Quotes of the day

Amid a firestorm of criticism, President Obama today walked back his oft-repeated, unambiguous promise that “if you like your health plan, you can keep it.”

With hundreds of thousands receiving cancellation notices from their providers, Republicans have slammed the president in recent days for misleading the American public. Today, Obama tweaked his original pledge.

“For the vast majority of people who have health insurance that works, you can keep it,” he said in a speech in Boston.


President Obama tried a new tack Wednesday as he fought back against criticism of his Obamacare claims.

Fact-checkers and journalists have ruled that Obama wasn’t being truthful when he claimed that people who liked their insurance could keep it. Obama during a speech in Boston sought to cast the issue Wednesday as trying to weed out “bad apple insurers” who don’t provide enough coverage.

“One of the things health reform was designed to do was to help not only the uninsured but also the under-insured,” Obama said. “And there are a number of Americans, fewer than 5 percent of Americans, who’ve got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident.”


My family was enrolled in a Carefirst high-deductible plan that cost $667.63 per month. In-network deductible, $5,400; out of network, $10,800. Out-of-pocket limit: $6,400 in-network; $12,800 out of network. The plan was joined to an HSA.

The most directly comparable plan on the D.C. health exchange will cost $865. The deductibles are somewhat higher: $6,000 and $12,000. The out-of-pocket limits are very slightly lower: $6,000 and $12,000.

That $200 a month differential seems to be the cost of community rating: I had to answer a bunch of questions about my health before qualifying for my prior plan; the new plan will be issued, no questions asked. Presumably somewhere there is a D.C. resident who smokes or who has some pre-existing condition who will receive a corresponding $200 a month windfall…

The ACA was ingeniously designed to deliver benefits to Democratic constituencies and impose costs on Republican ones. The big surprise in the ACA rollout is that this design is going awry. It’s not only plutocrats and one-percenters who will find themselves worse off; not only the comparatively affluent retirees enrolled in Medicare Plus programs. Self-employed professionals who earn too much to qualify for ACA subsidies will soon discover what I have discovered: They are paying more for a worse product.


Nationally the marketplaces offer tens of thousands of different policies with a wide variety of coverage, but Harte has noticed many have one thing in common: They cover a narrow network of doctors and hospitals

In New York, NYU will accept only a minority of the plans. In Los Angeles, UCLA medical centers will accept a couple. In Atlanta, Emory has limited the number of plans it will take. Academic medical centers are often pricier because they tackle the more complex cases.

WellPoint, a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer offering policies in 14 states, is narrowing its networks in many markets after research showed consumers care more about the price than the provider.


Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire expressed shock that so many Americans are losing their current plans. “We knew that they would need to sign up again, but obviously I don’t think anybody thought people would be kicked off their health insurance plan,” said Shaheen, who refused to say if Americans should be able to keep the plans they had in 2013…

When asked if Americans should be able to keep their current plans, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin would only say, “What I’m understanding is that people, like in Florida, are getting advice on transitioning and hopefully they’ll have a higher quality, lower-cost plan.”

Many Senate Democrats tried to avoid answering questions about the president’s broken health insurance promise. Senators Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas (both of whom are up for reelection next year) held their cell phones against their ears when approached for questions. Mark Warner of Virginia simply scoffed and walked away when asked if Americans should be allowed to keep their current health plans. Oregon senator Ron Wyden asked if we could talk later.


Wanna get the ol’ blood pressure rising? Go to whitehouse.gov and do a search on “misinformation” and “health care.” There you will find a sneering, self-satisfied series of claims that supporters of the Affordable Care Act are fighting with the truth on their side, unlike those lying liars of the Grand Old (Lying) Party…

Since the president began selling the Affordable Care Act, he has brazenly coupled his lies and false predictions with the repeated notion that it’s the other side who is congenitally dishonest in this debate. And for most of his tenure, the press has eaten it up. It got to the point during 2012 that many journalists claimed the presidential election was a referendum on truth itself, which is why that liar-face Mitt Romney must be defeated…

This is a gut-check moment for the mostly left-of-center journalists who have made such a show these past few years of dropping false equivalence and calling out political bullshit at the source. You can subject the policy and politics of Obamacare to truth-scans, or you can carry water for the president. You cannot do both, at least without a laugh track.


“Your law was the model for the nation’s law,” Obama said in his speech Wednesday. “This new [national insurance] marketplace was built on the Massachusetts model.”…

Except health care costs did not decline in Massachusetts, and neither did medical-related bankruptcies—stated goals of both Romneycare and Obamacare.

More telling, Obama will have to argue that Massachusetts matters because complicated things are hard and problems arise. Fine. But that also betrays a harsh truth: The administration apparently learned nothing about the front-end political and policy hazards that Massachusetts confronted, or the gradualism required to implement the law. That means it was willfully ignorant of or indifferent to the anticipated difficulties of taking a compulsory state-insurance program nationwide. In the medical community, this has a name: malpractice…

In his windup here in Boston on Wednesday afternoon, Obama said he will never give up on implementing the law. “We will grind this out. We will see this through. One and inseparable.” That’s two parts truth and one part silly sentimentality. The only thing inseparable from Obamacare is entrenched hostility. Obama has known that from the start. And that’s made the grinding more difficult than it should have been. Anyone here could have told him that.


For decades before Obama burst onto the political scene, liberals had been pushing for the federal government to establish some sort of national health care program.

But this effort always ran up against the same obstacle — an overwhelming majority of Americans were happy with their coverage and were leery of any changes…

When Obama took office and made health care his top priority, he understood that one of his main tasks was to convince Americans that he had a plan that could improve the health care system for those who it wasn’t currently working well for (such as those with pre-existing conditions) while leaving it untouched for those who were satisfied…

Obama knew that a lot of people would lose their coverage. Even if there was nothing in the law that explicitly ordered Americans to get rid of their insurance, legislation that made such sweeping changes to the insurance market inevitably was going to create disruption.


Barro leaves out half the reason Obamacare deliberately killed low-premium plans: stealth redistribution. A central aim of the law was forcing those with more basic plans to buy more comprehensive plans and thus subsidize people who wanted or needed comprehensive coverage…

Honest Obamacare defenders say the president shouldn’t have promised to let Americans keep their insurance when he really meant that if Obama likes your health care plan, you can keep it.

“Vast swathes of policy are based on the correct presumption that people don’t know what’s best for them,” Barro wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, defending this approach.

But this paternalistic mindset, so honestly expressed by of one of Obama’s favorite writers, can also explain why the Obama administration was so willing to mislead on Obamacare: If people don’t know what’s best for them, there’s no reason to deal with them honestly.


When it comes to websites, pride goes before destruction. The same is true of overly ambitious policy plans — or otherwise Utopian schemes. It takes a lot of chutzpah to believe that you (the government, the president, …whoever) – care more about my family’s healthcare than I do.

But that is precisely the message being used to rationalize the “if you like your plan you can keep your plan” canard…

For those looking to draw grander conclusions, this is a teachable moment. The hubris necessary for this kind of vast undertaking — impacting nearly 20 percent of the economy! — is patently unconservative. And I don’t need to trot out some fire-breathing or controversial conservative to demonstrate why this sort of chutzpah is a fundamental affront to basic conservative philosophy…

Liberalism operates under a fatal conceit that is fundamentally immodest. The ObamaCare rollout is a prime example of why such hubris is dangerous and costly.




Via the Daily Rushbo.