Like Wall Street prognosticators who “know” what the stock market will do next week, or a football fan who predicts now who will win the next Super Bowl, politicians and pundits who make claims about the impact ObamaCare will have when it goes into force in two years are simply lying. That’s the conclusion Rick Newman comes to as he delves into what he calls The Healthcare Reform Festival Of Lies, including many that have been debunked by Politifact. But Newman adds three important points:
First, the Affordable Care Act is enormously complicated, which means hardly any Americans understand what it will actually do or how it will work. This was arguably a big mistake by Obama and Congressional Democrats who crafted the law. People don’t trust what they don’t understand, and the vast system of levers and pulleys required to make Obamacare work requires a suspension of disbelief, even among supporters.
Second, most of the law hasn’t gone into effect yet, so people have no tangible sense of how it will affect them. My bet is that once the law begins to take effect in 2014, public discomfort with it will go way down, because not much will change for people who already have insurance, and many of the scariest predictions about Obamacare won’t materialize. That may explain why opponents of the law are in such a frenzy now: They can make outrageous claims about Obamacare because it’s still in the future, and ordinary people don’t intuitively recognize the falsehoods.
Third, people believe what they want to believe. Psychologists call it “confirmation bias,” which is a tendency to selectively seek information that confirms your own point of view, while disregarding information that conflicts with your preconceived ideas. So if you’re opposed to big government in general, you’re likely to find government-sponsored healthcare reform intrusive and offensive, even if it might potentially help you. And if you believe in big government, you’re likely to expect more from Obamacare than it’s likely to deliver (as Nancy Pelosi seems to).