The U.S. Supreme Court is soon to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of President Obama's signature achievement, the reform of the nation's healthcare financing system. In conjunction with that, the White House and the president's allies are planning a public relations blitz designed to reacquaint the nation with the need for the law.
They are not likely to talk much if at all about the number of people who have lost their heath insurance since the law was passed. They probably won't find time to mention the recent Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obamacare will cost the taxpayers three times as much as the president said it would. What they will do, according to a memo that leaked out of a strategic planning meeting convened in preparation for the start of the Supreme Court case, is mount a campaign to "[i]ncrease overall public support for the law by making the benefits of the law (and consequences of taking those benefits away) tangible by featuring stories of real people impacted."
The week of March 19 to 23 has been set aside to "facilitate coordination between the Administration, MOC, organizations and others messaging and activities in targeted states."
One day the effort will focus on seniors, telling then that—contrary to numerous studies—that they will benefit from cheaper prescription drugs. On another day women will get all the attention. Young adults and children will hear about how they get to stay on their parent's insurance under Obamacare until their mid-20s, which is helpful considering how, in the current marketplace, its unlikely they will be able to find a job after spending four years majoring in "Central American Poetic Theory," "Aramaic Studies," or "The History of the Occupy Movement." Small business will hear about how Obamacare lowers its costs, and those with pre-existing conditions will be sent a message that the new law has saved them from life without insurance.
It's all bunk, but that won't deter the president allies—"partner organizations" the memo calls them—as they "host events and develop materials aimed at distinct constituencies that are benefitting from the law."
Here are the real facts. A 2011 McKinsey study found that after 2014, 30 percent of employers will "definitely or probably stop offering" employer-sponsored health insurance. The number increases to 50 percent among employers with a "high awareness of reform," and more than 60 percent of employers said Obamacare's implementation would have them looking for other options.
"If employers do decide to drop coverage, the result will dramatically affect taxpayer spending on the subsidies for the insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansions," staffers working for Sen. Orrin Hatch, the lead Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a memo to journalists this week. "At a time of record $15 trillion debt and $1.2 trillion budget deficits, today's CBO analysis demonstrates how much worse the situation may be as a result of President Obama's ill-conceived health law."
According to Hatch, Obamacare's price tag could be as high as $2.134 trillion through 2022 alone. As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored health benefits by 2019. As many as 49 million more Americans could become dependent on government-sponsored healthcare by 2019. And individual and employer mandate penalties may be as high as $221 billion through 2022 alone.
The pro-Obamacare coalition isn't likely to mention any of this. That doesn't make it any less true.