Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 7:57 pm

Obama lied about keeping your existing health-insurance policy … or DID he?

Actually, The Washington Post (among others) did the lying, as economist Dean Baker helpfully notes:

The Washington Post joined Republicans in hyping the fact that many individual insurance policies are being cancelled with insurers telling people that the reason is the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The second paragraph comments on this fact:

“The notices [of plan cancellation] appear to contradict President Obama’s promise that despite the changes resulting from the law, Americans can keep their health insurance if they like it.”

It would have been useful to point out that the plans that were in effect as of the passage of the ACA were grandfathered. This means that any insurers that cancel plans that were in effect prior to 2010 are being misleading if they tell their customers that the cancellation was due to the ACA. It was not a mandate of the ACA that led to the cancellation of the plan, but rather a decision of the insurer based on market conditions.

But Obama is black!

Also, if you really want to know what’s going on in the economy, just read Baker’s blog every day. It’s called Beat The Press, and that’s what it does. Pretty much the only thing he ever posts about is mistakes made by major news-media outlets in coverage of economics, and he never lacks for material, averaging about 3-4 posts per day. He also doesn’t have to go far afield for material: The major print, broadcast and cable outlets keep him supplied without his having to go beat up on a 22-year-old cub reporter in East Buttville to flesh out an item. I started reading him several years ago, and in less than a week, I arrived at the conclusion that where economics coverage is concerned, American news  media just ought to be ashamed, full stop. This matters not only in and of itself but also because the income and wealth of working people and the middle class are under siege right now by the 1%, who are counting on people’s economic ignorance to let them do what they want to do, which is rob us blind. Baker is our Thin Blue Line. Read him and support him.


  1. 43 months after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, another national establishment press outlet has called President Barack Obama’s serially made promise that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health plan” a lie. Specifically, Washington Post designated fact-checker Glenn Kessler has given it “four Pinocchios,” the lowest possible rating on his scale reserved for “whoppers.”

    Four Pinocchios

    “The administration is defending this pledge with a rather slim reed — that there is nothing in the law that makes insurance companies force people out of plans they were enrolled in before the law passed. That explanation conveniently ignores the regulations written by the administration to implement the law. Moreover, it also ignores the fact that the purpose of the law was to bolster coverage and mandate a robust set of benefits, whether someone wanted to pay for it or not.
    The president’s statements were sweeping and unequivocal — and made both before and after the bill became law. 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.
    The president’s promise apparently came with a very large caveat: ‘If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan — if we deem it to be adequate.’ “

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Wednesday, October 30, 2013 8:10 pm @ 8:10 pm

  2. Yeah, I read that. As you know, I think Kessler is an idiot, but here he touches, at least in passing, on one of the two main drivers of the phenomenon: private insurance companies are greedy asshats and Obama was a fool to trust them even after throwing them tens of millions of new customers. The other main driver is that a lot of plans out there are so crappy that they don’t meet minimum federal standards. But a funny thing about competition: people are going onto the exchanges and finding better plans for the same money (even less in some cases). How many? I don’t know and neither does anyone else because the government won’t release data, which it should certainly do as soon as it can.

    So, yeah, Obama said something “sweeping and unequivocal” when in fact he was counting on an industry he couldn’t control to do the right thing of its own volition, which is nearly always a mistake. Less forgivably, he kept on saying it even after he should have known it wasn’t true. So, yeah, he lied. So did Bush about the cost of Medicare Part D, to the point of ordering government economists to falsify their numbers, a fact that came out very soon after the law was enacted.

    So: Boo, Obama. The question is, what does it mean for the ACA? Nothing, really. Until we get hard numbers from the government and more polls from the field, we won’t know whether the plan worked as, or nearly as, it was supposed to or not, and we won’t know what proportion of Americans, if any, are happy with their own personal outcomes. And, as you know, I don’t read the future. But my guess? Once the roll-out problems are fixed (which I’ve already said might not be as soon as Obama says, given their nature), a majority of Americans will support the plan either as is or with minor, pro-consumer modifications.

    And while Republicans are welcome to argue about the specifics of implementation, I really don’t want, or intend, to listen to any more crap from them about the law itself. It was THEIR LAW. It was created in THEIR THINK TANK. It was THEIR RESPONSE TO HILLARYCARE. It was rolled out in Massachusetts by one of THEIR GOVERNORS. They own it just as much as Obama does. The average voter doesn’t understand that, I know. But I don’t think it will be hard to explain.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, October 30, 2013 8:58 pm @ 8:58 pm

  3. It’s both obfuscation – and outright LIES.

    The Dem explanation is basically – “the President never said that, exactly”…or, “Grandfathered” means if your current plan terms and costs don’t change – yet EVERY PLAN must change to meet all the requirements of the ACA.

    So, were Obama’s statements – including up to this week – an outright lie, a deliberate misdirection, or a carefully constructed narrative intended to lull the LIFs and sheeple Dems into a soporific state of belief?

    In the end, it does not matter – a lie is a lie, and those in Gov’t who support Obama in his lies/misdirection are as evil as Obama himself..

    Oh where did this come from .. ” federal standards” Yassa big nanny/

    And those evil insurance companies .. Chortel

    The Obamacare Awakening

    ” For all of the Affordable Care Act’s technical problems, at least one part is working on schedule. The law is systematically dismantling the individual insurance market, as its architects intended from the start.

    The millions of Americans who are receiving termination notices because their current coverage does not conform to Health and Human Services Department rules may not realize this is by design. Maybe they trusted President Obama’s repeated falsehood that people who liked their health plans could keep them. But Americans should understand that this month’s mass cancellation wave has been the President’s political goal since 2008. Liberals believe they must destroy the market in order to save it ”

    And finally

    ” HHS wrote that the purpose was to offer merely “a small number of meaningful choices.” Letting people make tradeoffs for themselves “would have allowed extremely wide variation across plans in the benefits offered” and “would not have assured consumers that they would have coverage for basic benefits.” Forced equity again trumped individual choice.

    Hard to believe, but at the time liberals complained that this HHS “essential health benefits” rule wasn’t restrictive enough. Pediatric services stop being required at age 19, not 21, and what about speech therapy, medical foods or lactation services?

    Liberals needn’t have worried. Once customers are herded into the exchanges, HHS has the power to further standardize benefits, further limit choices by barring certain insurers from selling through selective contracting, and generally police the insurers to behave like the government franchises they now are. The state-run exchanges in Vermont and the District of Columbia have already barred individual coverage outside their exchanges.

    None of this is an accident. It is the deliberate result of the liberal demand that everyone have essentially the same coverage and that government must dictate what that coverage is and how much it costs. Such political control is the central nervous system of the Affordable Care Act, and it is why so many people can’t keep the insurance they like. ”

    (Everybody is an idiot but you and blame kit on the Republicans. … Pathetic )

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, October 31, 2013 12:17 am @ 12:17 am

  4. OOPS

    This was meant to be a hyperlink

    The Obamacare Awakeming

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, October 31, 2013 12:23 am @ 12:23 am

  5. You do realize, do you not, that far from limiting choices (which are pretty damned limited now given the statewide monopolies of insurers in most states), big nanny government is offering MORE choices to consumers by introducing competition in states where there was none? If not, then I’d be real careful about throwing around adjectives like “pathetic.” And if so, then your argument, such as it is, falls apart.

    Comment by Lex — Thursday, October 31, 2013 9:31 am @ 9:31 am

  6. More choices ( ? ) but not this one as promised.

    And you do realize that these were deliberate and calculated lies. If you can’t accept that and keep on defending this trainwreck, then well ok not pathetic but sadly wrong and curiously implacable.


    “None of this is an accident. It is the deliberate result of the liberal demand that everyone have essentially the same coverage and that government must dictate what that coverage is and how much it costs. Such political control is the central nervous system of the Affordable Care Act, and it is why so many people can’t keep the insurance they like”.

    POWERLINE ( 10-31-31 )

    ” President Obama went to Boston and spoke at Fanueil Hall to promote Obamacare yesterday.

    Obamacare: It’s not just a leftist Democratic fiasco. It’s Republican too! ( WHICH YOU LATCHED ONTO ) That was the theme of the speech. As I RECALL Republicans unanimously opposed the nationalization of health care.

    One measure of the deep dishonesty of the speech is Obama’s treatment one of the foundational lies of Obamacare, variously stated many times: “If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance.”

    Transcript of Boston Speech

    Even so, Obama slightly modifies this particular foundational lie: “For the vast majority of people who have health insurance that works, you can keep it” (emphasis added). That’s not the way I remember it, but thanks, bub. Incidentally, David Frum has come out as another victim (or chump) of Obamacare. David Harsanyi explains “Obamacare’s ugly authoritarian problem.” Demagogy is a handy prop for authoritarians, and Obama deploys it in full force here as elsewhere.

    This week’s NBC News story belies the lines Obama was peddling in Boston. Nevertheless, it’s hard to keep up. He’s lying as fast as he can and he’s remarkably adept at it.”


    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:03 pm @ 2:03 pm

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