Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer believes Democrats are partying prematurely with Tuesday’s Obamacare enrollment celebration, arguing that “this is a phony number,” and that all the changes and delays mean “the majority of [Obamacare] is already on its way out.”
Krauthammer appeared on a Fox News panel with NPR’s Mara Liasson and National Review’s Jonah Goldberg to discuss the Obama administration’s announcement of 7.1 million Obamacare enrollments after the (sort of) deadline on March 31. While President Obama and a select group of guests clapped and cheered in the White House Rose Garden, others remained skeptical that the number of enrollments is a significant achievement.
“This is a phony number, and it’s wonderfully precise,” Krauthammer taunted. “These guys go six months without any idea what the numbers are, and all of a sudden it’s to a decimal point — 7.1, 9.2.”
“But of course it’s meaningless because: (A) we don’t know how many of them have paid, so it’s an enrollment number that’s not enrollment,” he continued. “But the more important one is, how many were previously uninsured? The point of the plan, the point of revolutionizing a sixth of the economy, the point of kicking off a program that’s going to cost $2 trillion over a decade, was to insure the uninsured.”
Goldberg took umbrage at Obama chiding the media for covering Obamacare woes like the glitchy Healthcare.gov website.
“If media coverage really affected Obamacare, Obamacare would’ve been popular a long time ago and stayed popular for a long time,” he noted. “Obamacare, from 2009 to early 2010, had lavish coverage from the press — where no problems were acknowledged in any significant way by a lot of the mainstream media — and yet the thing was not popular.”
Liasson explained that with Obamacare’s temporary enrollment “success,” Republicans “have shifted from ‘repeal’ to ‘replace’ . . . I think Republicans have shifted their message in a nuanced way, and the White House is intent on describing the Republican position as ‘repeal, repeal, repeal.'”
“Obama has done a lot of repealing for Obamacare on his own,” Krauthammer countered. “He’s repealed the employer mandate, he’s repealed the individual mandate, people all of a sudden are allowed to stay on these substandard plans. This is being hollowed out by Obama himself.”
“What Republicans are going to do is to pick among the ruins when this is over and then devise a new privately-centered plan on top of it,” he explained. “It’s not going to abolish everything, it will keep elements of it. But the majority is already on its way out.”
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