The Wave Breaks


Kathleen Sebelius’ tardy and reluctant, oh so reluctant, release of the numbers of consumers who have affiliated themselves with Obamacare offered few surprises. For several days, the administration had been leaking estimates (which it then disavowed in public), in an attempt to remove the element of surprise — nay, shock — from the announcement of how few customers have shown up.

The administration now claims that 106,000 of these people have appeared, 27,000 on its own website and the rest through mechanisms set up by the states. The total is said to be one-fifth of those anticipated by the administration, which in early October had celebrated the alleged materialization of “millions” of eager Obamaites.

California, which has its own signup procedure, managed to get 35,000 people enrolled. Meanwhile, one million insurance policies were canceled in the state. Nationwide, over five million policies have been canceled — 50 times more than the 100,000+ customers reported by Secretary Sebelius.

And of course, the administration’s figures are far from wholly truthful. They include in the category of “signups” everyone who has merely “selected a plan,” whether the plan has been purchased or not. Even “Greg Sargent’s take from a liberal perspective” in the Washington Post warned the White House against obscuring the real numbers in this way, but the White House never resists a temptation.

Nevertheless, Sebelius actually had the nerve to say about the ridiculously small success of the program she administers, “The promise of quality, affordable coverage is increasingly becoming reality in this first wave of applicants. We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months.”

King Canute amused the world by stationing himself on the seashore and demanding that the waves retreat. Kathleen Sebelius, the servant of King Obama, now stations herself on the shores of the Potomac and commands a “wave” of helpless people to struggle toward her waiting arms. It is a peculiarly repulsive spectacle.

Share This


Jon Harrison

I don't know about "peculiarly repulsive," but you're right, there's no denying it. From a political perspective this could represent a reversal of fortune so rapid and so stark as to be almost unprecedented in our history. The Republicans were on the ropes after the shutdown debacle. Now they're up again and feeling feisty. The betting here is that they will once again fail to take full advantage of their opponents' weaknesses, and will instead continue to squabble amongst themselves and present outlandish ideas and policies at the instigation of their Tea Party wing. We could be at the beginning of an unprecedented collapse of credibility and authority across the spectrum. In any case, Obama looks more and more like Bush in Katrina, in '06 as Iraq fell apart, and then in '08 when the financial system came within a whisker of collapse -- a deer in the headlights. Will he somehow avoid the 18-wheeler bearing down on him, or will he get flattened like Dubya? Only time will tell . . .

Jo Ann

I am especially annoyed that Obama continues to use the words "choice" and "competition" to describe his new "marketplace." When his scheme fails, (as it must) he and his lackeys will use it to prove that choice and competition don't work, and that government control is the only solution left.

© Copyright 2019 Liberty Foundation. All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed in Liberty are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Liberty Foundation.

All letters to the editor are assumed to be for publication unless otherwise indicated.