandoning ship in that state.

Oregon’s website is worse than In ten weeks only 44 people have managed to enroll. Adding hundreds of temporary workers to process paper applications was a bust. Now they’re giving up.

Citizens are getting robocalls from the state program, “Cover Oregon.” The announcement is that unless people hear otherwise by Monday, then they should abandon Oregon’s Obamacare exchange and seek insurance in the private marketplace—where there are no subsidies.

Oregon needs a bigger miracle than Obama needs. Imagine spending your entire Christmas and New Year’s holiday trying to find insurance to cover you by January 1, all because your former coverage was outlawed by Obamacare and the costs of new replacement policies were highway robbery.

Think on it. Meantime, where might you find the man who promised everything but delivered only the Lie of the Year? The man who said “we screwed up” on the website but that’s now in the past? The man who just issued glowing new promises that everything will be fine? He has his own personal exemption from Obamacare; he will be in distant Hawaii, lapping up the sun.


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More from Ernest Istook: Knowing the Inside
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Ernest Istook

Ernest Istook spent 25 years in public office, including 14 years in Congress. He was rated one of the top 25 conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Then was a Heritage Foundation fellow and a fellow at Harvard's Insitute of Politics, where he led a study group on Propaganda in American Politics Today. 

Now as a radio host and a commentator, Ernest aims to expose Washington's gimmicks--to help you avoid the pitfalls. He brings clarity out of the confusion. 

Native to Texas, Ernest transplanted to Oklahoma after graduating from Baylor University.

Contact Ernest Istook


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