The administration is still trying to convince us that Obamacare is a good thing:

On Dec. 3, federal actuaries released data showing that health spending inched up only 3.6 percent in 2013.

Marilyn Tavenner, the head of Medicare and Medicaid, boasted that it’s “evidence that our efforts to reform the health-care-delivery system are working.” Sorry, not true.

That 3.6 percent figure is an improvement only by a hair.

The real slowing of health care spending started way back in 2009…long before ObamaCare even passed. Health spending slowed to a comfortable 3.8 percent rise that year, and stayed at that slow pace in 2010.

Not that the president acknowledged that health spending was growing at the slowest rate in a half-century.

To pass his health bill, he needed a crisis. So he and then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius repeatedly lied, warning that costs were “skyrocketing,” spending was “spiraling” out of control…

On Dec. 2, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced “demonstrable progress” in making hospital care safer.

Her report claims that some 50,000 fewer patients died from bed sores, infections, medication errors, falls and other mishaps from 2010 to 2013, largely due to new payment incentives and a patient safety program in ObamaCare.

That happy claim was repeated verbatim by many media outlets.

Not so fast, say patient safety experts who actually read the report…

There’s another much more subtle lie inherent in the administration’s claims, which is the assumption that if an effect follows an event, the effect is caused by that event. That sort of “lie” is hardly limited to the Obama administration or Obamacare, of course. It’s a common problem with a great deal of social science and medical research that relies on correlations, and where rigorous controls are impossible with the human subjects involved.

In other related news, Jonathan Gruber is testifying before Congress today. He is in the unenviable position of having to say he lied about lying but is now telling the truth about his lies about lying.

In Gruber’s closing paragraph he tries to say “It’s me, not Obamacare!” He is willing to fall on his sword for the greater good:

I behaved badly, and I will have to live with that, but my own inexcusable arrogance is not a flaw in the Affordable Care Act.

No, it’s not. But the ACA has its own flaws galore, much greater than Gruber’s. Its proponents had their own inexcusable arrogance, lies, and parliamentary shenanigans, and Obamacare has its own terrible consequences.

Any attacks on Gruber from the left would be following the same playbook Gruber himself is following: It’s Gruber, not Obamacare! Don’t blame Obamacare, which is good; Gruber’s the villain!

By the way, for what it’s worth, when I first heard about Gruber—which was in connection with his highly-praised prediction a year ago that only 3% of Americans will be impacted negatively by Obamacare—I wrote an article for PJ that pointed out Gruber’s partisanship and non-objectivity, plus the fact that he had already had to admit there were quite a few flaws in the reasoning behind the models for which he was so well-known as an expert on health care insurance. In it, I quoted an Avik Roy article that features a statement Gruber himself had made on the subject:

Most importantly, Gruber has admitted that his model has a catastrophic flaw: it can’t model the impact of Obamacare’s requirement that insurers take all comers regardless of pre-existing conditions. Here’s what he said to the State of Colorado:

“It is important to recognize some limitations in our modeling of prices. In particular, given publicly available data we cannot incorporate the effects of the ban on pre-existing conditions exclusions. This ban will cause a rise in premiums as insurers are forced to cover conditions that they had previously excluded. In addition, there are new premium taxes on insurers that will raise premium rates…Overall, we cannot predict the net impacts of these factors on premiums without more analysis.”

It’s precisely this aspect of the law that non-partisan analysts have pointed to as a reason why Obamacare will drive up premiums.

Why did anyone ever listen to Gruber after that? Because he was telling them what they wanted to hear. To use a model that omits the fact that Obamacare required the coverage of people with pre-existing conditions, and to act as though this will have no effect on premiums, is not just incompetent but shockingly so, as anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of insurance and math could easily have seen.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.