Obama plays numbers game

It is not really amazing what a combination of coercion and giveaways can accomplish in a year.

Obamacare has been a stunning success, President Barack Obama and others assured Americans recently. Why, they bragged, 7 million people had signed up for it.

Even knowing whether the White House is telling the truth about Obamacare is difficult. It has become the biggest shell game in political history.

Assuming the government is being honest with its numbers, an enrollment of 7 million is hardly impressive. That amounts to about 2.2 percent of the U.S. population.

Many of those who signed up during the past month – about 2.8 million, according to the administration’s numbers – clearly did so out of fear, not a sense of opportunity. The Obamacare law stipulates that eligible Americans who had not signed up by last Monday will pay a new tax to the Internal Revenue Service, of 1 percent of family income or at least $95 per family member.

Millions of those enrolled for Obamacare have been coerced to do so, even if they do not view the insurance as a good deal.

On the other half of the equation, Obama bragged in March his signature law had ensured another 7 million people “have access” to the Medicaid program. Obamacare requires states to expand Medicaid, which provides free insurance to low-income and disabled people.

Fact-checkers in the press quickly pointed out “access” is not enrollment in Medicaid. Estimates of the number of new Medicaid clients vary between 1.1 million and 2.8 million. Only about half the states have actually begun taking new Medicaid enrollees.

Contrast the numbers and the current boast with what Obamacare proponents pledged a few years ago: Then, they said the expanded Medicaid program could cover 21.3 million Americans.

Again, what do their numbers represent? Millions of Americans either forced to accept Obamacare insurance or told they could have it entirely free of charge.