Last Thursday, President Obama purported to undo the “Affordable” Care Act (ACA) mandates that he and congressional Democrats quite intentionally designed to force Americans off their health-insurance policies . . . notwithstanding the president’s promise, repeated over and over again since 2009, that Americans would be able to keep their health-insurance policies. In my weekend column, I argued that Obama’s latest unilateral diktat is lawless and transparently political. With each passing day, however, what becomes more breathtaking is the depth of systematic, calculated lying that went into the extensive — the criminal — Obamacare fraud.
Let’s quickly recap the lawlessness and cynical politics behind Thursday’s pathetic press conference. Obama, who poses as a constitutional-law expert, knows full well that a president has no legal authority to waive statutory mandates. Even if he had such power, moreover, he knows that there is no practical possibility of undoing — within the next few weeks, as the ACA would require — the new arrangements that insurance companies and state regulators spent the last three years structuring to comply with Obamacare mandates. In sum, Obama is well aware that his proposed “fix” is frivolous. His hope is that the country overwhelmingly consists of dolts who are too uninformed to realize that this is the case, and who, with a little help from his media courtiers, can be convinced to blame the insurance companies, rather than the president, for the fact that millions of Americans are losing their coverage under his “reform.”
Now, having covered Thursday’s con job, let’s get back to the overarching Obamacare scheme perpetrated by the president for more than four years — a fraud that, I contend, the Justice Department would not hesitate to prosecute had it been committed by a private-sector executive. I’ve related the standards for criminal and civil enforcement that would militate in favor of prosecution in a case involving the dimension of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty we find here. In addition, NRO’s Andrew Stiles had a superb report on Friday showing the sundry ways the administration’s dysfunctional Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, runs afoul of various consumer-protection laws. Again, when such infractions are committed by private businesses, the government punishes them quite severely.
We now discover even more evidence of how brazen Obama’s lies have been.
The president claims he truly believed that people would be able to keep plans they liked because Obamacare provides for those plans to be “grandfathered” — exempted from termination. Thus, he insists, he was acting in good faith when he made the promises that people could keep those plans, though he concedes the promises “ended up being inaccurate.”
This is yet another calculated deception, a willful continuation of the fraudulent scheme. The president well knew that, in implementing the “grandfathering” provision, his administration wrote regulations so narrow that tens of millions of existing plans would be eliminated. Congressional Democrats knew this, too: When Republicans endeavored in 2010 to enact legislation that would have broadened the regulation into a meaningful safe harbor, Democrats closed ranks and voted down the proposal – including Democrats such as Senator Mary Landrieu, who now pretends to be a crusader in the cause of letting Americans keep their insurance.
Unable to deny that millions of Americans have lost the coverage he vowed they could keep, Obama and other Democrats are now peddling what we might call the “5 percent” con job. The president asserts that these victims, whom he feels so terribly about, nevertheless constitute a tiny, insignificant minority in the greater scheme of things (“scheme” is used advisedly). They are limited, he maintains, to consumers in the individual health-insurance market, as opposed to the vastly greater number of Americans who get insurance through their employers. According to Obama, these individual-market consumers whose policies are being canceled make up only 5 percent of all health-insurance consumers.
Even this 5 percent figure is a deception. As Avik Roy points out, the individual market actually accounts for 8 percent of health-insurance consumers. Obama can’t help himself: He even minimizes his minimizations. So, if Obama were telling the truth in rationalizing that his broken promises affect only consumers in the individual-insurance market, we’d still be talking about up to 25 million Americans. While the president shrugs these victims off, 25 million exceeds the number of Americans who do not have health insurance because of poverty or preexisting conditions (as opposed to those who could, but choose not to, purchase insurance). Of course, far from cavalierly shrugging off that smaller number of people, Obama and Democrats used them to justify nationalizing a sixth of the U.S. economy.