Kessler: Four Pinocchios for “you can keep your plan”

posted at 9:21 am on October 30, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

In my last post, I critiqued the Washington Post for its inability to directly state what has become obvious about the Barack Obama presidency — its incompetence and its dishonesty.  Give credit where it’s due, though, because the Post’s fact-checker didn’t shy away from addressing the lie of “no one will take away your plan,” one of the many version of the “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie from Obama and his allies over the last five year.  Glenn Kessler gives Obama all four Pinocchios, and adds in a slam at Valerie Jarrett for her own “FACT!” check:

In recent days, administration officials have argued that the plans that are going away are “substandard” and lacked essential protections — and that many people may qualify for tax credits to mitigate the higher premiums that may result from the new requirements. …

But such assertions do not really explain the president’s promise — or Jarrett’s tweet. There may be a certain percentage of people who were happy with their “substandard” plan, presumably because it cost relatively little. And while Jarrett claimed that “nothing” in the law is forcing people out of their plans “unless insurance companies change plans,” she is describing rules written by the president’s aides that were designed to make it difficult for plans to remain grandfathered for very long.

In fact, Kessler notes that HHS made it even more difficult, on purpose:

If you dig into the regulations (go to page 34560), you will see that HHS wrote them extremely tight. One provision says that if copayment increases by more than $5, plus medical cost of inflation, then the plan can no longer be grandfathered. (With last year’s inflation rate of 4 percent, that means the copay could not increase by more than $5.20.) Another provision says the coinsurance rate could not be increased at all above the level it was on March 23, 2010.

While one might applaud an effort to rid the country of inadequate insurance, the net effect is that over time, the plans would no longer meet the many tests for staying grandfathered.

The conclusion — the President lied, early and often:

The administration is defending this pledge with a rather slim reed — that there is nothing in the law that makes insurance companies force people out of plans they were enrolled in before the law passed. That explanation conveniently ignores the regulations written by the administration to implement the law. Moreover, it also ignores the fact that the purpose of the law was to bolster coverage and mandate a robust set of benefits, whether someone wanted to pay for it or not.

The president’s statements were sweeping and unequivocal — and made both before and after the bill became law. The White House now cites technicalities to avoid admitting that he went too far in his repeated pledge, which, after all, is one of the most famous statements of his presidency.

Now that Kessler has addressed this, will Politifact? A search for “keep your plan” turns up this gem from 2011, when the Virginia version of the site rated this statement from Rep. Morgan Griffith “mostly false”:

“Originally, Democrats promised that if you liked your health-care plan, you could keep it,” Griffith wrote. “One year later we know that you need a waiver to keep your plan.”

Two years later, it’s the White House and Democrats trying to use grandfathering as a fig leaf, even though they deliberately undermined the process to force millions of Americans out of coverage they chose for themselves.  Will Politifact revisit this?  Or how about this from 2012, a “half true” for Obama’s pledge?

Obama has a reasonable point: His health care law does take pains to allow Americans to keep their health plan if they want to remain on it. But Obama suggests that keeping the insurance you like is guaranteed.

In reality, Americans are not simply able to keep their insurance through thick and thin. Even before the law has taken effect, the rate of forced plan-switching among policyholders every year is substantial, and the CBO figures suggest that the law could increase that rate, at least modestly, even if Americans on balance benefit from the law’s provisions. We rate Obama’s claim Half True.

Don’t bet on it.  This week, they gave David Axelrod a “mostly true” for his statement that most Americans aren’t getting their health-insurance plans cancelled.  That’s only “mostly true” if one ignores the context of ObamaCare targeting the individual market.  HHS predicted more than three years ago that as many as 67% of the people in those markets would have their plans cancelled due to their regulatory intervention through the ACA.  It’s an absurd point of intellectual dishonesty to count employer-based plans in that consideration, especially since millions of Americans are starting to get those cancellations in their mailboxes.

I’d rate Politifact “mostly false” as a fact-checking entity based on this data. Kudos to Kessler for cutting through the BS.


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He lied for the “greater good” of moving the country in “progressive” steps:”

The ObamaCare Awakening

Once customers are herded into the exchanges, HHS has the power to further standardize benefits, further limit choices by barring certain insurers from selling through selective contracting, and generally police the insurers to behave like the government franchises they now are. The state-run exchanges in Vermont and the District of Columbia have already barred individual coverage outside their exchanges.

Think of Obamacare as single-payer with training wheels.

Drained Brain on October 30, 2013 at 9:27 AM

NonPee and loveofcommunism showed up yesterday, took a swipe and were hounded like trapped rats, will any other lefties make an appearance and defend any of this?

Where are all of you brave defenders who said DeathCare was going to be the equivalent of fire, the wheel, and sliced bread all rolled into one?

Bishop on October 30, 2013 at 9:27 AM

This is the largest case of widespread theft though consumer fraud perpetrated on the public in this country’s history.

Nigerian scammers everywhere are awed by the brazenness of it.

People should go to jail for this type of criminal activity.

Dusty on October 30, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Libtards defending this are presently like cockroaches reacting to bright lights. The truth is now on display for all to see. Eat it. Own it, commies.

HomeoftheBrave on October 30, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Still waiting for Politifact to revisit their Lies of the Year for 2009, 2010, and what the hell, 2012.

Only the first two deal with ObamaCare and have since been proven true, though.

Chris of Rights on October 30, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Four Pinocchios doesn’t do this ‘Whopper’ justice. This lie was historic. For this lie, Kessler neeeds at least Five Pinocchios, maybe Six.

petefrt on October 30, 2013 at 9:35 AM

You’re already seeing a two-level effort here to fight the reality that Team Obama lied about maintaining health insurance policies. The official White House spokespeople and other pols in higher positions are trying to use the “Yes, but…” argument, in claiming everyone’s getting so much more under their new ObamaCare policies. But you could also see the coordination on Tuesday on the left — via posts by Tommy Christopher and others — of the far more totalitarian-toned “Shut up and get with the program, if you know what’s good for you” messaging.

The lower level Obama supporters can get away with telling policy holders facing cancellation to basically do a prostate test with their current insurance plan. It’s the equivalent of Obama’s “I won” line to House Republicans just after his election in 2009, and no doubt the president and other higher-ups would love to get on TV and say exactly that, but don’t dare do so, because it would expose both their contempt for the people they supposedly care about, and the fact this whole thing is more about grabbing power and redistributing revenue to the Democrats’ more reliable voters than expanding insurance options to the masses.

jon1979 on October 30, 2013 at 9:35 AM

This is the largest case of widespread theft though consumer fraud perpetrated on the public in this country’s history.

People should go to jail for this type of criminal activity.

Dusty on October 30, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Fraud on consumers. And fraud on the electorate. The election was largely theft by deceit.

petefrt on October 30, 2013 at 9:38 AM

“I think the message was accurate, but … clearly it should have been caveated with, ‘assuming you have a policy that does in fact do what the bill is designed to do.’ ~ Steny Hoyer

Just exactly what is “the bill designed” to do Mr. Hoyer? It appears millions of Americans are finding out that the collaboration between the writers of this bill and the insurance industry was DESIGNED to shift/force the individual market policy owners off of their plans, and into a Government designed policy that accomplishes two things—the appearance of a similar plan, (which it is not), and higher premiums, with double or triple deductibles. This is exactly why Obama and the Democrats can’t delay the individual mandate—shifting millions onto the Government Plan is essential to funding the whole mess. They, (the government & the insurance companies) need to have this pool of “suckers”, (7 million or so), or they can not fund the millions of freeloaders, (the same folks that visited the emergency rooms a few times a year for their health care needs), that WILL BE funded with 100% federal subsidies—by design.

The bottom line is YOUR GOVERNMENT took us all to the cleaners by telling us that they had a better plan for what health care needs should be, and what we should pay for their “service”. The whole plan is a re-distribution/shifting of money from one sector of the public to another sector with YOUR GOVERNMENT’S grubby little hands in the middle, dictating what they think is best for you. On top of all this they are forcing millions, (who are in no immediate need of health care insurance—ages 27-35), “by design” to purchase policies to further fund this disaster. Individual choice was NEVER a consideration with ObamaCare. And Obama and the Democrats knew it.

Rovin on October 30, 2013 at 9:40 AM

This was supposed to fail more slowly, with the Democrats given more of a chance to replace their personnel in Congress, and have more credibility when they called for single-payer.

Sekhmet on October 30, 2013 at 9:43 AM

I have to say that Obama may be in serious trouble by repeatedly making that statement in the past. It is likely going to hang around his neck for the rest of his administration. Some people are trying to parse the phrase in a feeble attempt to protect him, but I am seeing more and more negative stories popping up on places like CNN and the Alphabet networks.

Johnnyreb on October 30, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Where are all of you brave defenders who said DeathCare was going to be the equivalent of fire, the wheel, and sliced bread all rolled into one?

Bishop on October 30, 2013 at 9:27 AM

A rolling ball of flaming bread?

Hmm….

nukemhill on October 30, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Next question: When the (illegal) waiver of the employer mandate expires, what O’care standards will be applied to the plans offered by employers, how many of these plans will fail to meet these standards, and how many more people will find that their policies have been cancelled due to noncompliance with O’care standards?

Upstreamer on October 30, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Where are all of you brave defenders who said DeathCare was going to be the equivalent of fire, the wheel, and sliced bread all rolled into one?

Bishop on October 30, 2013 at 9:27 AM

A rolling ball of flaming bread?

Hmm….

nukemhill on October 30, 2013 at 9:48 AM

…..and canned beer to wash it all down.

Upstreamer on October 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM

The key thing is this.

if before the health care law was passed Obama told congress this law will throw 14 million off of the individual market and

7 million will go on the exchange and get a better plan for a lower price

and 7 million will go on the exchange and get no better plan and

PAY THRU THE NOSE to subsidize the other 7 million

would the law be passed-the answer is NO.

gerrym51 on October 30, 2013 at 9:55 AM

While one might applaud an effort to rid the country of inadequate insurance

This is just b.s. If a female in her late 50′s chooses to forego maternity coverage, that doesn’t make her policy inadequate. Commentators like this one seem to be ingnoring the fact that the biggest problem for people losing their current policies is that they are forced to purchase coverage for risks that they don’t even have. And that’s the only way Obamacare will work, by forcing healthy people to purchase coverage they don’t need, to put money into the system to take care of people with pre-existing conditions, and low-income people who can’ afford any coverage.

Also, people should have the right to evaluate the risk of loss and decide whether the risk justifies the increase in premiums to cover that loss. Dems seem to be taking the position that if there is any chance you might have a loss, you must be forced to purchase insurance to cover that loss, and we should all just be happy about the “better” coverage. That’s ridiculous. For some, the risk may be so low, that it makes more sense to forego that insurance coverage, and save money to cover the risk yourself. It’s like none of these people ever heard of a cost-benefit analysis.

mbs on October 30, 2013 at 9:58 AM

The key thing is this.

if before the health care law was passed Obama told congress this law will throw 14 million off of the individual market and

7 million will go on the exchange and get a better plan for a lower price

and 7 million will go on the exchange and get no better plan and

PAY THRU THE NOSE to subsidize the other 7 million

would the law be passed-the answer is NO.

gerrym51 on October 30, 2013 at 9:55 AM

One problem with that statement. Obama had zero input in making the law. He let Reid and Pelosi run with it, and that brings up another issue that is starting to finally get some traction.

The ACA law originated in the Senate and not the House. I think Roberts tossed out a huge bone to anyone smart enough to pick it up by ruling it a tax, because unlike Obama, John Roberts does know what is in the Constitution. Any bills that raise a tax must originated in the House and not the Senate, and the ACA did not originate in the House.

Johnnyreb on October 30, 2013 at 10:03 AM

So can we impeach Obama yet?

neyney on October 30, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Any bills that raise a tax must originated in the House and not the Senate, and the ACA did not originate in the House.

Johnnyreb on October 30, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Reid thought of that. If you recall, they “amended” a veterens benefits bill that had originated in the House (or something like that) to create Obamacare. It went to conference as a totally unrelated bill, but the Senate Dems simply rewrote it as Obamacare, passed it via budget reconciliation, and sent it “back” to the house.

Timin203 on October 30, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Some lies are so egregious that even a sycophant like the WaPoo’s Glenn Kessler can’t spin a happy face on them.

Next question: When the (illegal) waiver of the employer mandate expires, what O’care standards will be applied to the plans offered by employers, how many of these plans will fail to meet these standards, and how many more people will find that their policies have been cancelled due to noncompliance with O’care standards?

Upstreamer on October 30, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Given all that we are seeing now, that is the next shoe to drop.

We will not see or know the full effects until the expiration of the waiver – given how some of the details of how the regulations defined by HHS and the IRS gutted the original protections / grandfathering of individual plans were effectively buried in 20K+ pages starting back in the summer of 2010.

There are reasons why so many businesses and Democrat special interests pushed so hard for not only waivers, but a delay of the employer mandate. The MSM, largely rooting for the program and Administration, did not even partially report on these reasons.

There are many more ‘surprises’ that we are going to learn – just as the former Speaker of the House told us when she said we had to pass the bill to see what is in it.

Athos on October 30, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Obama’s strength is that he NEVER tells the truth. It all started when he promised the “most ethical administration evah” and has made a Grand Canyon slide into mendacity “evah” since.How can you concentrate on any one lie when you need a bank of super computers to correlate and tabulate all prevarications he has made? It’s like trying to concentrate on a single ear of corn in a whole field of it.

MaiDee on October 30, 2013 at 10:36 AM

“There’s ‘DEAD‘ dead and there’s ‘MOSTLY‘ dead. Your friend here is only MOSTLY dead!” – Miracle Max

Captain Scarlet on October 30, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Kessler: Four Pinocchios for “you can keep your plan”

Four Pinocchios is not enough for this cluster. Kessler needs to adjust his scale out to infinity.

rukiddingme on October 30, 2013 at 10:40 AM

In recent days, administration officials have argued that the plans that are going away are “substandard” and lacked essential protections — and that many people may qualify for tax credits to mitigate the higher premiums that may result from the new requirements. …

It’s as much of a lie that these old plans are “substandard”. To the proggies ‘substandard’ only means ‘not-Obamacare compliant’. What that means is that some silly little trinket that the proggies in the REB’s administration have decided we simply must all have is not in those old policies.

Silly little trinkets like free birth control for Flukes, maternity care for men, etc.

‘Substandard’ to a lot of unfortunate folks means “just what I wanted”.

slickwillie2001 on October 30, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Irony – the site crashed as Sibelius testified that “the site never crashed, it’s just slow due to high volume”.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Where are all of you brave defenders who said DeathCare was going to be the equivalent of fire, the wheel, and sliced bread all rolled into one?

Bishop on October 30, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Enough of your disingenuous propaganda, wingnut. If you had a shred of intellectual honesty, you will admit that this scheme is in fact quite similar to a burnt piece of toast thrown on the ground and rolled over with a car.

RINO in Name Only on October 30, 2013 at 12:15 PM

you will would admit

RINO in Name Only on October 30, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Good grief. Pinocchios, really? A children’s story that relates to lying X 4 and that’s as close as they can get to calling the president a straight up liar outright. This is why they lose.

bour3 on October 30, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Where were these people back when this lie was being told???.. bak when maybe a little honest journalism might have saved us alot of time, money, and aggravation?

Murf76 on October 30, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Vindication for US Rep Joe Wilson, for his “you lie!” comment during BHO’s 1st SoU speech.

gonnjos on October 30, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Vindication for US Rep Joe Wilson, for his “you lie!” comment during BHO’s 1st SoU speech.

gonnjos on October 30, 2013 at 3:53 PM

…he deserves a medal!

KOOLAID2 on October 30, 2013 at 9:19 PM