Can Obama Open His Mouth Without Lying About Health Care?


In an interview with the Washington Post today, the president challenged all of us to comb through his 2008 campaign promises on health care. Check it out:

President Obama rejected in an interview Tuesday the criticism that he has compromised too much in order to secure health-care reform legislation, challenging his critics to identify any "gap" between what he campaigned on last year and what Congress is on the verge of passing. […]

"Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill." […]

He said the Senate legislation accomplishes "95 percent" of what he called for during his 2008 presidential campaign and in his September speech to a joint session of Congress on the need for health-care reform. […]

Obama said the public option "has become a source of ideological contention between the left and right." But, he added, "I didn't campaign on the public option."

OK, kids, let's go look for what he said on the campaign about health care reform! Here's a good one:

I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We'll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies—they'll get a seat at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process.

Ya OK that didn't happen. Next!

We'll allow the safe re-importation of low-cost drugs from countries like Canada.

Bzzzt! Any others?

Allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices.

Negatory, at least according to this blog post (which includes several other alleged broken promises). Still feeling lucky today, punk?

Offers a public health insurance option to provide the uninsured and those who can't find affordable coverage with a real choice.

Note: That's from Obama's campaign website. It's like he doesn't expect us to check, or something.

To sum up: The president said he "didn't campaign on the public option," but it turns out he did. He said that there wasn't any "gap" between his campaign promises and the final result, but it turns out there were several, as detectable by the most cursory Google search. He said "every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill," but it turns out they're not.

This kind of brazen bullshit may play with Ezra Klein, but I can't imagine most other Americans enjoy being lied to every day.