Millions of Americans are waking up this week to the realization that the health care plans they liked will no longer be available because they don’t satisfy the requirements set forth in the risibly named Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The total number who have already lost their coverage is about two million, a number that Democrats have tried hard to downplay. Though two million is certainly a minority in a country with a population of about 315 million, that’s still more than the individual populations of fourteen states and the District of Columbia. And that’s just in the first month of (almost) full implementation. The future forebodes more.
President Obama was unequivocal and repetitious in his assurances that anyone who wanted to stick with their current plan would be allowed to do so. In an odd turn of events, an actual journalist posed an actual question about this to Press Secretary Jay Carney. I must admit that I was shocked, though less so when I found out that it was Ed Henry, a Fox News reporter. No wonder liberals want him excluded from the press pool.
Carney’s response is lengthy, so I’ll boil it down. He said that though some may lose their plans, that’s understandable because the law requires all sorts of coverage that some old, affordable plans didn’t offer, but that’s okay because people will now be able to choose from a host of new plans that offer government-approved coverage. And they’ll only be a little more expensive.
But that’s not what Mr. Carney’s boss promised. “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people,” said the President. “…If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take that away. No matter what.”
What the government has done is essentially outlawed bare-bones plans that served many people well because they did only what insurance is supposed to do—provide care in case of catastrophic injury or illness. He essentially mandated “Cadillac health plans” when what many people wanted was a trusty old Chevy. As if people couldn’t have bought the Cadillac plans before, of their own volition.
There’s now evidence that everyone in Washington knew that this was going to happen. Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Democrat who voted for Obamacare, made a stunning admission: “We knew that there would be some policies that would not qualify and therefore people would be required to get more extensive coverage.” Another reporter prodded him on the inconsistency, to which he replied, “I think the message was accurate. It was not precise enough…[it] should have been caveated with –‘assuming you have a policy that does in fact do what this bill is designed to do.”
You can keep your Chevy as long as it’s a Cadillac.
It’s more than a little strange that, in all of the many instances in which the president and others made the identical promise, they never managed to include that caveat. They were clear. No one would lose their plan. No one.
The White House website maintains to this very moment that the ACA will permit those who like their plans to keep them. Under the heading “Health Care Reform Reality Check” the site directs the public to a Youtube clip from Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform, which “debunks the myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.”
So rest easy tonight. The Ministry of Truth says everything’s gonna be all right. The site continues: “Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to ‘uncover’ the truth about the President’s health insurance reform positions.” The page asserts that conservative critics who claimed that Obamacare would mean the end of their plans are dead wrong. Because the president said he wouldn’t do that.
Bam! Debunked, sucka!
The website has further instructions for good Obamabots. “As part of our effort to push back on the misinformation about health insurance reform, we’ve launched Whitehouse.gov/realitycheck. It’s full of videos and tools you can use to share the facts with your friends and family.”
The site then encourages people to snitch on anyone who says otherwise. “If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org”
Lois Lerner will get right on it, lickety-split.
You can show your stupid, old, Tea Party-affiliated uncle that he can keep his plan if he wants, because that’s what is says on the website. And he can show you his policy cancellation notice. The two of you can compare notes and then you can call him a tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist who believes chain emails. And a racist.
Everyone knew that President Obama was making a promise which he could not possibly deliver upon. Requiring more coverage, while covering people with preexisting conditions and “children” who are old enough to serve in Congress would not be cheap. Ergo, cheap plans had to be eliminated. The math simply didn’t work any other way.
As Nancy Pelosi once famously remarked, “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it.” Smart lady, that Nancy. She was more right than she knew.