Obama's surreal press conference: Five things the President got wrong

President Obama attempted to justify his administration’s Obamacare failures, blame others for his mistakes, and propose some fixes. Photo: President Obama (May 13, 2013) / Associated Press

WASHINGTON, November 17, 2013 — Slogging through a speech on the Obamacare meltdown, President Obama attempted to justify his administration’s actions, blame others for his mistakes, and propose some fixes.

Obama’s remarks included several startling comments. Here are a few of the most obvious.


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“It’s important to understand, though, the old individual market was not working well. And it’s important that we don’t pretend that somehow that’s a place worth going back to.”

Who is suggesting that the “old individual market” is worth going back to? No one, but as Thomas Sowell asks of this type of nonsense argument: It was not working well compared to what?

Was the market not working well compared to a cosmic ideal? For the left, that is always the comparison, but we live in the real world. That “old individual market” was the heavily regulated result of decades of federal law. Leave markets out of this; we replaced one government kluge with another.

“I’m not going to walk away from something that has helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years.”


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A confusion between cost and price is evident here. Certainly, the prices of some things have gone down by governmental edict. That does not mean that the cost has come down. 

When the price of something is artificially forced down, quality or supply will decrease. Both are occurring here: The number of doctors leaving or planning to leave medical practice is growing. Even before Obamacare was passed, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) projected a shortage of 125,000 physicians by 2025, 46,000 of them in primary care.

The AAMC now predicts shortages up to 50 percent worse, made worse partly by the expected growth in demand for healthcare services. This illustrates another point: When the price of something is artificially forced down, the amount that people want to buy will expand.

“Because sometimes people look at what’s taking place in Washington and they say, not enough is getting done that helps me with my life.”


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Polls say the sentiment is increasingly “people look at what’s taking place in Washington and they say, way too much is getting done to impact my life.”

There are those who expect and even demand that Washington help their lives. To the extent that Obama is talking about those folks, this is a true statement. On the whole, it seems to be more indicative of too much activity rather than not enough. Obama wishing it were not that way doesn’t make it so.

“And we should have done a better job getting that right on day one – not on day 28 or day 40.”

After three and a half years and a billion dollars, maybe the actual point is that this job cannot be done right by a handful of people in Washington. Of course, there is no way that type of evaluation would be considered.

Obama cannot conceive that he and his administration could fail at getting a job done.  “It was not done right, but it still can be; I won’t stop working until it is.”

Good luck with that.

“With respect to the pledge I made that if you like your plan, you can keep it, I think – and I’ve said in interviews – that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate. It was not because of my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise.”

Many have accused Obama of lying about this. He and his defenders ardently disagree. Either he was dishonest or inept. For the president, and the left as a whole, intentions matter more than anything, so for the sake of getting along let’s assume he was not deliberately dishonest and take him at his word.

He is merely inept.


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