Critical Condition

It’s the Thought That Counts

Today’s New York Times offers up a “primer on the details of the health care overhaul.” The primer, by Robert Pear and David Herszenhorn, debunks President Obama’s claim to the AMA that “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.” I’ve explained earlier that the president has interpreted this pledge to mean that the government will not actively take away health plans, but that if insurance companies stop offering certain plans as a result of new rules stemming from the health-care overhaul or because of subsidized competition from a government-run plan, that would not count as the government taking away your plan. Pear and Herszenhorn offer a similar assessment of the president’s promise, saying that “these assurances reflect as aspiration, but may not be literally true or enforceable.” They go on to quote Dallas Salisbury, one of the nation’s leading experts on employer-sponsored benefits, who concludes that “the President and Democrats in Congress are saying what they would like. Their promises may not literally be true because your health plan may change, and your doctor may no longer accept your insurance.”

Tevi Troy is a presidential historian and former White House aide. His latest book is Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump.