Ira Stoll on the Lie That Made Obamacare Possible


One of the key arguments that President Obama used to get his health care law though Congress, control of soaring health care costs, turns out to have been bogus.

Here is the way Mr. Obama put the argument in a September 9, 2009, speech about health care to a joint session of Congress:

Then there's the problem of rising cost….insurance premiums have gone up three times faster than wages….our health care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers.  When health care costs grow at the rate they have, it puts greater pressure on programs like Medicare and Medicaid. If we do nothing to slow these skyrocketing costs, we will eventually be spending more on Medicare and Medicaid than every other government program combined….

Now, these are the facts. Nobody disputes them.  

Mr. Obama's voice saying "these are the facts. Nobody disputes them," is almost enough to set off sound effects akin to those that accompany Pinocchio's growing nose in the Disney movie.

Sure enough, now that the data are in, the emerging consensus is that health care costs, rather than "skyrocketing," have been moderating, even flat-lining. And as Ira Stoll writes, they were beginning to do so well before Congress passed ObamaCare in March 2010.