The Pryor Times

November 13, 2013

Health care choice another of Obama's broken promises

Taylor Armerding
CNHI News Service

— There is something fundamental about President Obama that too many Americans apparently do not understand: A promise is something he makes to achieve an objective – win an election, get a bill passed. It has nothing to do with telling the truth, nor is it something he feels the slightest moral obligation to keep.

He promised to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He hasn’t, and likely won’t. He promised major reforms to the Patriot Act, to protect the rights and privacy of Americans. He has done the opposite. Every time a provision of that law has been due to expire, the president has pushed to extend it. And he has presided over the most massive spying operation on American citizens in history.

He promised his would be the “most transparent administration in history.” Instead, it has been the most opaque, even in the judgment of liberal journalists.

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

So I’m genuinely puzzled by the momentary tempest - It will pass in another few weeks, when it's trumped by whatever the Kardashians or Miley Cyrus are doing - over the president’s broken promise that, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. 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.”

It is a promise he made dozens upon dozens of times without any qualification or caveat.

Yet, as millions of Americans are finding out, no, they can’t keep it, no matter what. As conservative columnist Michelle Malkin observed recently, “Obama lied. My health plan died.”

What she and millions of others apparently missed is that the point of that line was not to tell the truth. It was to sell the product. Now that the product is, as the president’s people put it, “settled law,” they find what they call “manufactured outrage” amusing and juvenile.

The president doesn’t need to run again. Who cares if he had to make blatantly false promises to achieve his “fundamental transformation of America”?

Outrage is generally applied to a gross aberration. This is normal for Obama. We trusted him – that’s our mistake, not his.

Sure, his people are now saying that’s not exactly what the president really meant, but that is just patronizing spin about how government knows so much better than we do about what is good for us.

It makes President Bill Clinton’s effort to dance around, “what the meaning of ‘is’ is," look amateurish.

First, if you are shocked that the president was lying, it’s your fault. The evidence was there more than three years ago – for some reason not all that well-covered at the time by an adoring press corps.

In this case, it came down to what the meaning of “plan” is. While the original law did have language preserving the right of people to maintain their existing coverage, the president’s Health and Human Services Department changed that in 2010 to apply only to plans as they existed at that moment.

It published a regulation saying that if such a plan were amended in the slightest – like increasing a copayment by a few bucks – then it would no longer be “grandfathered.” It would have to comply with all of the provisions of Obamacare.

This, of course, means that people who liked the fact that they could choose what level of coverage they wanted – some wanted only catastrophic coverage, some didn’t need or want maternity coverage or mental health coverage etc. – would no longer have that choice.

HHS did acknowledge during a debate over that language in September 2010 that somewhere between 34 percent and 80 percent of those policies would lose their grandfathered status. Of course, the president never amended or clarified his guarantee. But, if you weren’t paying attention to every moment of that debate, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

And if you don’t like it? Well, you don’t know or understand the new, government-approved, meaning of the word “like.” Big Nanny is now explaining that while we may have thought we liked our plan, we weren’t supposed to like it because it didn’t have all the things that Obamacare now requires health plans to provide.

You must buy benefits you don’t want at a price you don’t want to pay because government knows better than you what you need, which is that everybody in America needs the same things. You know, just like a house in the Deep South needs the same kind of heating and insulation that one in the Dakotas does. You’re much too dumb to make those choices yourself.

Sure, they’re taking away your plan. But they’re offering you a better one, and declaring that, in many cases, it won’t cost you any more – it may even cost less if you qualify for subsidies.

More for less – what’s not to like? And who’s going to pay for it? Don’t worry about that. Stop being so negative.

As critics of Obamacare are belatedly saying, this is all by design: Reduce choice and raise prices in the individual and small-group insurance market to force millions of people into the Obamacare exchanges. Destroy the private market so the liberal dream of a single-payer, government-run system can be achieved.

It’s a system sold and built on lies.

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net