To the millions of Americans who have lost their health plans this year as a result of Obamacare, despite his pledge that they could keep their plans if they liked them, President Obama has something he’d like to say. He’s sorry…sort of.
In an interview with NBC News last night, the president was asked whether he owed an apology to the millions of people who have already lost plans this year. Here’s what he said: “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.”
To the extent that it matters, this is not a very good apology. For one thing, it gets the cause and effect wrong: People aren’t “finding themselves” in “this situation”—the situation of having insurance plans they liked cancelled—because of Obama’s “assurances.” They are finding themselves in that situation because of legislation that his party crafted, rules his administration drafted, and a bill that he promoted vigorously and then signed into law. His assurances misled people about what would happen under that law, but did not cause the plans to be terminated.
But Obama isn’t sorry for the law, or its intended effects. Notice also what Obama is carefully not apologizing for: the actual cancellation notices now being sent to millions of Americans. There’s a reason for that. As The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff writes, “eliminating certain health plans from the market—ones that the White House thinks are too skimpy—is a feature, not a bug, of the Affordable Care Act.”
Obama isn’t sorry about the cancellations, in other words, because they were intended all along. Despite his recent rhetorical revisionism, Obama explicitly promised otherwise, repeatedly, in order to help make the case for passing the law. It was a calculated and intentional deception. But apparently the president remains unrepentant about that. If there’s news here, it’s not that he apologized. It’s that he does not appear to be sorry that he lied.