Least of all the people that pushed it, but that’s what makes Joe Biden’s latest gaffe mostly Kinsleyan. At a rally in Iowa over the weekend, a voter angry over the impact of ObamaCare on his father’s finances demanded and explanation from the then-VP. Did Biden know that it would double his premiums and send deductibles skyrocketing and lie about it? Or was Biden just an idiot, so to speak?
Biden took the obvious choice (via Twitchy):
VOTER: During the run-up to the passage of ObamaCare, President Obama promised my father that if he likes his plan he could keep his plan, and that his insurance would be cheaper. After passage his plan was no longer allowed and his insurance costs doubled. Since you supported the plan, were you lying to my dad, or did you not understand the bill you supported?
BIDEN: Lying don’t face [unintelligible]. No, look, there’s two ways people know when something is important. One, when it’s so clear that when it passes everyone understands it. But no one did understand ObamaCare, including the way it was rolled out. And the gentleman’s right, we said you could keep your doctor if you wanted to, and you couldn’t keep your doctor if you wanted to, necessarily. He’s dead right about that.
Of course “he’s dead right about that”! PolitiFact called that the Lie of the Year for 2013, so obvious was the falsity of its claim. At the very same time that Barack Obama and Biden were propagating this lie, the bill explicitly outlawed lower-cost coverages that were quite popular with consumers, forcing them into much more expensive one-size-fits-all comprehensive plans. Biden’s still lying here about that impact, in fact. Forcing healthier people to pay more for comprehensive insurance to cover the added costs of adding in sick people wasn’t an unintended consequence; it was a key part of the ObamaCare plan. That’s why PolitiFact called it a “lie” in the first place rather than the Misunderstanding of the Year.
Biden’s explanation doesn’t make much more sense in its broad strokes, either. Obama and Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act on the premise that government had the aptitude to run health-care markets better than the markets themselves. Now he’s admitting that the bureaucrats they entrusted to perform that task had no comprehension of how to do so, plus he’s arguing that the best way to fix that problem is to add a government-managed plan to the markets as an option. That may be better than the proposals from his competitors to simply nationalize health care through Medicare for All, but only slightly.
Anyway, the young man never did get an answer to his question. Is Biden still lying, or does he not comprehend health-care systems? The final answer is … yes.