The Corner

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Lie, Lie Again

It seems safe to say that contrition isn’t exactly Barack Obama’s strong suit. Even while Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius was admitting yesterday to Congress that the Obamacare rollout has been a “debacle,” President Obama was in Massachusetts (the perfect place to pretend there is no disconnect between reverence for America’s founding principles and reverence for Obamacare) touting his centerpiece legislation as a “no-brainer” that, presumably, no one with a brain could oppose.

In recent days, both NBC News and the Washington Post have conveyed that Obama lied, repeatedly and egregiously, to the American people when he said, “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan.” In yesterday’s speech, Obama disingenuously suggested that insurers’ recent cancellations of an abundance of plans have nothing to do with Obamacare. Never mind that, in many cases (namely, when plans don’t meet Obamacare’s expansive mandated-coverage requirements or its narrow grandfathering requirements), Obamacare has outright banned these plans. As Obama put it, “Some Americans who have health-insurance plans that they bought on their own through the old individual market are getting notices from their insurance companies suggesting that somehow, because of the Affordable Care Act, they may be losing their existing health-insurance plan.”

The president then called such plans “substandard,” “cut-rate plans” that were sold by “bad-apple insurers” (presumably like Florida Blue) who, before Obamacare, had “free rein” to do bad things like “bill you into bankruptcy.” He then falsely, and patronizingly, declared, “Now, if you had one of these substandard plans before the Affordable Care Act became law and you really liked that plan, you’re able to keep it. . . . That was part of the promise we made.”

Obama then quickly moved on to modifying that promise, however, saying that “nobody is losing their right to health-care coverage.” (That’s a far cry from, “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan.”) He then said, “For the vast majority of people who have health insurance that works, you can keep it” (italics added). So if your plan “works,” you can (probably) keep it. In other words, if Obama likes your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan.

Obama also claimed that “employers with more than 50 employees are required to either provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty—again, because they shouldn’t just dump off those costs onto the rest of us.” He made no mention of the fact that he has lawlessly delayed that requirement for next year; that he threatened to veto House legislation (which passed with the support of 35 Democrats) that aimed to provide legal support for that delay; and that he said he didn’t care what Congress thought of his law-changing because (as he told the New York Times), “If Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. . . . But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions—very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers.” Elsewhere in his speech, Obama also declared (for the benefit of the truly credulous) that Obamacare “will actually help lower the deficit.” And he added that the debate over Obamacare “has never been about right or left.”

Of course, that’s exactly what it’s about, and Obama knows it. It’s about whether Americans are a free people who have the unalienable right to keep the fruits of their own labor and freely decide for themselves whether or not to buy health insurance, even health insurance that someone else might call “substandard.” It’s about whether an administration that can’t roll out a website should be put in charge of American medicine. It’s about whether a president who lies to the American people can be trusted with matters of their health. It’s about whether ever more power and money should be consolidated and concentrated in the nation’s capital, at the expense of everyday Americans’ liberty and prosperity. And it’s about whether Barack Obama’s vision of America will prevail, or whether George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan’s vision of America will prevail.

As Charles Kesler puts it,

The more one ponders [Obama’s] electoral, policy, and longer political agenda, the more the health care bill stands out as the centerpiece of the whole political enterprise. Stop it . . . and you have a good chance of stopping the transformation he seeks. Fail . . . and you permit what can be called, without exaggeration, gradual regime change at home. For the health care question involves . . . nothing less than the form of government and the habits and character of the American people.

Obamacare will decide Obama’s legacy. Depending upon what happens over the next three and a half years with his signature legislation, he will either be known as the man who entrenched the progressive commitment to big government, or discredited it.

Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the newly formed 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Broward’s Cowards

It is impossible to imagine circumstances under which Broward County sheriff Scott Israel could attempt to perform his duties with the confidence of the public. He should resign immediately, and if, as he promises, he refuses to go quietly, then he should be shown the door by the people he professes to ... Read More

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

CNN’s Shameful Town Hall

CNN recently hosted an anti-gun town hall featuring a number of grieving children and parents from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who aimed their ire at the National Rifle Association, politicians peripherally associated with the NRA, and anyone who didn’t say exactly what they wanted to hear. ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More