Politics & Policy

Obama’s Big Lie

The president and his administration have lied, and lied, and lied again.

‘If I like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.”

Had Obama shouted that slogan before, during, and after the debate over Obamacare, he would have been honest about an ugly aspect of the (un)Affordable Care Act that, CBS News reports, already has cost some 2 million Americans their health insurance — including yours truly.

Instead, Obama lied, and lied, and lied again.

In one of at least 23 utterances of this shattered promise that Dan Amira catalogued for New York magazine, Obama said: “If you like your current insurance, you keep that insurance. Period. End of story.”

As recently as June 28, 2012, Obama said: “If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

Obama spoke two years and 11 days after the Federal Register published regulations on June 17, 2010, that put individual-market plans in stress positions and threatened to prohibit them if they blinked. (See pages 34553 and 34560.) In some cases, a mere $5.21 increase in co-insurance could ungrandfather and effectively illegalize a policy.

As NBC News’s Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye reported on October 29, while Obama spewed lies, “the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.” So, among the 10.9 million individual-policy holders whom the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation identified last November, Obama & Co. knew that roughly 4.4 million to 7.3 million would lose their plans — even if they liked them.

Obama’s big lie continues today. Incredibly, as of this morning, the White House website insisted: “If you like your plan you can keep it and you don’t have to change a thing due to the health care law.”

Wednesday’s Washington Post awarded Obama four out of four Pinocchios for this deception, the mainstream newspaper’s deepest dishonor for the damnedest lies. “The president’s statements were sweeping and unequivocal – and made both before and after the bill became law,” Post fact checker Gerald Kessler wrote. “The White House now cites technicalities to avoid admitting that he went too far in his repeated pledge, which, after all, is one of the most famous statements of his presidency.”

It long has been considered indelicate to use the word “lie” in political rhetoric. Terms like “mislead,” “dissemble,” and “spread falsehoods” supposedly are more polite. However, such dainty language trivializes immoral acts and partially exculpates immoral actors. Moreover, it undermines the truth. Describing Bonnie and Clyde as shoplifters might be more sensitive than calling them bank robbers. However, that would disguise their evil and also be untrue.

Obama is a Harvard-educated lawyer, a former University of Chicago law professor, and a policy wonk with a deep and long-standing interest in health-care reform. It is impossible to believe that he did not know he was lying when he repeatedly said Americans could keep the health plans they liked, “period,” even after his administration promulgated regulations that now deny people such coverage. This is called lying.

Beyond lies, Obamacare’s other active ingredient is condescending, paternalistic, surgical-grade arrogance.

Obama greeted the cancellation of coverage for at least 2 million Americans by attacking the intelligence of those now losing their insurance. These “substandard” and “cut rate” plans, he says, are sold by “bad-apple insurers” (e.g., Blue Cross? Blue Shield?). Obama also has dismissed these individual plans as “Acme insurance.” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday, “A lot of them are not true insurance plans.” U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D., N.J.) dubbed them “lousy, skeletal policies.”

Obama already is blaming insurance companies for cancelling these plans. In fact, as Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute observes, these insurance companies simply are obeying federal law when they stop selling plans that do not comply with Obamacare’s edicts. Obama’s blaming insurers for dropping their clients is like a Prohibitionist denouncing a bar owner for not pouring drinks. Let’s just say this was not exactly the saloon keeper’s idea.

As always, Obama points fingers at supposedly evil private companies who dupe doe-eyed Americans who are too stupid to select products that satisfy their needs and budgets. As Obama said Wednesday in Boston, “For the fewer than 5 percent of Americans who buy insurance on your own, you will be getting a better deal.”

How dare he? Who is Obama to dictate to American adults what kind of plan is “better” than another?

I am a 49-year-old law-abiding American citizen of, I am told, above-average intelligence. I should be free to keep my insurance, with which I have been perfectly content. Instead, Easy Choice Health Plan of New York has cancelled my coverage effective December 31, because it does not include “a core set of comprehensive benefits” that are “required by federal health care reform, called the Affordable Care Act (the ‘ACA’).” All health plans now must feature these “minimum standards,” as Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney calls them. They include — among many other things — hearing aids, post-natal care, and pediatric vision and dental services.  

Why is this “better” for me? While I sometimes could listen more carefully, I can hear just fine. Why must I insure against glasses and teeth cleanings for children I do not have?

And why should post-menopausal women purchase birth-control and maternity-care coverage — neither of which they need, and which work at cross purposes?

Obamacare is desperately seeking healthy 20-somethings to buy insurance they rarely need to subsidize older people who frequently require medical attention. How many keg-draining fraternity brothers will crave Obamacare when they discover that they must pay for plans with hearing-device and post-natal coverage?

If Obama had signed the Affordable Car Act and now presided over Obamacar, he would be running around telling Ford Focus owners, “You don’t need that substandard vehicle. The Lincoln-Continental MKZ Hybrid is better for you. It offers federally mandated essential automotive benefits, such as leather-trimmed seats, an adaptive suspension, and hands-free Bluetooth accessories. Yes, the Ford costs $16,310, while the Lincoln is $36,190. But let me be clear: You may qualify for subsidies!”

Amid Obamacare’s insufferable parade of absurdities, this one should place this entire stinking mess in perspective: Obama will fight relentlessly for a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. But if she chooses to cover it through her “substandard” insurance, he will make sure that she cannot keep the plan she likes. Period. End of story.

— Deroy Murdock is a Fox News Contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributor to National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


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