May 21, 2014

JAMES TARANTO: Don’t Stop Thinking About ObamaCare: More problems, and arguments, lie ahead.

There’s an additional ambiguity: What does it mean to leave the law “unchanged” when the Supreme Court has already struck down parts of it and the administration has declined to follow or enforce others? That’s not a salient question for immediate electoral purposes; in terms of voting intention, “left unchanged” can be taken as a statement of support for the Democrats. But even if the statutory language proves resistant to any effort at modification, there will be a new administration after 2016. That could mean more discretionary (or extralegal) changes and perhaps the end of ObamaCare as we know it.

“ObamaCare as we know it” is also an ambiguous turn of phrase, to say the least, for what do we know of ObamaCare? A few provisions are relatively straightforward, such as the expansion of Medicaid eligibility (in those states that have gone along with it) and the mandate that family insurance plans cover 23-, 24- and 25-year-old children of policyholders.

But the whole of ObamaCare is an insanely complicated scheme that even experts are still struggling to understand. “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it–away from the fog of the controversy,” then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said in March 2010. We’ll be finding out for many years to come, and there’s no reason to think that “fog” will ever lift.

To the Dems, that’s not a bug, but a feature. If people had figured out what was being done to them all at once, the politicians would have been hanging from lampposts.