Barney Frank on the White House Rollout of Obamacare: "They just lied to people."



Here's former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on the administration's terrible rollout of Obamacare last year, via Huffington Post

"The rollout was so bad, and I was appalled—I don't understand how the president could have sat there and not been checking on that on a weekly basis," Frank told HuffPost during a July interview. "But frankly, he should never have said as much as he did, that if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it. That wasn't true. And you shouldn't lie to people. And they just lied to people."

Basically, yes (although that wasn't the only Obamacare-related thing the administration misled the public about).

Frank suggests that the Obama administration could have avoided some trouble by not making the promise. But the question is whether the law would have passed without an explicit vow that people could keep their plans and doctors.

White House officials debated that question and decided to make the not-entirely-true promise anyway, understanding that it was a bit of a fudge. They believed it was necessary for the law to be passed. "If you like your plan, you can probably keep it," wouldn't have helped sell the law, one anonymous administration adviser told The Wall Street Journal last year

That wasn't the first time had looked into making keep-your-plan-and-doctor health reform promises either. Roughly two decades earlier, officials in the Clinton administration had gone in the same rhetorical direction. But a recently unearthed 1994 White House memo from the era found one adviser warning about the problems that could arise from making such an unkeepable promise. 

"It's one thing to say we'll preserve your option to pick the doctor of your choice (recognizing that this will cost more), it's quite another to appear to promise the nation that everyone will get to pick the doctor of his or her choice. And that's exactly what this line does. I am very worried about getting skewered for over-promising here on something we know full well we won't deliver."

In other words, it's not clear if the law would have passed without the promise. On the other hand, it's probably the source of some of the law's public opinion struggles today. 

If you're trying to understand why the law has consistently struggled in the court of public opinion, this is almost certainly part of the answer: The law that was passed isn't the law that was promised, and the public doesn't like the difference and resents being misled.


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  1. …”But the question is whether the law would have passed without an explicit vow that people could keep their plans and doctors.”…

    And that it will run up costs. And that it will limit care, And…
    The answer is “no”, it would not have passed if it were presented honestly, and the hag Pelosi and the lying bastard Obo both knew it.

    1. Bend the cost curve! Lower the deficit!

      1. To be fair, he never specified which direction the cost curve was going to be bent. Plausible deniability!

        1. People keep saying that, but it was a promise to “bend the cost curve down.”

          1. Ah, but the loophole is that he didn’t specify which axis he was referring to!

            1. *laughing*

              “We bent the cost curve down in the Z axis!”

              “That… THAT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING!”

              “That’s why we can claim it’s true!”

              1. It is not that the law would not have passed…my gosh, the Dems had majorities in all three bodies.

                No, the lies were designed to get Obama and the Dems past 2012 election cycle.

                This also directly affected the implementation, as key decisions were postponed, making it impossible to flush out the remaining implications in the timeline left.

                Heck, they couldn’t even run a bid process for implementation, as that would take the better part of the year, and the specifications would need a high degree of detail.

      2. Deficit neutral!

    2. You know…I’m not confident that it wouldn’t have passed. Consider how vehemently progressives support this administration no matter what it does. I think they’re so TEAM oriented that they would pass it.

      1. At the time, if it wasn’t passed – the “damage” to the president would have been too much. So they lied and cajoled the other Democrats into passing it… and they paid for it in 2010.

        1. Who says they wanted it to work. Makes it easier to make the case for a single payer system when the current one fails. Which is what Oblamer really wanted.

      2. I doubt it would have passed. It barely passed the senate. I’m still a bit confused about how that actually happened.

        1. Because if it didn’t pass, it would be because of how deeply racist America is, the only Western nation to elect a man of color to the highest office in the land.

      3. When you can “deem” something passed, you can also “deem” the associated cost curve bent down.

        Nancy Pelosi – California Deemin’

      4. Which is the best synonym for “progressive”?

        1) Nutjob
        2) Insane
        3) Criminal
        4) Liar
        5) Clueless

    3. Isn’t that the fedora’s version of the pansy calling the daisy queer?

  2. Hell, Barney, you ought to know. He’s your party’s President, and that’s been SOP for the Democrats for a looooooong time.

    1. Lying to the country to start a war in Iraq doesn’t count because TEAM, right?



          Nice effort ARV but it really could do with much more CHRISTFAG.

          Weigels Buttplug demands it!

      2. Two wrongs make a right! Derp

      3. You mean these lies?:

        “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

        “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.” Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

        “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.” Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

        “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

        1. How many $2 trillion wars did they start?

          1. Palin’s Buttplug|8.4.14 @ 11:08AM|#
            “How many $2 t”

            None, turd, he kept them going.
            Fuck off.

          2. Does the war against private healthcare count?

            1. The war on coal will be hitting that total shortly.

          3. Considering two of the three people quoted above voted for the AUMF, I’d say they at least started that one.

            And while the third didn’t have a chance to vote on such, I think his statements provide sufficient evidence that he would’ve and that the widespread belief at that time was that Iraq did have WMDs. There is a chasm of difference between making claims in good faith (even if used to justify a fool’s errand), and mendaciously lying to the public about something when you have multiple internal memoranda stating the complete opposite.

          4. They voted to authorize the war, therefore, they share the blame for starting it.

            And then they insulted our intelligence by claiming that the alleged “idiot spawn” Bush somehow tricked them into supporting the law.

            (BTW: If you are “tricked” by an “idiot spawn,” what does that make you? A bigger idiot than an idiot spawn?)

            1. War, not law.

              1. Love, not war?

                  1. Patriarchical rape, not sex?

                  2. Carbona, not glue?

            2. It bounces off of me, and sticks to you!

            3. If you are “tricked” by an “idiot spawn,” what does that make you? A bigger idiot than an idiot spawn?

              “Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows it?”

          5. Everyone they voted YES for Dumbass.

          6. In the cases of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, the answer is Afghanistan and Iraq. Both supported these wars at the outset.

            1. John F’n Kerry, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” This is just part of what qualifies him to be secretary of state; however, apparently not president.

          7. Spin! Deflection!It’s Weigel’s only rhetorical strength!

            1. And look how many people went running off, barking and baying down the rabbit trail, rather than simply sticking to the theme of the post…

              This is why I don’t bother interacting with it (h/t tarran).

          8. How people like you don’t recoil in horror over the stark evil they support is beyond me. By rights up you should have killed yourself years ago.

            There us still time.

            1. Leftism: politics as death-wish.

              My God. That makes sense.

          9. The quetion is how many $2 trillion wars did they lie about and help sell to the public?

          10. Congress controls the war. They control funding to the war. If Congress and Senate says no, then no war.

            They voted ‘yes’, therefore it is as much their war as Bush’s war.

            But, I know…it is way easier to just blame George for everything. The guy is so powerful, let’s face it, 7 years later and basically Obama is powerless in the face of Bush’s ideology to accomplish anything. Other than a mess of a health care plan, which is Romney’s fault, and I haven’t forgotten that.

          11. You mean by not executing their Constitutional duty but instead have Bush the blank check, and then ran away?

            I’ll grant this site bends a little GOP red (versus a Lewrockwell.com), but there are plenty of people here who have just as little use for Bush as Obama. But a partisan ball licker wouldn’t notice that.

          12. “How many $2 trillion wars did they start?”


            Seems to me that the Dems started Iraq during Operation Desert Fox, and then convinced the BOOOOSH administration to finish the job by insisting Saddam still had WMDs.

            9/11 and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan would have never occurred had Clinton not been too busy fucking his subordinates to kill UBL, an avowed terrorist.

          13. I’m a day late, but I’m going to post this anyway in the vain hope that it will at least change the repetitive nature of these trollish remarks:

            “Tu quoque” carries with it the implication that you approve of the actions of both parties. When you say, “Rar rar BOOOOSH rar,” what you’re actually saying is, “I compare the thing that you’re complaining about–and that I like–to the bad thing your person did and find them equal; either because I don’t actually think the bad thing is bad, or because I believe that my person is so good that he or she transforms bad things into good things through the magics.”

            So, PB, when did you begin supporting the war in Iraq, and/or at what point did you begin to believe that Barack Obama is Jesus Christ?

      4. Palin’s Buttplug|8.4.14 @ 10:46AM|#
        “Lying to the countr.

        Fuck off, turd.

      5. Why is it relevant? We are talking about a particular lie wrt a specific bill.

      6. Didn’t your faggot friends like Hillary vote for that shit too?


        Now go back to eating your own shit in the corner. The adults are talking.

      7. Jesus fucking Christ. That happened 10 years ago. In any event, it wasn’t as blatant a lie as this. Nice try at distraction again.

      8. Turd Burglar.

      9. Mishandling intelligence isn’t the same thing as lying.

        Besides, the Democrats got us into 4 wars, rounded up the Japanese and the native Americans, so we can give Bush some slack.

        Obama said he wasn’t going to torture people when he ran for president. He said we could keep our doctors after ACA. He said the ACA won’t add a cent to the deficit.

        You could say Obama was sincere in his belief but paid no attention to data or dissenting views. Or I could just go by your standard and call him a liar. Which is it?

    2. It takes one to know one (a liar, that is). Remember Barney’s “mistake” about the Fannie/Freddie financial crisis – he was caught in a lie saying that he didn’t know that they were in financial trouble – he was only on the House Financial Services Committee – what does he know.

    3. You know Barney Frank is going to be involved in any legislation that has the word “Fannie” in it.

  3. But the question is whether the law would have passed without an explicit vow that people could keep their plans and doctors.

    Considering it didn’t pass legally but through budget reconciliation as it is, I’d say one less false promise would have tanked it.

  4. Thanks Barney – 5 fucking years too late.

  5. Pot calls kettle black.

    1. So, obviously, Barney is a racist.

  6. I bet Cong. Frank feels vindicated now, what with his warnings at the time that the bill would deprive people of their doctors, and what with his courageous vote against the ACA.


  7. Barny the Frank gets things right once in a while.

    1. But not this time.

      Barney Frank denies there is no government created housing bubble.


      Then denies he said what he said and ignores that his first lie was recorded.


      I am always amazed that these guys and gals forget that everything they say and do is on youtube these days.

      1. AMEN!

        (Thanks for those. Ima save em. They will come in handy.)

  8. Honestly, I’d say Mr. Frank is full of crap. He’s trying to do his party a favor by blaming this on a lame duck administration. Anybody who was paying even marginal attention knew that line was a lie. It was obvious from the outset that that would be a consequence.

    1. Apparently the former moderate Democrats in the House believed the lie. And another round of moderate Dems in the Senate are sweating it out this year.

      1. Did they? Or did they assume that the issue would blow over by election day or that the delays in implementation would let them off the hook?

    2. This was my reaction too. This a planned “attack”. All this does is give a home to the Democrats running down the line a position to be contra to Obamacare when running against the Repubs. All this is is a disarming gambit against Repubs.

  9. Any revelations about the many lies told to pass Dodd-Frank?

  10. When has the establishment cared about a few lies? When have the voters cared – they’re either too jaded to expect politicians to keep their promises, or they support their Team no matter what.

    FDR broke his promise to balance the budget, and he’s a noble statesman. Bush I broke his no new taxes pledge, and he was a responsible leader making the tough choices.

    To our “leaders,” lying to get votes is just a cost of doing business. After they win the fruits of their lie, then some of them will write chin-stroking think pieces about how maybe the lie was not nice, but of course they wait until it’s too late to undo the lie’s effects.

    Next time a politician promises something, ask, “since you don’t expect to be held to account if you’re not telling the truth, why should we believe anything you say?” and “are you willing to put your Presidential salary in an escrow account under condition that the money can only be released to you after leaving office if you can show an impartial panel that you’ve kept your promises?”

    We know the answers.

    1. “Bush I broke his no new taxes pledge, and he was a responsible leader making the tough choices.”

      Nope, he lost an election over that.

      1. Well, all right.

        1. Sometimes the plebes just can’t stomach any more.

          And Bill Clinton learned the lesson of Bush and never lied to the public.

          1. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

      2. He not only merely lost the election, Clinton made it the centerpiece of his campaign in 1992.

        And remember: Bush 41 abandoned his pledge as part of a budget deal with the Democrats, in the spirit of “compromise” and “bipartisanship” that we are repeatedly told is lacking in Washington today. And the Democrats paid him back for his “bipartisanship” by hammering him with it in the 1992 campaign. Yet another reason to ignore the mainstream media pundits when the bemoan the lack of “compromise” and “bipartisanship” .

        1. So the question is, will Hillary make it the centerpiece of hers?

    2. “Politicians lie, and other news, at Eleven.”

  11. “If you like your plan, you can probably keep it,” wouldn’t have helped sell the law”

    And the honest admission that “If you like your plan, it is because you are ignorant and don’t realize it is only Junk Insurance, and need your betters to look out for you and force you to buy OUR junk insurance polices that are designed to make you subsidize costs for the people we consider important” wouldn’t have helped either.

    1. In fairness, anyone with e semi-functional frontal lobe should have been able to decipher that line for the bullshit it was. The only people that actually could believe that were the a) semi-literate and functionally retarded and b) Vox-esque true believer useful idiots.

      1. Exactly. I knew my plan was going to be dead, because HSA plans were specifically targeted.

        1. Well, hey, you were able to keep certain portions of your plan. For example, chances are you still have a ridiculously high deductible, but now you get the benefit of a high (and rapidly increasing) monthly premium on top of that.

      2. Ah, the old Homer Simpson defense. “It takes two people to lie – one to tell the lie, and another to believe it”.

        1. Patterson: …. You told people I led children into my gingerbread house!!

          Homer: Yeah that was just a lie.

    2. How about nothing at all?

      OBAMA: Every time I try to help folks, those Republicans start complainin’ about plans ‘n’ doctors ‘n’ premiums ‘n’ a whole buncha things. Stop hatin’ all the time!

      [wild cheers]

      1. His followers are truly mental deficients who sit in the corner eating their own shit. Like PB.

      2. Cuz I sound real cool when I drop my g’s

      3. “Now I understand everyone’s shit’s emotional right now. But I’ve got a 3 point plan that’s going to fix EVERYTHING.”

  12. “Roughly two decades earlier, officials in the Clinton administration had gone in the same rhetorical direction. But a recently unearthed 1994 White House memo from the era found one adviser warning about the problems that could arise from making such an unkeepable promise.”

    So we need addendum:
    Dumber than Bush, Dirtier than Nixon, Slicker than Willie

    1. Dumber than Carter; Dirtier than Nixon; Bloodier than Johnson . . .

      1. Gayer than Buchanan?

        1. I don’t think I’d go that far. He has at least apparently produced some offspring.

    2. Not really so dumb, dirty, or slick. African. That’s how he does it.

  13. Whenever I see Barney Frank I cry to keep from laughing.

    1. Whenever I see Barney Frank I run and turn the t.v. off to keep from destroying a very nice electronic device.

  14. Personally, I was rather surprised that people thought this was a big deal.
    My own reasoning runs this way:

    Obama is a politician. All politicians lie. Therefore, Obama lies.

    More specifically to ObamaCare:

    The ObamaCare scheme, or any other national healthcare scheme, is inherently and profoundly disruptive. Prior arrangements with insurers, physicians, and other service providers must either adapt to the disruption or be discontinued. Therefore it is impossible to assure that all ex ante relationships will exist after ObamaCare. To promise the impossible is tantamount to lying. Therefore, Obama lied about ObamaCare.

    When I first heard that people were upset about this, I thought it was just Republican agitation. I was really shocked that even the mainstream media started criticizing Obama’s mendacity. It almost seems like the msm dimwits actually believed the ObamaCare promises, and thought that Hope’n’Change meant that Obama would not lie.

    1. Well stated, but I don’t think the MSM was actually surprised by it, but rather the vastly uninformed electorate was. So the MSM had to make like they were also deceived by this promise and actually believed it so that when the next opportunity to peddle a lie for the prog in office comes along, they can hawk it again with the public being none the wiser about their previous deception.

      1. Funny, the msm did the same thing about Iraq/WMD. All gung ho at first, then full bore Bushliedpeopledied when the shit hit the sand.

      2. Kirsten Powers was genuinely surprised at what happened to her plan, and so was a radical lefty named Ted Rall. A few others whom I can’t recall.

        I think there were a lot of Kool-aid drinkers. You can tell they’re back on the stuff, because now they’re yammering about single-payer or “getting the right people in there.”

    2. They do believe it. Because when people say all politicians lie, too many think of that in the abstract. It’s not really that particular politician they like or voted for, but the other guy.

      If you tell people what they want to hear, they will believe you more often than not. Because they want it to be true.

  15. Repeat but seems worthwhile:
    Chron (lefty) bizz writer has bad news:

    “”Many” Californians with health insurance, who have experienced double digit rate increases in premiums in recent years, are seeing them go even higher this year, according the California Department of Insurance. Defying “pronouncements” that 2014 rates would be lower, average rate increases for people who had insurance in 2013, factoring age and geography, “averaged between 22-88%.”

    Yep, that O’care is really bending the cost curve, isn’t it? And part of the problem is those healthy young-uns aren’t signing up, but our slimy lefty as a solution:
    “And perhaps where some [?] political pressure needs to be applied.”
    Thuggery: It’s what the left is all about!

    1. It is a little amusing that, while Obama had greatest support amongst young people, the same demographic is least likely to participate in his most significant political accomplishment.

      1. They’ll be paid back by Lizzie with free rubbers, student loan forgiveness and free child care.

      2. They wanted free shit, they thought they were getting free shit. Then they got the bill.

      3. And watch them take another run at that football in 2016 when Hillary holds it.

    2. Must libertarians rely on cherry picking? From the same article…

      “While there are likely to be quibbles over its methodology, ”

      From the paper it cites… Increases from 2013 to 2014 for the bronze plan ranged from 5 to 40%.

      If the problem is that private sector insurance plans are raising rates at a rate that makes them unaffordable, this poses a moral dilemma for socialists advocating the demise of private sector insurance companies. How so?

      1. 1. Gov’t and Ins companies collude to increase insurance coverage
        2. Ins Companies raise prices.

        1+2 = Market Failure = Needz moar Gov’t

        (This is how a progs’ mind actually works)

      2. And Obama and his defenders remain pathelogical liars. All “Socialist” does is remind us that socialists and fascists have the same ideology.

  16. It was a lie – and anyone with any working on how insurance worked (networks, and all) would have red flagged it.

    I mean – jeebus! – if I moved from one job to another, there is a possibility that I may have to change doctors if I change insurance.

    1. It still angers me to no end that no only did this legislation maintain the employer provision bias, it further codified it into law. Perhaps the most absurd reality of our HC structure is the employer provision thereof.

      1. Yep. Basically take all of the worst parts of the existing system and make them much worse seems to have been the plan.

      2. I wish I was still allowed to post at Daily Kos, because they’ve actually gotten around to demanding to know how that employer-tied health insurance system evolved and why it should remain in place. None of them ever heard of FDR’s wage freezes and the consequent generations of distortion to the free market.

  17. A modest time line regarding Barney Frank:

    1. Vote for Obamacare
    2. Retire
    3. Reveal that the public was lied to

    1. Please don’t forget the FannieMae, subprime catastrophe resulting in Dodd Frank nonsense legislation. Pretty near criminal

      1. I thank you for the reminder. Some of this stuff cannot be mentioned often enough.

        1. And didn’t his boyfriend run a brothel out of his apartment? Can you imagine the press if a GOPer did the same? All it takes is a wide stance in an airport stall, and the story is on the front page for months.

          The soft bigotry of low expectations….

  18. Vote now for national gun registration. You can keep your gun if you want it.

  19. Yet Barney Frank still believes that government needs to be bigger and more powerful. Next time we’ll get it right for sure.

  20. Barney Frank on the White House Rollout of Obamacare: “They just lied to people.”

    Big fucking deal. Socialists don’t stop supporting socialism when socialism inevitably fails. They call it a case study, an isolated incident that shouldn’t distract from this newer shinier piece centrally planning legislation now up for a vote.

  21. It makes one wonder if the law can be challenged in court on the grounds that the administration and high level D congressthings KNEW that it was an outright lie (with documentation to boot), and yet peddled it in the attempt to gain support for it passing.

    1. “It’s not the court’s job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices” or whatever it was Roberts said.

      1. If the American people elect Hitler 2.0 and he proceeds to kill people mercilessly, I wonder if the courts should have a say as to the legality of people’s “political choices”. What a stupid sentiment that should have come from someone who doesn’t understand that democratic whims don’t trump constitutional law. But instead it comes from a SCOTUS judge… what the fuck.

  22. But if we were given a false choice, one that the administration knew was false, that may change the story a bit.

    1. To me a false choice is between a Republican and a Democrat.

      The difference between to two big government parties is negligible.

      There IS an alternative to Hitler and Stalin.

  23. This is a big deal. The Donks are turning on each other.

  24. Barney “there is no housing bubble” Frank = expert on lying politicians.

  25. A little late, Barn. But then again, you were smart enough to keep your mouth shut at the time liberals nationwide were dancing in pools of their own jism–and now that November is getting close, you’re eyeing those swing voters in your district.

    Hats off to you for your mediocrity and spinelessness, both of which are par for the political course.

  26. No one lied about what Dodd-Frank would do though, so he’s got that going for him.

  27. “White House officials debated that question and decided to make the not-entirely-true promise anyway”

    A little typo, when you said “not-entirely true promise” you actually should have said “entirely not-true promise.”

  28. Obozocare is just bait-and-switch.

    If a business owner did what Obozo did, he’d probably be in jail.

  29. my roomate’s half-sister makes $63 /hr on the internet . She has been without work for ten months but last month her pay was $17500 just working on the internet for a few hours. check this W?W?W.J?u?m?p??62.C?o???m

  30. Sorry, Barney, but I’ve not yet forgiven you, nor will I probably ever, for the bullshit you pulled with Clinton, when you essentially converted “every American has the right to own a home” TO “Every American MUST own a home and the government will fuck up the laws and incentives in the banking and mortgage businesses in order to make that happen.”

    And then you put the impossibly stupid “mark to market” disaster in place, launching the Housing Bubble’s bursting.

    You just love CONTROL, whatever shape it takes, so long as you get to pull the strings.

    Please pull a Bush and STFU. Thanks.

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