Skip to main content

Obamacare: Saying 'it's working' doesn't make it true

By Kevin McCarthy
updated 9:25 AM EDT, Thu May 1, 2014
President Barack Obama has announced that 8 million Americans have signed up for Obamacare.
President Barack Obama has announced that 8 million Americans have signed up for Obamacare.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy: Selling of Obamacare omits the reality that not everyone is paying
  • Eight million "enrollees" doesn't equal 8 million paid customers, he says
  • House Oversight Committee: Only 67% of enrollees had paid first month's premium

Editor's note: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, is House majority whip. You can follow him on Twitter @GOPWhip. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama needs to learn a simple lesson: Saying something doesn't make it true.

Though the President has claimed victory touting 8 million "enrollments" under his health care law, Americans cannot and will not wipe their memories clear of the botched rollout and continual failings of Obamacare.

Democrats have sustained their tactic of telling everyone the health care law is working, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Perhaps if they say it enough, their reasoning goes, it will become true.

Well, Obama can have his own opinions and he can even assert falsehoods as truth, but he can't conjure fact.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll lays the facts out bare. The President's approval rating has slipped to 41% -- the lowest of his presidency in Post/ABC News polls. And only 37% approve of the President's handling of Obamacare's implementation. Despite the 8 million enrollees vaunted by the administration, a mere 44% of Americans approve of the President's signature law.

Kevin McCarthy
Kevin McCarthy

This negative view of Obamacare persists even upon the assumption, parroted by many in the media, that the 8 million enrollment figure is accurate. However, the administration refuses to tell the American people any details about that number.

How many of those "enrollees" are insured, having paid their first month's premium? How many were previously uninsured? How many were forced off their former coverage that they liked? What will the quality of coverage be for those who actually receive coverage?

These questions have been met with deaf ears and defensive posturing. "The debate over the repeal of the law is over," the President said. "This law is doing what it's supposed to do -- it's working."

The President has confused reported high enrollment numbers with success, disregarding that while millions may be signed up under threat of penalty, Americans are not sold on the failed law.

To provide Americans answers to the unanswered questions, the House passed in January the Exchange Information Disclosure Act, which would require transparency from the administration regarding the Obamacare insurance exchange. Yet U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has blocked the bill in the Senate, unwilling to give the American people access to information they have a right to know.

Dems find a lane to run on ObamaCare
The Political Reality of Obamacare

In an attempt to get the data directly from the source, the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters in March to every insurance provider participating in the federal exchange requesting enrollment data, including the number of individuals who have paid their first month's premium or were previously uninsured.

The results finally came in. As of April 15, only 67% of individuals and families that selected a plan had paid their first month's premium, data provided to the committee by every provider in the Federally Facilitated Marketplace shows. Insurers informed the committee that, by the same date, only 2.45 million had paid their first month's premium for coverage obtained through the FFM.

Are Democrats backing away from Obamacare?

The purpose of Obamacare, if the President remembers, was to insure, not merely to sign up, and it seems the President's enrollment numbers far surpass the number of insured.

Of those who have enrolled and paid their premiums, some surely liked their health insurance, were renewing their health insurance and were booted off their health insurance because of Obamacare regulations. This law is not a success.

Even before the Energy and Commerce Committee released their findings, Americans still viewed Obamacare unfavorably.

In Tuesday's Post/ABC News poll, 47% of Americans reported that the ACA has raised their health care costs and 60% blame Obamacare for increasing costs nationally. Americans -- faced with Obamacare's burdens and disappointed with the president's handling of the economy, foreign policy, and more -- want a Republican-controlled Congress to act as a check on the president's policies by 53 to 39%.

The debate is far from over, Mr. President.

Instead of taking responsibility for the failed health care law, Obama prefers to call major problems "glitches" and forced re-enrollment of millions who were previously insured "success." He has claimed victory with a number that includes millions who remain uninsured.

The first step toward fixing a problem is admitting the problem exists. Instead of taking responsibility for the disaster they've created and the unnecessary hardships they've imposed on the American people, Obama and the Democrats are trying to rewrite the facts. Unfortunately for them, facts don't work that way.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
updated 11:16 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
updated 10:43 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
updated 1:22 PM EDT, Sat August 30, 2014
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
updated 9:30 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Jeff Yang says the tech sector's diversity numbers are embarrassing and the big players need to do more.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
updated 4:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Ed Bark says in this Emmy year, broadcasters CBS, ABC and PBS can all say they matched or exceeded HBO. These days that's no small feat
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 12:29 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider say a YouTube video apparently posted by ISIS seems to show that the group has a surveillance drone, highlighting a new reality: Terrorist groups have technology once only used by states
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
John Bare says the Ice Bucket Challenge signals a new kind of activism and peer-to-peer fund-raising.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
updated 9:05 PM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
As the inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown continues, critics question the prosecutor's impartiality.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Newt Gingrich says it's troubling that a vicious group like ISIS can recruit so many young men from Britain.
updated 10:50 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
updated 6:03 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT