Saturday’s Wall Street Journal unveiled the smoking howitzer in the Obamacare “keep your plan” caper. In addition to proving that the White House and Obama willfully and constantly lied about Americans’ ability to keep their health insurance, the Journal also found Senate Democrats’ fingerprints all over Obama’s weapon of mass deception.
Colleen McCain Nelson, Peter Nicholas, and Carol E. Lee interviewed more than a dozen Obama advisers who helped to prepare Obamacare, pitch it to the American people, and pound it through Congress. Even these committed Obamites — including several in the White House — worried that Obama’s now-pulverized promise went too far.
Obama now infamously pledged: “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” Obama uttered these and extremely similar words at least two dozen times, New York magazine estimates.
According to the Journal, “Aides discussed whether Mr. Obama might use more in-depth discussions, such as media interviews, to explain the nuances of the succinct line in his stump speeches, a former aide said. Officials worried, though, that delving into details such as the small number of people who might lose insurance could be confusing and would clutter the president’s message.”
“You try to talk about health care in broad, intelligible points that cut through, and you inevitably lose some accuracy when you do that,” one ex-official told the Journal. This individual added that it would have been harder to sell Obamacare if Obama had shouted from the hustings: “If you like your plan, you can probably keep it.”
The Journal reported that “some White House policy advisers objected to the breadth of Mr. Obama’s ‘keep your plan’ promise. They were overruled by political aides.”
So, after stopping, taking deep breaths, and seriously pondering whether Obama should continue peddling his phony guarantee, Team Obama deliberately decided to hide the truth — that millions of Americans would lose their health plans. Instead, they chose to double down on the lies.
It is not possible to believe that Obama was unaware of these concerns and conversations, particularly regarding what was his primary legislative priority and is the keystone of his entire presidential legacy.
Marc Thiessen, former chief speechwriter to President G. W. Bush, wrote in today’s Washington Post that Team Obama’s institutionalized deceit is alien to the process he and his colleagues followed in the Bush White House.
“I cannot imagine a scenario in which the fact-checkers or White House policy advisers would tell us that something in a draft speech was factually incorrect and that guidance would be ignored or overruled by the president’s political advisers,” Thiessen explained. “This whole episode is a window into a fundamentally dishonest presidency.”
(Before the Left breathlessly excavates its “Bush lied, people died” cue cards, they should remember that scores of leaders across the political spectrum thought Saddam Hussein stockpiled weapons of mass death. Then-senators Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.), John Kerry (D., Mass.), 27 other Senate Democrats, and 82 House Democrats believed this (or they all lied, too) and voted to follow Bush into war. So did the chiefs of 33 foreign countries. They all were disinformed by the late Saddam Hussein, who had WMDs, although fewer than anticipated by Bush, Clinton, Kerry, 107 other Democrats, and America’s allies. Indeed, many of Hussein’s own generals considered his arsenal far more ferocious than it was. This grossly exaggerated perception of Baathist strength helped Hussein intimidate his neighbors far more effectively than if they had known the truth. In fact, one could say far more accurately: “Hussein lied, people died.”)
The bitter fruit of Obama’s mendacity is the 3.75 million Americans who liked their health plans and already have lost them. A population greater than Connecticut’s is seeing its plans cancelled by insurance companies that have no choice but to obey federal law and offer ten new areas of “essential benefits” that their clients may not need or even want. These include maternity care (perfect for post-menopausal women), pediatric dental coverage (ideal for childless gay men), and substance-abuse services (just what teetotalers ordered). Paying for federally mandated benefits costs money, just as adding sunroofs, leather seats, and GPS systems to cars will boost their price tags. Since insurers may not sell policies that lack these new, often extraneous benefits, they have no option but to cancel these “substandard” plans, as Obama condescendingly calls them.
To their massive credit, Senate Republicans tried to prevent the exact cancellation epidemic now sweeping the nation.
Three years ago, Senator Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 39. It would have expressed Senate disapproval of Obamacare’s “grandfathered health plan” rules, which are forcing insurers to cancel millions of health plans.
“The administration published a regulation that will fundamentally change the health-insurance plans of millions of Americans,” Enzi explained as the Senate debated this measure on September 29, 2010. “The reality of this new regulation is, if you like what you have, you can’t keep it.”
“If we pass the resolution, millions of Americans will be spared from paying higher health-care costs as a result of new federal mandates,” Enzi added. “If we pass the resolution, small businesses across the country will not have to drop health insurance for their workers. . . . I even have letters from people who have individual situations, and they are concerned as well.”
Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) marveled at the Obama administration’s ability to convert a legislative snowflake into a regulatory avalanche. “They turned two pages of this 2,733-page bill — two pages — into 121 pages of regulation.”
“This resolution is a political stunt,” replied Senator Max Baucus, who eventually denounced Obamacare as a “train wreck.” Back then, however, the Montana Democrat continued, “This resolution is an attempt by the other side to dismantle the new health-care-reform law piece by piece. . . . This resolution invites the insurance companies to continue to put profits before patients.”
After two hours of discussion, the Senate voted on a motion to proceed on Enzi’s measure. Alas, it failed with 40 yeas and 59 nays.
Every Republican present voted to reject Obama’s rules that squeezed so-called grandfathered insurance plans and now are killing them. (Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski missed this vote.)
Democrats voted unanimously to keep those policies in the chokehold that today has become a death grip.
The millions of Americans who lost and will lose their insurance plans should remember that Obama straight-out lied to the nation in order to pass Obamacare. He did not “deliberately mislead,” or “repeatedly misinform” people. There is no need for seven or eight soft, pretty syllables to obscure the ugly, monosyllabic truth about what repeatedly rolled out of Obama’s mouth: lies.
And Senate Democrats could have spurned Obama’s lies, even after he enshrined them in the Federal Register. Instead, each and every Senate Democrat voted to embrace Obama’s lies and leave Americans defenseless against them.
While it’s too late to vote Obama out of office, a dozen Democrats will face the voters one year hence. Americans should take note of their names and terminate their political careers. These Democrats deserve to return to the very same private sector that they voted to torment:
Mark Begich of Alaska
Richard Durbin of Illinois
Al Franken of Minnesota
Kay Hagan of North Carolina
Mary Landrieu of Louisiana
Jeff Merkley of Oregon
Mark Pryor of Arkansas
Jack Reed of Rhode Island
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire
Mark Udall of Colorado
Tom Udall of New Mexico
Mark Warner of Virginia