Did Obama lie about keeping your plan? Not if you’re up on your Newspeak!

Kyle Wingfield TRUE

, Rare Contributor

Posted on

“If you like your health plan, you will [almost certainly not] keep your health plan.”

Or maybe, “If you [and Kathleen Sebelius and I] like your health plan, you will keep your health plan.”

Apparently, President Obama should have said something along those lines when, instead, he repeatedly made a promise that, according to NBC News, his administration knew was untrue:

“Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a ‘cancellation’ letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience ‘sticker shock.’

“None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be ‘grandfathered,’ meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

“Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, ’40 to 67 percent’ of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, ‘the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.’

“That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.”

As the story goes on to note, Obama was still making his “if you like it” claim as late as last year. Was that an election year? I forget.

The spin on the left is coming fast and furious. One of the top Democrats in the House, Steny Hoyer, says the president’s language was simply “not precise enough … [it] should have been caveated with — ‘assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do.’ “

If you believe that, you’d probably vote for someone as dissociated from the unvarnished truth as Steny Hoyer.

The other talking point, from none other than Talking Points Memo, goes like this:

“What’s happening in most of these cases is that is that people are being notified that they’re being automatically rolled over into new policies, which pretty much by definition provide fuller and more complete coverage. Some of those policies are more expensive, even after the subsidies the law provides to offset these increases.”

So, if you didn’t know “you will keep your health plan” really meant “you will have a very different health plan that costs more, maybe more than you can afford,” well, you must be some kind of mouth-breathing, anti-elitist. Unless you’re “both healthy and affluent,” in which case: Shoot, you deserve to be lied to. In any case, to take Obama’s promise “you will keep your health plan” to mean, well, “you will keep your health plan” is nothing less than to “demagogue what’s happening and intentionally mislead.”

But hey, we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Actually, we have always known Obama’s “if you like it” claim was false. Or, at least, we’ve known it since at least July 2009, when some prescient, wise, unerring journalist wrote:

“[B]eing 99 percent certain that existing plans would die wasn’t enough for Obama, Nancy Pelosi & Co. So they also inserted a clause requiring, after a grace period of five years, current insurance plans to meet the same government mandates of coverage for the new public option and any new private ones.

“In other words, you can keep your plan, but only for five years. Then, by law, it must change to cover all the mandates dreamed up by the Health Choices commissioner and his merry band of advisory panels.”

Of course, the law changed between that writing and now: both in what the final text said and how, as NBC News reported, the administration simply decided to change it unilaterally. Again.

Even if they hadn’t made those changes, the kinds of policies in question were bound to die off for other reasons I mentioned in that column, which is now 51 months old.

But then that brings us back to one of the other most infamous things said about Obamacare: “We have to pass the bill …”

An earlier version of this article ran at The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Read it here

Kyle Wingfield TRUE

Kyle Wingfield is an opinion columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter @kwingfieldajc 

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