A Big Lie and A Little Apology

President Obama emphatically promised “If you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance” over and over because he knew, from recent history, that the truth would be fatal to his health care legislation.

The media herd stampeded breathlessly Thursday night to news that President Obama had “apologized” to the millions whose health insurance has been or soon will be cancelled as required by ObamaCare.  Here are the more coherent excerpts from the President’s long-winded, word salad answer to a question from NBC News’ Chuck Todd’ regarding his if-you-like-your-insurance-you-can-keep-it promise:

We are proud of the consumer protections we’ve put in place, on the other hand we also want to make sure that nobody is put in a position where their [health insurance] plan has been cancelled and they can’t afford a better plan even though they’d like to have a better plan so we’re going to have to work hard to make sure those folks are, you know, taken care of.

[…]

Even though its a small percentage of folks who may be disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them and it’s scary to them.  Uh. And I am sorry that they, uh, you know, are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.

So, Obama came up a bit short of a clear, direct apology for his earnestly assuring us of what he knew was not true, some thirty times in televised speeches.

For context that explains why “these folks” are  “finding themselves this situation” let’s review history.

HillaryCare was the nickname given to President Clinton’s 1993 health care proposal after it lost traction in Congress and the First Lady tried to revive it.  Opponents had provoked massive opposition all across the country with TV ads featuring “Harry and Louise,” a middle-class couple suffering anxiety and despair because the health plan they liked would be taken away and replaced with a plan “designed by government bureaucrats.”

Harry Louise ads exploited our natural human resistance to change.  People are always reluctant to abandon a known and understood status quo for a future circumstance that they can’t fully understand until they experience it.  We Americans are especially hostile to change being forced upon us by arbitrary government or bureaucratic edict.

When President Obama decided to dust off the old, progressive dream of “universal health care” he knew it was vulnerable to the same attack that had killed HillaryCare because:

  • Roughly 85% of Americans already had health insurance, and most were satisfied with it.
  • Except for true believers on the far left, there was no demand for government to take control.

Due to these truths his sales strategy all but created itself.   His health insurance plan could not possibly pass Congress unless he prevented mass resistance by emphatically assuring the eighty five percent that:

If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.  No one will take it away, no matter what.

The purpose of these words was never to describe the the written law that we now call ObamaCare.  We know this because he started if-you-like-it-you-can-keep-it during his 2008 campaign before the first word of the law was written, before he knew what sort of legislation could actually pass Congress.  He continued this promise throughout 2009 as the actual language of the law was continuously changing through the legislative process to reflect various political agreements and tradeoffs.

Ultimately the law squeaked through Congress, passing the House of Representatives by only four votes, with all 178 Republicans and 34 Democrats voting no.  If Members had been pressured by 200 million people who objected to being forced into different, more costly insurance, ObamaCare would have been sent to the same place as HillaryCare, the ash heap of history.

Obama continued to make the you-can-keep-it promise after the law was enacted because to admit that it was not true would be to put his 2012 reelection at risk.

While the President has so far acknowledged only that most customers in the individual insurance market have lost or will lose their insurance, a much larger group, tens of millions who now have employer provided insurance will face the same fate in 2015.  Like the individual polices that are now being cancelled these group policies are also what Obama calls “sub par,” in that they don’t conform to commands in ObamaCare regulations. 

It now seems obvious that the President delayed the employer mandate until 2015 to prevent those millions of voters who are covered by employer group insurance from realizing what was happening to them until after the 2014 Congressional election.

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