Obamacare

Does ProPublica Accept Obama's Retroactive Revision of His Health Plan Promise?

|

White House

Last week I noted that President Obama was trying to retroactively revise his promise that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would allow people who were happy with their health plans to keep them. That guarantee, he explained, applies only to policies that have not changed in any way since the law took effect. The problem, of course, is that Obama never mentioned that caveat until now. I wondered whether reporters would nevertheless treat this explanation as something other than a bald-faced lie. Judging from a new ProPublica story, the answer appears to be yes. In an article that otherwise admirably seeks to explain the actual consequences of Obamacare, including the costs it imposes on some for the benefit of others, Charles Ornstein says this:

First, President Obama's now-infamous pledge that those who liked their health plan could keep it applied only to people enrolled in those plans as of the day the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, March 23, 2010. That became known as the "grandfather" clause.

That phrasing makes it seem like Ornstein accepts Obama's revisionism—which is odd, because Ornstein later notes that "Politifact has labeled the pledge 'pants on fire.'" Actually, the analysis to which Ornstein links deals not with Obama's promise itself but with his attempt to amend it after the fact. Here is PolitiFact's conclusion:

According to Obama, "What we said was you can keep [your plan] if it hasn't changed since the law passed."

But we found at least 37 times since Obama's inauguration where he or a top administration official made a variation of the pledge that if you like your plan, you can keep it, and we never found an instance in which he offered the caveat that it only applies to plans that hadn't changed after the law's passage. And seven of those 37 cases came after the release of the HHS regulations that defined the "grandfathering" process, when the impact would be clear.

So yes, it's true: Obama is a liar. Reporters should not let a lingering attachment to "false balance" blind them (or their readers) to that fact.

NEXT: Common Core May Suck, But It's Unfairly Blamed for Politicized Public School Lessons

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. He’s a politician — of course he’s a liar. In Obama’s case, he’s a liar pretty much anytime he opens his piehole.

    1. If you like my lies, you can keep them.

      1. “But I wanted the truth.”

        “That was a substandard truth that you shouldn’t have wanted.”

        1. +doublegoodthink

        2. What you had before wasn’t really “truth”, but rather a basket of lies handed to you by greedy corporations

    2. I thought we only elected good liars. Can we at least stick to that rule?

    3. Like Nixon, when Obama talks out of both sides of his mouth, he is lying out of both sides of his mouth.

    4. There is no sugarcoating it. The White House has embellished some of the ‘positive’ details of Obamacare.

  2. Read my lips: I am not a liar. But I suppose that depends on what your definition of lying is.

    1. “It depends on what your definition of ‘your health plan’ is.”

  3. President Obama’s now-infamous pledge that those who liked their health plan could keep it applied only to people enrolled in those plans as of the day the Affordable Care Act was signed into law

    “Void where Prohibited.”

  4. The mainstream media can’t come out and say the L word, especially about the magical unicorn they put in the white house.

    It’s a harsh word, for one, and it’s judgemental. Remember, being judgemental is the newest deadly sin.

  5. So yes, it’s true: Obama is a liar.

    Wait, what?

    Next, you’ll tell me the chocolate ration did not actually increase to twenty grams.

    1. Chocolate rations are provided by the grace of your benefactors on high, and since the nominal provision of chocolate rations is zero, you did indeed receive an increase of twenty grams. Any measure of chocolate rations relative to previous allowances is immaterial.

      1. “This is the morning news of Radio Bucharest. Good morning comrades! Comrade Ceausescu has risen. So, get out of bed. Comrade Ceausescu is exercising. Do your gymnastics now. Comrade Ceausescu is washing himself. Follow his example. Comrade Ceausescu is having breakfast. During its duration we are broadcasting marching songs.”

        http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/5106

    2. The chocolate ration has always been twenty grams.

      1. There has always been at least fifteen grams of sawdust per chocolate ration.

  6. …That phrasing makes it seem like Ornstein accepts Obama’s revisionism.

    I don’t get that from that phrasing. In fact, there is a surprising (to me) number of journalists who seem to be calling attention to the administration’s clearly false statements. Of course, I chalk this up to being after the presidential election and far enough away from the mid-terms that news producers feel comfortable talking a little smack about their guy.

    1. Sort of like right before Obama was to win the 2012 elections, the New York Times said some not-so-great things about him.

    2. There’s no sugarcoating it: Even NPR has recently called bullshit on that promise.

      1. They’ve been running a bunch of apology stories recently, explaining that “this is just how insurance works” and other such bull.

    3. Journalists might be biased, but at the end of the day, they all chase a story. There’s no way to ignore the widespread ACA woes – crappy website, low enrollment numbers, cancellation notices. They all make for good human stories.

      Of course, they couldn’t be bothered to actually investigate the scheme prior to implementation and raise concerns for the public.

  7. Dudes. Like, OMG.

    1. Are you excited to eat one, or use them to fuck with people?

      1. How is that a question?

  8. Yesterday, I heard three guys arguing on the radio whether certain health insurance plans that might have qualifed to be “grandfathered in” had been dropped due to the government or due to insurance companies’ greed.

    One guy was arguing that the reason the Ins. Cos. were dropping the plans is because, in order to be grandfathered in, the companies had to offer exactly the same plans as before, but that other gov’t regulations were at the same time requiring the companies to change the plans–forcing them out of “grandfathered” status.

    The other two guys were arguing that, no, the plans being dropped instead of grandfathered were actually garbage plans that did little to actually help the insured, and was basically free money for the insurance companies, but that the companies were now dropping for some reason I didn’t exactly follow.

    I only got in on the argument near the end, so I may have missed some vital information. Has anyone heard the argument that it is the insurance companies, rather than the government, that are to blame for people losing their current health insurance plans?

    1. Has anyone heard the argument that it is the insurance companies, rather than the government, that are to blame for people losing their current health insurance plans?

      That’s the current argument from President Not My Fault.

      In fact, that’s been pretty much his argument and/or answer to everything since he was sworn in to office.

      President Not My Fault, reporting for duty.

    2. Has anyone heard the argument that it is the insurance companies, rather than the government, that are to blame for people losing their current health insurance plans?

      Yep. That’s the current narrative. Insurance companies were ripping people off until Obama came in and saved the day. All hail Dear Leader.

    3. Has anyone heard the argument that it is the insurance companies, rather than the government, that are to blame for people losing their current health insurance plans?

      that’s NPRs position.

      1. I thought NPRs position was on its knees and inside the President’s podium.

    4. Yes, that’s one of the lines that the President’s party is trying these days. One problem is that all those plans were heavily regulated by each state, as was profit margins for the insurance company by state insurance commissioners.

      The PPACA increased the number of mandates, and many plans didn’t comply.

      Also consider that many people on individual insurance move in and out of it, simply because they get jobs with employer insurance, and then change jobs. So if you liked a plan in 2009, but then you took a job, and then you lost that job two years later, you’re no longer grandfathered and able to buy back the plan.

      There’s also a lot of plans that insurers have to raise the rates of because they now can’t charge higher money to the sick, and much less money than they should to the old.

    5. Seems to be the default assumption of the “corporations are evil” crowd.

      1. So, if the plans are monetarily beneficial to insurance companies and yet are still preferred by the people insured by the plans, why would the insurance companies drop the plan? Free money, right?

        1. The companies would presumable be willing to keep the plan exactly the same, because Free Money
        2. The customers want to keep the plan, because they like to give Ins. Cos. Free Money
        3. The insurance companies nevertheless drop the plan–which is basically Free Money (according to this argument)–even though their customers are more than happy to keep giving the companies Free Money, because of greed?
        4. I will now go back in time, and to the studio that recorded the argument I heard, and repeatedly bash together the heads of the two people too stupid to live. Does anybody need anything in their history changed before I head back?

        1. Can you tell Joaquin Benoit not to throw a hanging change up to Ortiz?

          1. That SOB ruined everything. The spirit of Valverde must have possessed him. I suspect Ortiz is on drugs though, just like Manny.

            If you ever wondered what a baseball team of civil war reenactors looked like, that’s the Red Sox. Thank goodness Tazawa and Uehara didn’t comprise their dignity by growing the Amish beards.

    6. From hotair.com:

      In a nutshell, there is a lot of regular turnover in the individual insurance market, and it has already been over three years since the law passed ? i.e., far enough in the past that it was pretty much guaranteed that most people currently in the individual market would lose their plans and find themselves being herded toward the ObamaCare exchanges. That’s kind of the idea, no?

      Update: I should add that Politifact already awarded O’s latest tortured argument on that front (“Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed) with their most unprodigious “pants on fire” status. Burn.

    7. The WaPO gave that 3 pinocchios today

    8. There are some people making this argument, but they seem to be unaware of the details of the grandfathering regulations.

      Any plan that is changed even in relatively modest ways, MUST be discontinued or converted into an ACA plan.

      However trivial updates to plans are actually quite routine. Almost everyone in the individual market gets an annual notice about plan revisions, such as small changes in co-pays, adding or subtracting certain coverages, and so forth. You kind of have to update plans regularly because the health care market is dynamic.

      It’s *possible* however that insurance companies might have made sure that the plans would lose grandfathered status because it is to their benefit if consumers are forced to buy more expensive plans.
      ESPECIALLY consumers who have *already* established a medical track record of not needing those services.

      1. I could see how the maternity coverage provision would incentivize cancelling plans held by men and older women, for example.

        If you can make that 50 year old woman purchase maternity coverage that you KNOW she isn’t going to need, you can make the exchange plans cheaper, which could help save you from a death spiral. Ergo, make a small change that ensures the 50 year old woman’s plan will have to be canceled.

  9. The Affordable Care Act is the biggest new health care program in decades, but the Obama administration has ruled that neither the federal insurance exchange nor the federal subsidies paid to insurance companies on behalf of low-income people are “federal health care programs.” The surprise decision, disclosed last week, exempts subsidized health insurance from a law that bans rebates, kickbacks, bribes and certain other financial arrangements in federal health programs, stripping law enforcement of a powerful tool used to fight fraud in other health care programs, like Medicare. ?The New York Times

    1. Yeah, even the NYT can’t justify that one.

  10. First, President Obama’s now-infamous pledge that those who liked their health plan could keep it applied only to people enrolled in those plans as of the day the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, March 23, 2010.

  11. Totally OT: Where did nicole go?

    1. The same place all female libertarians go: away.

      Nice things, we cannot have.

    2. ‘Nother totally OT:
      Would you like an overpriced, subsidized, green, cigarette lighter?
      “Third fire in Tesla Model S reported”
      http://www.sfgate.com/news/art…..963798.php

    3. She must have got a job that requires work.

    4. Nicole is currently in extreme wage-slave mode. She’s popped in a few times to let us know she isn’t dead.

    5. She’s busy and also in a non-social media mode at the moment. She’ll probably come out of it, but in her own time.

  12. First, President Obama’s now-infamous pledge that those who liked their health plan could keep it applied only to people enrolled in those plans as of the day the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, March 23, 2010. .

    No, it doesn’t. It contains no such limitation. Quite the opposite, in fact. That “no matter how we reform healthcare” is a promise that applies indefinitely.

    And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06…..ted=3&_r=1

    1. Betcha that’s the last time he lets the writers hand him a line without wiggle-room.

  13. But the dynamics were totally different. When Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s political strategist, persuaded Republicans to create a new entitlement program, he argued that it would help Republicans capture ground from Democrats on the health issue. It also put Democrats in a trick bag since, as a party, they tend to support entitlements, not oppose them.

    Thank you, Karl Rove.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsal…..cares-ills

    1. Karl Rove, fuck you, you fucking fuck.

  14. OT: of course the most important thing will be that policy makers, not individuals make these decisions.

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/0…..index.html

    1. If we don’t let policymakers make policy, why do we need them at all? Sheesh.

  15. Is there anyone who didn’t know by 2010 that all of his promises expire at the next dawn like faerie magic? I was only surprised that it took him this long to issue a revision.

  16. Now that even O’s supporters are jumping in his lying shit, perhaps some will start mocking his hemming and hawing as he tries to weasel out of it. It clearly doesn’t uhhhhh sound …. like teleprompter eloquence.

    1. I’m talking about stuff like the “cats and dogs” that “got snuck in”. It’s truly outrageous.

      1. What’s that now? Has it been discovered that pet insurance was mandated as well?

  17. Has anyone heard the argument that it is the insurance companies, rather than the government, that are to blame for people losing their current health insurance plans?

    It’s never lupus the government!

  18. Nah. His supporters are all in on this. One of my proggy friends posted a Jon Stewart clip explaining that the increases in premiums and people losing their coverage was all B.S. They are in full derp mode.

    1. I’m curious as to what Stewart’s line is. Is he on the “their coverage was just crap” bandwagon, or on the “it’s the insurance company’s fault” bandwagon?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.