Remember, people, that the mainstream media stands ready to challenge the government and speak truth to power … in a Republican administration. In a Democratic presidency, we get the Paper of Record’s editorial board shielding power by offering an untruth so bald and so ridiculous that it’s practically a parody of itself. Barack Obama promised on dozens, if not hundreds, of occasions that his Affordable Care Act would not force people out of the existing plans they liked and wanted to keep. “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” Obama told people as late as the presidential debates in 2012 against Mitt Romney. “No one will force you out of your plan,” he promised on other occasions.
Now that the lie has been thoroughly exposed, did the New York Times speak truth to power? Hardly (emphasis mine):
Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it.
Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that. By law, insurers cannot continue to sell policies that don’t provide the minimum benefits and consumer protections required as of next year. So they’ve sent cancellation notices to hundreds of thousands of people who hold these substandard policies. (At issue here are not the 149 million people covered by employer plans, but the 10 million to 12 million people who buy policies directly on the individual market.)
But insurers are not allowed to abandon enrollees. They must offer consumers options that do comply with the law, and they are scrambling to retain as many of their customers as possible with new policies that are almost certain to be more comprehensive than their old ones.
Misspoke? Scooter Libby “misspoke” on one occasion and ended up with a felony conviction for it. Obama turned that promise into a mantra. He deployed it against critics on every occasion by insisting that people who pointed out the obvious — that coverage mandates will make risk pools more expensive and that plans would have to get cancelled to manage them — were just scaremongers, and that the ACA would just mean more people would get insurance. “No one will take away your plan,” Obama promised repeatedly.
Speaking of misspeaking, note well what the Times did in this argument. They shifted the pledge from “plan” to insurance, as if the promise was “If you like Aetna, you can keep Aetna!” But that wasn’t actually the promise, and the people who had insurance weren’t getting tossed out of their plans anyway … at least not until ObamaCare got enacted, as Dianne Feinstein noted yesterday. Obama promised that his bill wouldn’t disrupt existing insurance plans, and kept promising it for years after his own administration estimated it would disrupt up to two-thirds of existing plans.
Contra the Gray Lady, this actually does impact the 149 million Americans with employer-based plans. When the employer mandate hits next year, that market will go through the same cancellation cycle as the individual markets this year did. As many as 93 million Americans might find their employer-based plans either changed out or gone altogether, as HHS’ own data shows.
The motto of the New York Times is “All the news that’s fit to print.” Apparently, they misspoke when they wrote that.