Saturday, November 2, 2013
34 Obama Words That May Live in Infamy
“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period. No one can take it away from you. No one can take it away from you. No matter what.”
President Obama, in 2009 Campaign speech, and on 24 other occasions
“No matter what” has arrived with a vengeance. When the history of ObamaCare is written, these 34 words may reflect the President’s legacy and the fate of ObamaCare.
His statement was straightforward, unequivocal, and direct. It left no wiggle room. Period.
But as of now, 2 million Americans, estimated soon to be as many as 10 to 15 million in individual markets, are receiving health plan cancellation notices. Potentially. 93 million more are said to be on the health plan chopping block. Americans are angry. Many think are have been lied to. Republicans are emboldened. They see these words, with graphic video evidence of how when they are uttered, as a potent campaign weapon for the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Behind the scenes in 2009, White House aides debated merits of the pledge, now under attack as “a lie.” Ezekial Emanuel, Obama’s chief medical advisor at the time, comments, “We thought we could fulfill the promise with this grandfather clause.” Others said the promise was too broad. Jon Favreau, Obama’s chief speech writer, says, “Simplification and ease of explanation were a premium.” The political point of view prevailed, a simpler, flat-out- statement won the day.
President Obama is now recalibrating this vow by saying consumers will be able to buy better coverage on the new federal exchanges. The can replace those “shoddy” and “substandard” policies peddled by insurer “bad apples “ with more comprehensive and “better” products. Many health insurers, however, are responding by sending out cancelation notices. Insurance executives reason that these policies, many written in 2010, would have died out anyway.
What will be the consequences of this cancellation flap? Does the controversy imperil ObamaCare? It is too early to tell, but I think these consequences may ensue
· Adverse selection, that insurance concept that says, in essence, that the young and health are less likely to sign on, and older and sicker patients will enroll in substantial numbers. This could trigger a “death spiral” in insurance markets with highe premiums and deductibles and a collapse of ObamaCare.
· Negative public reaction, with a deepening and broadening political opposition to ObamaCare. The health law has been unpopular from the start. A Real Clear Politics average of 8 major national polls now indicates 424% are for/favor the law and 50.1% are against/oppose it.
· Loss of Credibility and Confidence and Trust in Government - The latest NBC/WSJ poll shows Americans in a “sour mood, “ with Obama approval at an all time low, anti-incumbency running high, and two-thirds saying America is in decline. RCP poll averages indicate 51.7% disapprove of Obama job performance, 70.6% says country is on wrong track, and 84.4% disapprove of Congressional performance.
Tweet: Obama’s vow, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” may come back to haunt him and may imperil ObamaCare.