The Obama Administration’s Response to Insurance Plan Cancellations Is Misleading and Condescending

Whitehouse.govWhitehouse.govThe Obama administration’s response to a spate of recent stories reporting that individuals would lose access to their current health plans as a result of Obamacare—despite explicit presidential promises that this would never happen—has been a combination of misdirection and bullshit.

The latter can be found in blame-shifting retorts like this one, from senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, who tweeted the following on Monday evening: “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.”

The important notion here is that if anything happens that people don't like, it's not the administration's fault. But the administration clearly played the key role in the insurance market changes that led to plans being canceled. No, the health law doesn’t force insurers to cancel plans in progress, but it does institute a slew of new requirements that were certain to result in health insurers dropping current plans for millions of people as the yearly contracts for those plans come up for renewal. 

This fact that Obamacare makes it impossible for insurers to keep selling many of today’s health plans simply isn’t up for debate. Even the White House admits as much. As Press Secretary Jay Carney said earlier this week, “It's true that there are existing health care plans on the individual market that don't meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act.” Those plans will be regulated out of existence by Obamacare. 

And there’s no question that the administration knew this would be the effect all along. Republicans warned over and over that people would lose their existing health plans under the law. And as NBC News reported earlier this week, regulations issued by the administration back in 2010 estimated that, as written, the new rules would interact with the existing insurance market in such a way that between 40 and 67 percent of the individual market policies on the market would lose their safe, grandfathered status under the law.

Indeed, the administration chose to write these rules strictly and narrowly, making grandfathered status not particularly easy to retain. That ensured that relatively few plans would be protected—and that plans held by millions of people would be affected. The administration knew from the beginning what the result would be, and issued the rules anyway, which is to say that they weren't just aware of these effects, they intended them. 

Yet in speech after speech, President Obama repeated the statement that “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan”—sometimes even  strengthening the end of the line to: “You’ll be able to keep your health plan, period.”

Period.

Which brings us to the misdirection. President Obama’s insistence that people would be able to keep their current plans if they wanted to didn’t come with any disclaimers or caveats. Yet one of the emerging lines from the administration and its allies is that, yes, it's true that some individual market plans will no longer qualify under the law's coverage standards. But the insurance plans being dropped are so flimsy as to practically not count as insurance at all. And thanks to Obamacare, people in today’s individual market can now shop for better plans through the law’s exchanges, where they’ll be eligible for subsidies to defray any cost concerns.

The argument here, essentially, is that anyone whose plan gets canceled didn’t really like his or her plan—that, even though the beneficiary might not know it, the plan being canceled wasn’t worth having anyway.

It’s a fundamentally condescending argument that makes a blanket assumption that people don’t know whether or not they liked their plan. It’s also a bunch of nonsense.

The administration can’t possibly know what sort of insurance each and every individual likes or wants, and it can’t account for the people who are losing plans that clearly did meet the needs of the individuals who purchased them.

Take the example of Robert Laszewski, an influential and widely quoted health insurance industry consultant. His individual market plan was recently canceled because, according to his insurer, it’s not good enough under Obamacare. Does he really not know enough about the way insurance works to be able to say that he had good coverage, and liked what he had? He liked his plan. He had good coverage. He’s not able to keep it. Period.

Yes, he can still get health insurance. But his new options are significantly more expensive. The administration might respond that the law provides subsidies to mitigate the effects of increased prices. (That's what Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius did in testimony this morning when presented with one story of canceled coverage.) But not everyone, and perhaps not even most people, whose existing plans disappear, will have access to those subsidies. In California, for example, about 900,000 residents will probably see their existing individual market plans canceled. But according to a spokesperson for the state’s insurance exchange, only about a third of those people will have access to subsidies. 

What President Obama told the public over and over again wasn’t true. But now that people are finding out that it isn’t true, the administration’s response is to shift the blame to third parties, and to imply that the millions of people who are losing plans they like are too stupid to know what’s actually good for them. In short: If you like your plan, and lose it, it's not our fault. And besides, you didn't really like it anyway.

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  • Caleb Turberville||

    I would hereby like to rename Team Blue to Team Condescending and Unaccountable.

  • Libertarius||

    I want to put this uptop: I commend Suderman for having the moral courage to know right from wrong, and to thus condemn evil when he sees it.

    Too many of you are Misesian subjectivist squishes who say "Don't worry, I'm not going to make a value judgment, it's all subjective, there's no such thing as right and wrong, it's all just kinda this and maybe that, nobody knows, nobody's whims are any better than anyone else's whims."

    It is not hard to see who wins in the self-defeating charade of subjectivism. If you are not willing to condemn evil when it is destroying the world, on the fear of making a "value judgment", evil is too happy to agree with your estimation.

  • GILMORE||

    "Too many of you are Misesian subjectivist squishes""

    WHAT?!? NOT THEM!@!

    At least we kept out the irish.

  • ||

    Not well enough. Why do you think we're in the situation we're in? Let's just say it's not because of the Scottish.

  • ArbutusJoe||

    It sounds to me as though you are confusing the Austrians' value-free approach to the scientific investigation of social phenomena with epistemological subjectivism or moral relativism. But maybe I'm just being squishy.

  • crazyfingers||

    They canceled my $84 a month HDHP and offered me a new plan with a bunch of stuff I'll never use at triple the cost even after subsidies. Considering I haven't been to the doctor in 15 years I'm not paying $240 a month even if I could afford it, which I can't.

    I should probably be grateful since I'll end up saving money paying the penaltax and buying "insurance" in the very unlikely chance I'll ever get sick enough to need it.

  • Carolynp||

    A friend asked people what coverage they have today online (I assume to get info for choosing a policy) and one of his friends said "I'm paying the penalty." I'd recommend this to anyone who doesn't have kids.

  • OneOut||

    If the penalties get too large try this.

    http://www.chministries.org/

    It's prolly not the answer for everyone (shame) but the blueprint could work for any group.

    Read the details. This has been very well thought out.

    AND it's Obamacare legal.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I honestly wonder if this will be the new default? A new insurance market, with likely much lower premiums, specifically to offset the penaltax.

    & maybe that's what they should've done in the first place - pay for some fairly low level of care for everyone*, and allow a basically free market for secondary insurance to cover more, or have private rooms promised, or whatever people want to pay for...

    *Disclaimer: no one should be forced to pay for anyone else's healthcare nor should we be granting positive rights - I'm just curious if this would not work better and get both sides "something".

    Though I'm pretty sure it will not and would not work with Obama - he actually said in a speech today that Obamacare was a compromise where free market advocates got some things, just like progressives did.

    Seeing as how there is nothing free market in Obamacare, it's doubtful they'd see something like I've outlined as a compromise - but I think it would be more palatable to most, and mostly leave the free market existing to continue medical research and such.

  • blcartwright||

    the "free market" part is that they haven't explicitly outlawed private insurance, yet.

  • mr simple||

    The administration might respond that the law provides subsidies to mitigate the effects of increased prices.

    And these subsidies are totally free and make the cost of your insurance just disappear and no one will have to pay anything more ever.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Condescending? I find this difficult to believe.

    HE LOVES US!

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

  • Tman||

    The Obama Administration Response to Insurance Plan Cancellations Is Misleading and Condescending

    Too easy. That was a layup.

  • Brandon||

    Mine was better. It had italics.

  • fish||

    “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.”

    FACT: Know thing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans your place prole.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Or even:

    “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans in order to comply with #Obamacare.”

  • Jquip||

    FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare requires change unless #Obama requires it.

    In fairness, Hope n' Change is the only campaign promise he's kept. He keeps changing things, and people hope he'll knock it off.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Even if they didn't intend this, it doesn't matter. They presumed to know how to manage the healthcare and health insurance industry of the entire country, and if they didn't see this coming, that is on them, not on the insurance companies.

  • Sevo||

    LynchPin1477|10.30.13 @ 2:18PM|#
    "Even if they didn't intend this, it doesn't matter. They presumed to know how to manage the healthcare and health insurance industry of the entire country, and if they didn't see this coming, that is on them, not on the insurance companies."

    Local paper commenter had Obo 'only responsible for directing [the train wreck]'
    The buck stops somewhere 'way over there.

  • Libertarius||

    Obobo is only a young, idealistic conductor; the evil insurance companies railroaded him!

  • sarcasmic||

    “You’ll be able to keep your health plan, period asterisk.”

  • Auric Demonocles||

    First law: A robot may not injure a human being* or, through inaction, allow a human being* to come to harm.

    *only people speaking with a Solarian accent are human

  • Juice||

    The telepromters all had asterisks. He just misread.

  • Sevo||

    His statement wasn't 'operative'!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The argument here, essentially, is that anyone whose plan gets canceled didn’t really like his or her plan—that, even though the beneficiary might not know it, the plan being canceled wasn’t worth having anyway.

    I've been making this argument as satire since people started mentioning they were losing their plans. It's hilarious to see that the progs have finally caught up to me.

  • robc||

    They were saying it 3 years ago.

    The hi-deductible+HSA isnt real insurance argument goes back to before the law even passed.

  • John Thacker||

    Which is ridiculous.

    I'd agree that there are some plans that aren't "real insurance," but they're most plans that have low deductibles but don't pay for expensive stuff.

    They're a small fraction of what is being canceled. They're out there, but people pretending that that's all that's being canceled, as opposed to people getting higher premiums to cover sick people, is silly.

    It's also annoying and dishonest to point towards the normal turnover in the insurance market. Plenty of people had normal turnover in changing carriers among the same class of plans, or trivial tweaks. But being told that you can't make a trivial change or change providers without suddenly being ineligible for a whole class of plans is totally different.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I was one of the people who was happy with their high deductible, catastrophic plan and will not have insurance on Jan 1.

    I had a $10k deductible and was fine with paying that if something terrible (and expensive) happened to me. I'm sure that the hospital, or whoever, would have treated me and allowed me to pay back the $10k over time, or even negotiate it down. But noooooo...

    All these assholes are trying to insinuate that I'd have been thrown out into the streets if I didn't show up at the hospital with $10,000 in cash in my hand.

    Whatever. I fucking hate these fucking people. The collapse cannot happen fast enough. Shit, I'm gonna start voting for the fuckers just to expedite the goddamn process.

    "In shocking news today, noted anarchist and asshole General Butt Naked endorsed amending the constitution to allow Barack "Dear Leader" Obama (PBUH) four more years of peaceful rule and prosperity for all of us."

  • General Butt Naked||

    I saw it as satire here first and as the prog talking point second.

    Hell, shreek, who has no doubt seen the same here, has been pushing that bullshit on these very threads.

  • John||

    It is what they think. They told themselves that everyone really hated their insurance for so long, they forget it was a lie made up to justify single payer.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    And these subsidies are totally free and make the cost of your insurance just disappear and no one will have to pay anything more ever.

    Get with the program, you obstructionist hater.

    The government writes a check. Presto! Money is called into existence from the Void. We're all richer, now.

  • sarcasmic||

    Money is wealth! If you're saying money isn't really wealth, well then give me all your money! Ha! You won't do it! That means money is wealth!

    /derp

    If money is wealth, then I should sell everything I own except for the clothes on my back and a suitcase to hold the cash, and go live on a park bench. I'll be rich!

  • Invisible Finger||

    Freedom is Slavery.
    Wellness is Indebtedness.

    Orwell never even considered quadruple speak.

  • Brandon||

    The Obama Administration’s Response to Insurance Plan Cancellations Is Misleading and Condescending.

    Obama's epitaph.

  • Adam||

    "The administration knew from the beginning what the result would be, and issued the rules anyway, which is to say that they weren't just aware of these effects, they intended them."

    So, the frustrations of millions of people isn't a bug, it's a feature. Nice!!!!

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Look, Obama had no way of knowing that Obamacare wouldn't allow people to keep their plans. Everything he said was qualified by Pelosi's "we have to pass it to find out what's in it" statement. It wasn't a lie. It was just a bad guess. Give the man a break, so he can go back to doing important things, like murder droning and recreating "The Lives of Others" by spying on Merckel.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    You know, you've really got to be pretty damned pathetic if you're reduced to being a voyeur or Angela Merckel.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    "Pretty damned pathetic." I'd say that describes President I-Didn't-Do-It pretty well.

  • Tonio||

    I understand that there are some guys who like stern, matronly types.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Obama's epitaph

    It cannot come too soon. Especially if it is revealed that the cause of death was autoerotic asphixia in a closet in the private residence wing of the White House.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The Republicans would obviously be at fault if that happened. Also, the libertarians.

  • JohnD||

    Bush did it.

  • josh||

    it's like saying that if you start beating someone up, their choice to defend themselves was both unforeseen and not your fault.

  • sarcasmic||

    Cops say that all the time.

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern!||

    STOP RESISTING!

  • Invisible Finger||

    Are you kidding?

    If I beat someone up, they go get health care which the government pays for by creating wealth. We should be encouraging bullying.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    My friend often says "people are too stupid to make the right decision so it's okay for the government to do it."

    I suspect the people with power and influence think the same way.

    It's a prevailing mindset I'm not sure how we can break.

  • ||

    Pick something that your friend has made poor decisions about (life partners, car purchases, pets, etc.) and shove that government line right back in their face.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Doesn't work. In fact, it doesn't work on any liberal. As for health insurance, they argue it's just like car insurance and therefore necessary and using coercion is acceptable.

  • Sevo||

    And if there are problems, Bush made him do it and KORPORASHUNS!

  • Michael S. Langston||

    So there ok if the government makes decisions on when they can marry/divorce or have an abortion?

    Because I'm pretty sure people make stupid decisions in all three cases all the time...

  • Michael S. Langston||

    *they're... damn it

  • blcartwright||

    at least in Pa, car insurance is only required to cover other people, no one is mandated to carry collision coverage when the car is owned free & clear.

  • Tonio||

    No, that would reinforce the notion that people need Top Men to make decisions for them.

    And government is already involved in pet choice decisions - see pit bull bans, etc.

  • sarcasmic||

    “Why the transfer of decisions from those with personal experience and a stake in the outcome to those with neither can be expected to lead to better decisions is a question seldom asked, much less answered.”
    --Thomas Sowell

  • Killazontherun||

    They have the guns that keep the capitalist from exploiting us, that's why. Now, if I can just ignore that the gun is aimed at my head as well, and the wealth they extract from my wallet is a far larger sum than any from my voluntary, but exploitative!, transactions, the narrative is a perfect fit to reality.

  • John||

    I agree with that. But if people don't realize that Obamacare is causing this and think it is just the insurance companies stealing from them, what reason is there to believe they do know what is best for them? People can't think beyond emotions, they believe whatever the media tells them. So it seems to me that it is at least possible the new policies are better for them and even if they are not the media will easily convince them that they are. And once that happens, who are we to say these policies are bad for them?

    Maybe this whole thing is not such a big deal after all.

  • sarcasmic||

    I hope you know that the only person you are embarrassing is yourself.

  • John||

    I am serious. The voters are going to blame this on the insurance companies? Right? If they are not smart enough to know why this happening, why should I believe that they, and not the people wrote the ACA, know what is best for them?

    And more importantly, however unhappy they are about their policies now, after a few weeks or months of the media telling them otherwise, they will start to like their new policies. So if they like their policies, why are those policies not in their best interests?

    You tell me what about that you disagree with. Are people not going to blame the insurance companies? Will they not believe the media when the media tells them these policies are really better? What am I missing here?

  • sarcasmic||

    What am I missing here?

    Honesty and integrity for a start.

  • John||

    Answer my questions.

    1. If people are going to blame the insurance companies, what reason do I have to think they know what is best for them?

    2. If the media can convince people that the insurance companies are to blame for this and not Obamacare, then why won't the Obama Administration and its media allies be able to over the next few months convince them that these policies are better?

    3. If people are in fact convinced these policies are better, who are you or I to say they are wrong?

  • sarcasmic||

    Answer my questions.

    Go fuck yourself.

    =-)

  • Tonio||

    ^This.

    Damn, John, more and more people are calling you on your bullshit and refusing to engage you.

  • John||

    As long as you are one of them Tonio, I am not seeing a downside to this.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    John, what you're describing is a situation with multiple equilibria. They do happen. Doesn't change the fact that the equilibrium from individual choice will be optimal.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Make up your mind, John. Over the weekend you were all about how good and noble the masses are and how piggishly elitist we are for doubting them. Which is it?

    At any rate, there's no such thing as a better plan. There is only a better plan for your desires and requirements. A plan that costs more than I want to pay is not better than the one I had even if it covers more stuff. I don't want to pay more for a V8 engine because I don't care about power. It doesn't matter that 500 HP is more than 250. To me it only matters that $30K is more than $17K.

  • John||

    I agree with Sowell. And no I don't think the masses are brain dead. But if you do think that they are stupid, then please explain to me why they necessarily know what is best for them, especially if they are not smart enough to understand what actually caused this.

    Sarcasmic's assumption is that people will believe any lie the progs tell them and will blame the loss of their insurance on the insurance companies and demand single payer. I am also told the media can convince the public of virtually anything. So when the media tells these people that the new plans are really better for them, the people should believe the media right? And if they believe that and decide to like their plans, even if it is because they think they can do no better, then aren't their plans by definition the right plans then?

  • sarcasmic||

    Most of the leftist types I know are unhappy with the ACA because it didn't go far enough. They want single payer. If the ACA causes hardship then that's a good thing because it will lead to single payer. The point of single payer is to get rid of insurance companies because they profit from health care, and that is immoral. Health care should be left to the government because the government doesn't hand out profits to rich people.

    Since the leftist types you know don't say what the leftist types I know are saying, then I must be wrong.

    For that I apologize.

    Now please go chase a sedative with a double scotch.

  • John||

    But not everyone is a leftist. Only a small minority of the country is that sarcasmic. If the majority of the country were leftist, we would already have single payer and a lot other horrible things. So I am not talking about them. I am talking about the big disinterested middle who, when they decide to in significant numbers, can vote with leftists and allow leftists to get their way.

    What are they going to think? They are the people that matter here. They were not demanding single payer. And they didn't know that ACA was going to result in their personal health care getting worse. So tell me, what do you think those people are going to do?

  • sarcasmic||

    I am talking about the big disinterested middle who, when they decide to in significant numbers, can vote with leftists and allow leftists to get their way.

    The big disinterested middle doesn't vote. At least not in political elections. But they can tell you who won American Idol.

    What are they going to think?

    Whatever the people who they trust tell them, because they, being disinterested, are not going to seek information on their own. Being that most talking heads and celebrities swing left, they'll probably blame the insurance companies if that's what their favorite entertainer will tell them to do.

    I hope I'm wrong.

  • John||

    The big disinterested middle doesn't vote.

    Oh yes they do. They are like at least a third of the voters. More than just nutty progs and partisan Republicans vote.

    Whatever the people who they trust tell them, because they, being disinterested, are not going to seek information on their own.

    Then how can you trust them to do what is best for themselves? And more importantly, why are they going to be angry about this after the media and the Progs assure them it is a good thing?

    If no one is mad about it, I can't see why it is a big deal.

  • sarcasmic||

    Oh yes they do. They are like at least a third of the voters.

    Half of eligible voters don't vote.

    Then how can you trust them to do what is best for themselves?

    Being disinterested in politics doesn't make them disinterested in their own lives.

    Then how can you trust them to do what is best for themselves?

    You're not even pretending to be honest anymore. Do you want to be written off as a troll?

  • Kid Xenocles||

    In objective terms they often don't know what's good for them - or at least they often lack the discipline to do it. See for example the number of people with massive consumer debt or in poor health resulting from being out of shape. Acknowledging that fact in no way suggests that anyone else has the right to make those decisions for them. I might submit to the rule of angels, but all we have are men.

    What the masses do know best is what they themselves value, and I will, within a widely bounded space, defend their right to pursue those values even if it kills them.

  • John||

    I agree kid. And that is why I think the ACA is an epic disaster for the progs. People do know their personal interests. And they are happy to support the Progs efforts to transform America and heal the sick and all of that, provided they think someone else is paying for it.

    They may be disinterested. They are often uninformed. But they are smart enough to see through this con. They were told for four years if they liked their plan they could keep it and that this plan was going to cut costs and help people without taking away what they had. And now that all of that is proving to be untrue, they are going to be pissed. And they won't be pissed at the insurance companies or the evil Republicans. They for once will know who to blame.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    You may be right. I even hope that you are. But I won't be betting anything on it.

  • General Butt Naked||

    This is like deja vu all over again...

  • ||

    I'm seeing a lot of comments along the lines of "I wanted poor people to have health insurance, I just didn't think that I personally would be paying for it."

    People know that it's the ACA causing these premium spikes. They aren't complete morons.

    There are die-hard progressives out there who will immediately decide that they wanted single payer all along and blame it on Republicans and Corporations. But that's no more than 25% of the population.
    And they won't get single payer. At least not via legislation. The only way they will get it is through a backdoor nationalization of the insurance companies, ala GM.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I'm seeing a lot of comments along the lines of "I wanted poor people to have health insurance, I just didn't think that I personally would be paying for it."

    I've seen this as well, and it's awesomeness cannot be understated. It's an explicit admission that the Obamadrones only care about the poor as long as they can hold a gun to someone else's head to help them. In other words, the shit we've been saying for decades.

    Also fun... they don't realize that the pain is just starting. It's gonna get much worse, idiots. (just sucks everyone has to suffer along with them)

  • JWatts||

    Also fun... they don't realize that the pain is just starting. It's gonna get much worse, idiots. (just sucks everyone has to suffer along with them)

    A whole lot of such people are going to drop their new more expensive coverage. These individual won't really understand how much the penalty is. All they'll ever hear mentally is $95. When they get $200 to $400 confiscated instead of $95 they'll freak.

    This will all come out sometime in April of 2014. The midterms will not go well for the Democrats. It's all fun and games until Obama takes your new iPhone away.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    John -

    Contemplate that in a libertarian society, the desire to do things like pass off accountability may still be there, but the incentives would be against this, as in a society where each individual pays directly for their mistakes, they are no longer able to afford the time, energy, and negative consequences from incorrectly assigning blame.

    With that - I'd say our societal move to some basic, illogical beliefs has been going on for a few decades. & it has been helped because we live in such a rich country that denying reality can be mitigated.

    Therefore, I think it's logical for me to believe simultaneously believe that:

    a) enough voters may not be able to correctly see the problem before it gets much, much worse because of the society in which they live.
    &
    b) give these same people decades in a truly free society and many of the illogical things many believe would be non-existent.

    IE - I can think simultaneously we may fail this test, but still believe in the libertarian ideal of a mini-state.

    Disclaimer: I hope you're right & tend to agree with your points on who most people will blame - I'm just not sure I agree with your conclusion that believing people stupid must make one a statist (though it's quite possible many of those who think most people are stupid are secretly/unconsciously statists).

  • Michael S. Langston||

    *Therefore, I think it's logical for me to believe simultaneously believe that...

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” - GC

    If he can agree to that statement, get him to acknowledge the average politician is just another average person. Does he want stupid people making decisions for everyone?

  • RG||

    Knowledge problem. The government cannot possibly know the right decision for a large and diverse population.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    which in turn is compounded by the "utility" problem, some people prioritze insurance over others, whereas some (the young) want to spend their money on their own desires. Any top down ham fisted solution runs into both a knowledge (how do prices work?)and a utility (I value X over Y given my own subjective priorities that are depending on conditions that apply to me and me only) barrier that produces a degree of opacity that no central planner, no matter how well educated, can effectively penetrate.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    A business problem too - where is the decisions that directly affect group X are made too far away from those who will actually be affected, the decision tends to be less than effective and will meet with a great deal of resistance.

    Solution - put decision making capabilities into the lowest level employee as possible (for instance - allow call center employees to offer money back/discounts/etc to help resolve a contentious client issue instead of forcing a manager to do so).

    Result - not only are decisions usually better when built from the ground up, but when people are given some control over their jobs, they tend to take adopt almost an "ownership" attitude to their job, making for better and more engaged employees.

    But I'm sure Obama knows all of that - with his years of executive experience prior to the Whitehouse.

    PS: Which doesn't even mention progressives agree with this mostly, just not for those government things they like - for instance, local foods, local schools, local etc/etc/etc - just not healthcare, marriage, gun control...

  • Pelosi's Accommodator||

    Not only all of the above, but how would someone like that react when you point out that a person unqualified to make their own decisions isn't qualified to vote, either?

  • Invisible Finger||

    That's the one I prefer to use.

    Eventually you'll get to the point about voting for judges and the idiot will admit he just brings in a sheet of recommendations and follows that - which is tacit admission that democracy is stupid.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I had a ballot once that didn't ask you to vote for Judge X against Judge Y, but only whether you wanted to keep Judge X employed.

    Since there are no stats openly published (even though they would be easy for "news organizations" to gather) on judges, how they run their courtrooms, etc - and therefore I didn't know any of these people - I voted all should be replaced :)

    Though honestly - while I don't think judges should have lifetime appointments, I'm not sure a ballot with 50 people on it would be useful to even the most informed voters. IE - not sure we should vote for judges....

  • Invisible Finger||

    I'll also add that these people unqualified to make their own decisions are driving automobiles, teaching children, policing the streets, etc.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I'll also add that these people unqualified to make their own decisions are...

    Operating on loved ones.
    Advocating on your behalf in court.
    Filling out your taxes.
    Investing, or recommending investments for your money.
    Building bridges you drive on.
    Creating live saving medical procedures/drugs.
    ...

    Sorry - shorter version: good point... longer version, the list really is endless isn't it? & not just endless, but completely full of people/companies where if there were a government alternative for all of these services, most people would willingly pay for for a private option if possible (see education as an example).

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    It's a prevailing mindset I'm not sure how we can break.

    Double tap to the back of the head?

  • sasob||

    people are too stupid to make the right decision so it's okay for the government to do it.

    Interesting how they're too stupid to make decisions regarding their personal lives, but not too stupid to decide who to vote for.

  • sasob||

    ...not too stupid to decide who to vote for

    to run theirs and other people's lives.

  • JohnD||

    A good hard punch in the mouth should work.

  • Bryan C||

    The world needs more good hard punches to the mouth.

  • waffles||

    I think I speak for all of us when I say I am just pleased as punch when I am lied and condescended to.

  • Brian||

    Valerie Jarrett, who tweeted the following on Monday evening: “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.”

    Yawn. It's the same old crap: they regulate up the wazoo, and then blame the results on whatever freedom they left over for anyone else.

    It's so contradictory: these people promise us that they can centrally plan the economy by just tweaking a few things in the law. Suddenly, when it all turns to shit, they're suddenly so powerless over the market. I wish they could make up their minds. The only economy they want to take responsibility for is the dot com bubble during the Clinton administration. Other than that, it's all a free market ride to hell, apparently.

    And it's such a cop out from taking responsibility. By the same logic, the government could set the maximum price for abortions at $0, and then claim "Nothing in this bill forces people not to provide abortions. No change is required unless abortion clinics change their availability."

    No, sorry: you regulated certain insurance products out of existence. Exactly like you planned to. Exactly like the bill says it does. When all this comes to pass, it's not reality or the markets fault that the Obama administration lied to the American people for over 4 years. IF they can't put on their big girl panties and take responsibility, then they don't deserve power over other human beings.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    My friend often says "people are too stupid to make the right decision so it's okay for the government to do it."

    No offense, but you need a better class of friend.

    So do I.

  • RG||

    Misleading and condescending? Not from the administration that brought us "Julia".

  • General Butt Naked||

    I wonder if there's any RULE #34 Julia movies out yet...

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern!||

    Go on...

  • General Butt Naked||

    "Because of republican obstructionism, Julia was so poor that she had to trade sexual favors with the pizza delivery guy in order to eat..."

  • Gorilla tactics||

    can we get the torrent?

  • sasob||

    Was that a "big sausage pizza?" :-)

  • Bryan C||

    "When the local family planning clinic is shut down by the Republican sequester, Julia and her new nurse friends use their own very special lobbying methods to save their budget!"

  • The Other Kevin||

    The thing I enjoy most about this fiasco is that try as they might, they could never get rid of the name "Obamacare". The name stuck. And now that it's showing itself to be the big piece of crap that it is, guess who's name is on it?

  • Sunken Idaho||

    Just saw talking head Richard Fowler take a page out of the Petty Dictator's arrogance handbook and say that those people that lost their insurance had bad policies anyway. There is a special level of cuntiness you have to achieve to defend this administration.

  • ||

    Well, their policies MUST have been bad, because they weren't allowed by the ACA. We couldn't POSSIBLY have passed a bill that had excessive requirements in it. After all this was a compromise and we wanted single payer anyway. So this is all the Republicans fault.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    They made us hold this gun to our head, then they dared us to pull the trigger, so it is their fault!

  • ||

    I would really like to see some of the ACA's goons explain exactly what it was about these plans that was so terrible.

    I get the impression they aren't even bothering to find out what the plans covered or didn't cover. They just ASSUME that if they aren't up to the ACA's standards, they must BY DEFINITION be crap plans.

    Also, I don't see hordes of people celebrating that their new ACA-mandated benefits are so great. In fact, I don't even see ONE.

    The only people that seem to be celebrating are people who are seriously ill who are basically getting free treatment now. Everyone else is getting screwed.

  • robc||

    Failure to cover birth control and pregnancy.

    Really, thats it.

    Thats what makes the plans terrible.

  • John||

    And a lot of other things. The whole thing is based on fantasy. One of the fantasies is that you can control costs if you just get people to get more preventative care and the way to do that is mandate every kind of preventative care is covered by every policy so people use the new free stuff more.

  • Juice||

    Surely, this will drive down prices and make Health Care Affordable.

  • ||

    They've got this whole myth going that the premium increases are just because the benefits are better. But that's a lie. It is because of community rating. The healthy subsidize premiums for the sick. That is the main driver. All of the extra benefits are only there to DISGUISE the premium increases caused by community rating.

    They wouldn't have mandated coverage of mental health and maternity and birth control if they didn't want to give all the young healthy people *something* to show for the higher premiums.

  • John||

    Community rating is a nightmare for people.

  • FYTW||

    Also: failure to cover mental health care and substance abuse recovery.

    So a well-adjusted single male in his mid-20s who bought a plan that failed to cover (a) maternity care and (b) mental heath care apparently had "substandard" insurance.

  • John Thacker||

    Everyone should have known that the Obama Administration's response was going to be misleading and condescending, so it's unfair for Peter, Reason, or anyone else to criticize them for it now. He's. The. President.

  • Killazontherun||

    By the way, have you heard about the security holes in healthcare.gov?

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/2.....-security/

    The Obamacare website has more than annoying bugs. A cybersecurity expert found a way to hack into users' accounts.

    Until the Department of Health fixed the security hole last week, anyone could easily reset your Healthcare.gov password without your knowledge and potentially hijack your account.

    The glitch was discovered last week by Ben Simo, a software tester in Arizona. Simo found that gaining access to people's accounts was frighteningly simple. You could have:

    guessed an existing user name, and the website would have confirmed it exists.
    claimed you forgot your password, and the site would have reset it.
    viewed the site's unencrypted source code in any browser to find the password reset code.
    plugged in the user name and reset code, and the website would have displayed a person's three security questions (your oldest niece's first name, name of favorite pet, date of wedding anniversary, etc.).
    answered the security questions wrong, and the website would have spit out the account owner's email address -- again, unencrypted.
    Armed with the account holder's email address, a person with malicious intent could easily track down their target on social media, where they'd likely discover the answers to those security questions.
  • Michael S. Langston||

    Armed with the account holder's email address, a person with malicious intent could easily track down their target on social media, where they'd likely discover the answers to those security questions.

    Or just ask the NSA for the answers...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The only people that seem to be celebrating are people who are seriously ill who are basically getting free treatment now.

    "No more caps! Woohoo! No matter how pointless, useless, or absurdly expensive, treatment will continue."

    No wonder the hospital-industrial complex and the doctors are being vewwy, vewwy quiet.

  • John Thacker||

    They're being quiet because them being quiet was the quid pro quo in exchange for the government promising not to include price controls. (Something that Democrats, in the normal partisan way, were much more upset about when it came to Medicare Part D, but it was a necessary tradeoff for them with Obamacare.)

  • Dr. Frankenstien||

    Don't worry, first thing to do is add the public option back in that the obstructionist Republicans took out. Then when just about everyone is on the public option we'll go to a single payer.

  • Juice||

    You mean the obstructionist Democrats that took it out?

  • Lord Humungus||

    I still remember the damn commercial for this:

    Old lady sitting on some medical torture chair. Voice over: Keep your doctor, blah, blah, keep your insurance

  • dan'o||

    If you like your car, you can keep your car. PERIOD. Btw, Kia's, Hundai's and all entry level models are now illegal.
    Angry? Blame your car dealer! And you should feel like a lowly piece of shit for wanting an inexpensive car anyways!!!

  • ||

    Kia's and Hyundai's are made by pesky feriners! Are you anti-american? You can keep your Made in America cars, so what's the big deal? Why do you even need so many choices?

  • robc||

    We should require politicians to take an oath (punishable by perjury) as a prerequisite for ballot access.

    They can continue to lie in their personal life, but all statements made when running for office or as part of their office would be under oath.

  • John||

    The people to be mad at more than even Obama is the media. Politicians always lie no matter what side they are on. The crime here is that the entire national media colluded with Obama to make sure no one could call him on his lie.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm sure they'll follow it as faithfully as they follow their oath of office.

  • robc||

    Well, yeah. Thats why we need an independent perjury prosecutor.

  • sarcasmic||

    And who chooses that person? Are the elected? Are they appointed? What incentives does that position create, and who would be attracted to it? What happens when the person abuses or is accused of abusing the position for partisan gain?

    The only way to keep power from being abused is to limit it, but it is only limited by self restraint of those who seek power.

    It's a no-win.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    The independent prosecutor is appointed by the opposition coalition in the legislature, obviously - and the position changes hands with the majority.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    If the opposition abuses the power in order to take the majority, they must then turn over the very weapon they used to the same people they used it against. The only danger lies in the possibility that the parties would collude to appoint people who prosecute nobody. So maybe it's not so obvious.

  • Tonio||

    Prosecutor != Judge

    YMMV, particularly in Texas.

  • General Butt Naked||

    And who chooses that person?

    I say we appoint Warty for life.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Thats why we need an independent perjury prosecutor.

    As much as I like the thought - in a free society, this is theoretically a job for voters.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    He said "If you like your plan, you can keep it." What he meant was "If I like your plan, you can keep it."

  • ||

    That's like 89% accurate (9 words, only one changed), so what's the problem? It's mostly the same...

  • Ranter||

    "The Obama Administration’s Response to Insurance Plan Cancellations Is Misleading and Condescending"

    In other words, it was like his response to any and every matter that his administration has dealt with from Day 1.

  • Ranter||

    Also - Valerie Jarret?

    STFU. If you're so passionate about it, go debate the people losing coverage by the thousands or testify in front of Congress.

  • John||

    Jarret is about as unpleasant a front person you could have. I suspect more than a few of Obama's allies are thinking she should STFU.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    What a profoundly unattractive person.

    Then only thing that could make reading "Slate" even more unpleasant is to click on one of their articles and be presented with this visage:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/wei.....ep_it.html

  • General Butt Naked||

    Dang...

    The point: It was known and fretted about, for three years, that the phase-in of the Affordable Care Act would push millions of people off the plans they were used to and into more comprehensive, often more expensive, plans. Obama won re-election despite this. That seems to have made the administration overconfident about how it could avoid blowback when the phase-in continued.

    When Dear Leader has lost Dave "Ratfucker" Weigel, he's lost everything.

  • John||

    Either Weigal is a moron or the Obama people are dumber than I thought. Sure the Obama people knew that the ACA was going to do this. But the voters didn't. So I don't see how them winning the election justified any confidence that the voters wouldn't be pissed.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I just wonder if team Obama is so arrogant and removed from everyday reality that they actually believed people would be happy to lose the coverage they had for years in order to buy more expensive coverage.

    With this administration's uncanny and prodigious level of ignorance, incompetence, and arrogance I would not be surprised if they thought people losing their insurance would be a win for them. Not surprised at all...

  • Sevo||

    General Butt Naked|10.30.13 @ 4:02PM|#
    "I just wonder if team Obama is so arrogant and removed from everyday reality that they actually believed people would be happy to lose the coverage they had for years in order to buy more expensive coverage."

    Who cares? They don't. He got re-elected and Pelosi got her outhouse passed.
    And the media is not about to call him or her on it, so if people don't like it, they can suck a big one.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I just wonder if team Obama is so arrogant and removed from everyday reality that they actually believed people would be happy to lose the coverage they had for years in order to buy more expensive coverage.

    All polls and media reports said the same thing - people hate their healthcare and insurance companies.

    These were bad polls and completely wrong - what they really measured, as evidenced by more complete polling, is that most people thought a lot of others were having big issues with the health care and insurance companies, while they were mostly happy with their service.

    But in a world where many are constantly told everyone hates their current health care and insurance - maybe they truly believed more people would be happy being forced to a new plan, even if more expensive.

  • ||

    Really? From what I could tell, the election was about binders full of women and the 47%.

    And tax hikes on the rich. And Benghazi.

    Romney could never talk about ObamaCare because he passed the same stupid thing in Massachusetts.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Dang...

    The point: It was known and fretted about, for three years, that the phase-in of the Affordable Care Act would push millions of people off the plans they were used to and into more comprehensive, often more expensive, plans. Obama won re-election despite this. That seems to have made the administration overconfident about how it could avoid blowback when the phase-in continued.

    When Dear Leader has lost Dave "Ratfucker" Weigel, he's lost everything.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    It shows the cracks in the coalition on the Left. Some of the true believers are into the cult of personality around their hero, while others have been loyally defending him only because he is farther left than anyone they have seen in high office for a long, long time. But, even so, he went for ACA rather than trying for single payer or even a public option. So, as it becomes obvious that ACA is a legalistic, bureaucratic nightmare, they are coming to the point where they need to disavow it. Hence the increasing reminders that it is a "republican idea" because a think tank on the right floated it in the 1990s.

    It makes me think that the government shutdown over ACA might end up being good politics in the long run, because it has been made abundantly clear which party's name is all over this thing.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I think the shutdown, and the insane proclamations that it's gonna work (REALL! IT WILL! HOPE HARDER!!) are gonna make the Dems own this thing.

    Hopefully some pro-liberty types can capitalize on this, but, as always, I won't get my hopes up.

  • BSubversive.com||

    Since she is the puppet master, she would be better off staying off stage and programming what ever she wants said into the teleprompter. It's much better for us that she can't stand to stay hidden behind the curtain.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    "You see the insurance plan you already have didn't have essential protections, such as guaranteed issue. So, your plan that you already purchased wouldn't have been available to you if you had a pre-existing condition. So, we passed regulations to force your insurer to cancel the policy, so you can buy a new policy that will cover you even if you have a pre-existing condition."

    Government at work, ladies and gentlemen.

    And not the progs are running around claiming that the President misspoke and that it is all for the best because these were "junk" plans that weren't worth having anyway. They can't still bring themselves to be honest and admit that, unlike the website, this is not a bug but a feature. They need to get you off of a plan that fits you, and force you to buy one that covers and costs more than you need, so that you can subsidize the sick and the old. That is how we create a healthy society, and if you don't want to pay more to subsidize the old and sick, you are a moocher and a parasite and the ghost of Ayn Rand will haunt you forever!

  • John||

    They are starting to come around. More than a few of them are saying "if you lost your plan it was because it was horrible and didn't even qualify as insurance".

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    And if you were happy with your plan, then it just proves that you are stupid and not qualified to make your own decisions and need government to tell you what is really good for you. And what is good for you is to buy a more expensive plan that covers stuff you don't need, so that your premiums can subsidize other people. But don't worry, you will get a subsidy yourself to cover your own premiums!

    Subsidies for all! Abortions for some. Little flag pins for others! And always twirling, twirling, twirling toward the future!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Thats why we need an independent perjury prosecutor.

    Crowdsourced high voltage shock collars.

    They would have dragged Waxman's smoldering headless corpse out of that hearing room this morning if I had had the button.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Like Lavabit.... sure, they are allowed to stay in business, but only if they violate a few of their core operating principles, including their publicly announced security/privacy measures, without disclosing to anyone they are doing so.

    The new world, huh? A world where for our safety and security, government is forcing companies to either fold, or break the law by committing fraud...

  • Adam330||

    Jarrett must be using the Minnesota Supreme Court definition of voluntary: the insurance companies are free to keep offering those old plans, it's just that if they do we'll sue the shit out of them.

  • mgmue||

    Exactly. And interestingly enough, wasnt the whole idea here to get people who do NOT have coverage on a plan? At least they didnt just rush in a plan, you know, something is better than nothing, yadda yaddda. This legislation is so far off the mark that even people who were doing the right thing & had insurance, insurance they may have even liked at reasonable enough prices & satisfactory deductibles are getting screwed. Mission accomplished.

  • Fergus McGee||

    Look, here is Obama telling us straight up what the deal is. This can't be a lie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoV0NeHNklk

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Obama won re-election despite this.

    Haha, good one. He won because slimy little liars like you helped bury that inconvenient little aspect of The Big Plan until after the election.

  • coma44||

    "The Obama Administration’s Response to Insurance Plan Cancellations Is Misleading and Condescending"

    The Obama Administration Is Misleading and Condescending

    There I fixed it for you.

  • montana mike||

    Good grief, the Liar in chief keeps repeating this whole spiel in his speech. I guess he thinks if we hear this enough pixies will sprinkle truth dust throughout the land and all will be well.

    Bahhahahahha, fuck

  • mgmue||

    Well, it is the same man who traveled the country saying the right had a "war on the middle class" because they wanted to stand in the way of people paying less for insurance .. having better coverage .. etc - when in reality, Obama knew all along the right was correct. The real war on the middle class is occurring now, where the middle class is being held captive as political pawns where the wanted end result is a single payer system.

  • Bryan C||

    By the end of his term, all of Obama's speeches will end with him insisting that there are, in fact, five lights.

  • DenverJay||

    The liar-in-chief is on t.v. right now, blaming all the problems on Republicans refusing to sit down and work with Democrats "to fix the problems".
    This will be the new line, that the reason the ACA, a wholly owned creation of the Dems, is n't working is because of the obstructionist Republicans. And the media is going to help sell it hook, line, and sinker.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    Really? He is already admitting the ACa has problems? Not just the website, but the legislation?

    The sheer incompetence. It is a gift every day. The news should be, wants to be, full of ACA success stories - old people made young again, lepers cured, the lame healed, the poor raised up. Instead we have one self-inflicted wound after another. Websites crashing, people losing insurance, security holes on the website. We haven't even gotten to the core rot behind the whole thing - the dwindling provider networks, the premium spirals, the real cost of all the subsidies.

    "We've analyzed their attack, sir, and there is a danger. Should I have your ship standing by?"

    "It's already fuelled up and ready to go! Don't forget to plant evidence in the wreckage that implicates my enemies."

  • Sevo||

    "This will be the new line, that the reason the ACA, a wholly owned creation of the Dems, is n't working is because of the obstructionist Republicans. And the media is going to help sell it hook, line, and sinker."

    Don't tell John. He thinks people will actually begin blaming the 'free shit party'.
    Not a chance; if the whiff of free shit is in the air, any problems are the result of those not offering free shit.

  • GILMORE||

    ""The liar-in-chief is on t.v. right now, blaming all the problems onRepublicans refusing to sit down and work with Democrats "to fix the problems".""

    "Firstly = There are no problems with Obamacare.

    Secondly = The Republicans refuse to deal with the problems with Obamacare.""

  • Will Nonya||

    If you make insurance required them make it expensive enough and onerous enough the masses will eventually beg for a single payer system to save them from the evil insurance corporations obviously exploiting loop holes in the ACA to gouge them...

  • John B.||

    This country is like a sinking boat. You know what? I suggest you move to Canada and enjoy their beaches and nature.

    Everything Obama does is not enough. He lacks any vision about how should the system work for everyone. I already start to think that believing him in the first place was my big error. I really wanted to facilitate our healthcare system, but what he did was the actual opposite. So what now? After Obama´s governement, we will live in a country with abandoned cities (Detroit), healthy housing sector (as usually), and people who will be still dying on the most common diseases, just because their insurance is not worth going to a hospital. Great.

  • Noelle Campbell||

    "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

  • carminakaka||

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  • SonofSanfordandSon||

    I think it hinges on the definition of "plan." Obama's statement "You can keep your plan" referred to a compliant plan, under the laws of ACA. Totally clear.

  • Sevo||

    I think it hinges on the definition of "lie". Obama's statement "You can keep your plan" was a lie.

  • Carolynp||

    Hey, has anyone else noticed this administration is a bunch of jerks and liars?

  • Carolynp||

    Hey, has anyone else noticed this administration is a bunch of jerks and liars?

  • wagnert in atlanta||

    "The Obama Administration’s Response to Insurance Plan Cancellations Is Misleading and Condescending"

    No. "The Obama Administration’s Response to Pretty Much Everything Is Misleading and Condescending"

    Why limit yourself to specifics? Generalize!

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    Only seriously interested people will be warmly welcomed,Thanks­,,you have to work using a computer and internet.if you can do that and dedicate some time each day then you can do this with no problem. I have been working with this for a month and have made over $➥➠➥­➠➥17,000 already. let me know if you need more here you go

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