In recent weeks the American people have received a dramatic tutorial in the usefulness of lies – at least in certain political venues. By now, even Hottentots in Africa know that President Obama told a serial whopper, starting as early as 2009, about his signature Affordable Care Act – a.k.a. “Obamacare.” The whopper of which I speak is, of course, his oft-spoken promise – i.e., “…if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan. Period!” Mr. Obama also repeated the same promise about keeping “your doctor” (but only if you like him).
Citizens took the president at his word until this month, when the “stuff” seriously began (as they say) to hit the fan during the ACA’s startup. Millions of holders of individual health insurance found that they could not, in fact, keep their plans because of the ACA’s fine print stipulating that all insurance plans must meet new standards. (In case you just returned from outer space, those controversial new standards include coverage of birth-control, abortions, pre-existing conditions, and children up to age 26. Many existing plans do not cover these and other required items and treatments.)
The long and short of it is that millions of people who thought they were safely insured under plans they liked (and could afford) now find that they will have to buy new policies that include provisions they neither want nor wish to buy. In many cases, those new policies are priced far above their old policies – often with dramatically higher premiums and/or deductibles.
As the uproar over the cancelled policies and new coverage specifications grew, Mr. Obama and his liege men (and women) dashed about the country trying to convince the hoi polloi that they did not hear Mr. Obama’s original words clearly. This was a futile effort, since most of the country knew very well what they had heard. There was ample record of the president repeatedly declaiming about keeping well-liked insurance plans and doctors. “Period!” – that emphatic final word amounting to the kiss of death. Even Big Media reporters who have worshipped Mr. Obama since he first burst on the scene had to admit that The One looked guilty as sin.
Soon, even a child could see the you-heard-me-wrong story was not working. Late-night comics were cracking wise about Obama’s Fib-orama and the disastrous rollout of the on-line system. Democrats who will stand for re-election in 2014 were panicking. A crowd of the latter actually met with the president this week to urge delay of the act’s implementation until some of its most damaging features can be corrected and the on-line system can be made to function properly.
Subsequently, Mr. Obama chose the friendly environs of ABC News to deliver what Big Media is generously calling an “apology” to citizens who have lost insurance coverage that they liked and who might be facing higher costs for new policies. In his carefully worded statement, the president said, “I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me…”
Note that Mr. Obama did not actually apologize for lying or even for publishing misleading information. He merely said he was sorry that people were “finding themselves in this situation” – as though he was merely a misinformed messenger who is now horrified by the results. (In other words, he “felt their pain” – as Mr. Clinton famously said on some occasions.) His statement contained the implicit assurance – in his signature style – that he always meant for people to keep their policies, but that somehow others had failed to make that happen, as intended. Even reporters can now see that he lied about his signature legislation on numerous occasions. They can also see that he has neither admitted the lies nor apologized for telling them. That is, I presume that reporters can see all this plainly. Certainly, the country can.
That being said, I want to emphasize the importance of understanding how the term “useful” applies to these lies. In the first place, the lies about people keeping their insurance, etc., were extremely useful to the legislation’s drafters during the campaign to pass it. Beyond question, the act could never have passed either house of Congress without the cover furnished by those lies. Although both the Senate and House of Representatives were under Democrat control in 2010, many Democrat Party members would have headed for the tall grass, had its advocates truthfully admitted that most individually insured Americans would lose their current policies – even if they liked their coverage and wished to keep it. Ultimately, the bill passed only narrowly, without a single Republican vote – the only piece of legislation of such scale in our history to pass solely on the votes of a single party. You’ll never hear a single Democrat admit that the Affordable Care Act was passed under the cover of “useful lies,” but this is precisely what happened.
Fortunately, there is an upside to both the dishonest passage of the ACA and to its disastrous opening. With the truth about the bill’s contents now coming out, and Mr. Obama’s brazen untruths about how things would play out for people and their families revealed for all to see, citizens can no longer be under the illusion that Mr. Obama is really a good guy just trying to improve things for the people, while constantly being blocked by (those dastardly) Republicans. That story has lasted for five years, but the truth is finally there for all to see.
Mr. Obama repeated the whole shtick again this week, but the attempt looked really pathetic under the media’s klieg lights. Those lights are finally being turned, full strength, on the real Obama. Good guys don’t lie to the American people – repeatedly! – to get something enacted that could never pass under the glare of the truth. This is not good government, and it is not “straight dealing” at the personal level. If you thought Mr. Obama would be a new kind of politician, think again. The man is not trustworthy.
“You’re going to love what this law does for you,” said Mr. Obama somewhere along the path to the rollout. (Perhaps not an exact quotation, but close enough for government work.) So far, the portents are not auspicious.
Mr. Obama, Senator Reid, Mrs. Pelosi, and numerous other Democrats have said the ACA would be “historic.” (Joe Biden also said it was a “big #[email protected]$-ing deal.”) I would have to agree with all of them. This is shaping up as a snafu of truly historic proportions. (I also wish to add that any comparisons of the ACA to the Motor Vehicle Administration are grossly unfair to the MVA.)
I urge my readers to Google the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to find the origin of “snafu” – the famous WWII slang term. Never was a word so appropriate to a situation. If we don’t learn from this fiasco, and take immediate steps to correct it, we’ll deserve everything we get. I believe massive civil resistance is the solution. Come on, then!