For reasons that aren't altogether clear, House Republicans organized a hearing today to talk to insurance company officials about ACA data Republicans knew to be false
. The result was predictable
Republicans struggled to land punches against ObamaCare in a hearing Wednesday as responses from insurance companies deflated several lines of questioning. Democratic lawmakers were emboldened to defend the Affordable Care Act with renewed vigor and levity, creating a dynamic rarely seen in the debate over ObamaCare.... Republicans were visibly exasperated as insurers failed to confirm certain assumptions about ObamaCare.
Well, it is exasperating when a group of lawmakers go to the trouble of creating their own reality and others refuse to go along.
The congressional hearing came against a backdrop of even more good news for those hoping to see the U.S. health care system succeed -- Sarah Kliff reported
on new federal data showing "improvements in hospital care have saved 15,000 lives" in the two years after the Affordable Care Act became law, thanks at least in part to provisions in the law intended to reduce readmissions and reduce hospital-acquired conditions.
The developments raise a question with a fairly obvious answer: have conservative critics been right about anything related to the ACA?
Jon Chait went through
a litany of recent Republican health care claims -- customers aren't paying premiums; health insurance doesn't improve health; the uninsured rate won't drop; premiums will soar; the cost of the system is unaffordable -- and documented the extent to which they're all wrong.
I am not asking opponents of the law to abandon their philosophical opposition to national health insurance. I am not even asking them to concede that the law is certain to work generally as intended. They still have many predictions of doom that cannot be falsified for years and years to come. And some parts of the law will continue to go wrong, just as the launch of the website did. But if they truly believe the arguments they have made -- that the law not only should not but cannot work -- shouldn't they be expressing, at minimum, some serious doubts?
One would certainly like to think so.
This isn't to say that the rollout has been perfect; we know it hasn't. Healthcare.gov was a mess for a couple of months, but (a) it got fixed; (b) enrollment exceeded projections anyway; and (c) this was the one thing that actually went wrong that Republicans never predicted.
People make mistakes. We're human; it's inevitable. But in this case, Republicans haven't just managed to get every aspect of this debate wrong, they remain convinced of the opposite, certain that their errors are facts, their discredited claims are true, and the system that's working is actually failing.
It's as if there's an entire alternate universe in place in which "Obamacare" is a disaster, the IRS was mean to Tea Partiers at the White House's direction, and the Benghazi attacks were part of an elaborate political cover-up that only Republicans can see.