By now, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of insurance cancellation notices that have been sent, it is well known that President Obama’s repeated assurances that if you like your current insurance and doctor you can keep them were not true.
And thanks to the recent reporting of CNN (where were they and the other media three years ago, when we needed them?), more people will realize that shortly after the passage of Obamacare the Obama administration implemented rules specifically designed to ensure that millions of people — those who provided for themselves on the individual market, i.e., who did not receive coverage through their employer or union — would not be allowed to keep their current insurance. Thus not only were Obama’s assurances untrue; they were purposeful deceit in which a supine press was complicit.
Actually, not “were” but “are,” since Obama has not acknowledged their inaccuracy, although the White House does now admit that a paltry 5% of the population who were so gullible as to buy what they mistakenly thought was insurance from “bad apple” insurers may have to “shop around” in the wonderful new exchanges he has created.
In a Friday (Nov. 1) press conference, Jay Carney insisted that “only a fraction of the population, estimated to be five percent, might end up losing their existing health insurance,” and in a Boston appearance two days earlier the president was, as usual, even more expansive in praise of his own creation.
One of the things health reform was designed to do was to help not only the uninsured but also the underinsured. And there are a number of Americans, fewer than 5 percent of Americans, who’ve got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident.
Now if you had one of these substandard plans before the Affordable Care Act became law and you really liked that plan, you were able to keep it. That’s what I said when I was running for office.
That was part of the promise we made.
Actually, as everyone who has heard the nearly endless loop of Obama’s “you can keep them” assurances and received or heard of all the cancellation letters must know by now, that was no part of the promise that Obama made.
What everyone does not know — because it has not been widely reported — is that in attempting to respond to the “you can keep them” lie the White House has been repeating a second big lie just as serious as the first: that “only a fraction of the population” (Carney), “fewer than 5 per cent” (Obama), are the only victims, that the approximately 80% who get their insurance from their employer, union, or government program will in fact be able to keep their insurance.
No, they will not, and the administration and its Democratic supporters know they will not. Although recent attention has been focused on all the individual insurance holders losing coverage, the administration’s 2010 rules were written to undermine employer-provided insurance as well. John Hinderaker of the Powerline blog has looked at those rules and found that the intent was clear:
The bottom line is that the administration expected 51% of all employer plans to be terminated as a result of Obamacare. That is the mid-range estimate; the high-end estimate was 69%. So as of 2010, the Obama administration planned that most Americans with employer-sponsored health care plans would lose them, whether they liked those plans or not….
The administration never intended to allow any American to keep a non-Obamacare insurance policy for any length of time.
In September 2010, CNN has reported, Republicans in the Senate introduced legislation to reverse the new regulations. Hinderaker quotes Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi’s introductory comments pointing out that that the new regs made a lie of Obama’s “you can keep them” promise, for those on employer-provided as well as individual plans. “The regulation,” Sen. Enzi stated, “is crystal clear. Most businesses — the administration estimates between 39 and 69 percent — will not be able to keep the coverage they have.”
CNN noted that “Senate Democrats” (including many who now act surprised about all the policy cancellations they failed to prevent) “voted unanimously three years ago to support the Obamacare rule that is largely responsible for some of the health insurance cancellation letters” now going out.
The only mentions I have seen of Obama’s second big lie in the press are in two excellent recent contributions to Forbes online. Charles Conover thoroughly analyzed the impact of the June 2010 regulations and estimates:
if Obamacare is fully implemented, at least 129 million (68%) will not be able to keep their previous health care plan either because they already have or will lose that coverage by the end of 2014. This includes:
9.2 to 15.4 million in the non-group market
16.6 million in the small group market
102.7 million in the large group market
“In short,” Conover concludes, “the ‘vast majority’ are not keeping their health plans,” which the administration ensured (pardon the pun) by its June 2010 regulations. “Statements to the contrary are flatly untrue.”
A day later, and independent of Conover’s analysis, Avik Roy reached the same conclusion, noting that the administration’s regulations would and were intended to produce “massive disruption of the private insurance market.” Not just the for those with individual plans, he emphasized, “but also the market for employer-sponsored health insurance.”
Actually, the new regs did keep Obama’s promise to one special interest group of his supporters: unions. “Union plans,” Betsy McCaughey writes, “were ‘grandfathered’ with none of those fine print tricks and exceptions. (Sec. 1251(d)).”
The following is from the Congressional Record, Sept. 29, 2010, p. S7690:
Mr. ENZI. According to the administration, in small businesses, 80 percent of the people — unless this is passed — will lose the insurance they have and like, and in all businesses 69 percent will. Those are not my numbers; those are the administration’s numbers.
Mr. McCAIN . But isn’t it also true that is the case for small business and people and entrepreneurs all over America except the unions? Isn’t that true? Isn’t this a carve-out again, part of this sleaze that went into putting this bill together, part of the “Cornhusker kickback,” the “Louisiana purchase,” the buying of PhRMA…. Part of one of those sweetheart deals was the unions are exempt; is that correct?
Mr. ENZI. That is correct.
The recent attempt to claim, in effect, that Obama broke his promise only to “fewer than 5 percent of Americans,” as the president just claimed in Boston, is as big a lie as his repeated “if you like them you can keep them” assurances.
Unless, that is, your insurance is provided through a union.
It is becoming increasingly clear that when government controls health care, winners and losers are chosen by politicians for political reasons.