Stabbed in the Back for our Own Good

Barack Obama's State of the Union Speech, January, 2010.

Barack Obama’s State of the Union Speech, January, 2010.

The New York Times editorial, Insurance Policies Not Worth Keeping (Sunday, November 3rd) was a blatant attempt to excuse President Obama’s (now infamous) broken health care promise. But it is much more than that and begs some scrutiny.

In an attempt to immediately deflect the discussion away from President Obama’s repeated dishonesty the Times began its editorial by pouncing on Republicans:

Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it. Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that.”

Why did The New York Times refer to the Republican claims as “charges,” as if Republicans might be manufacturing some unproven fact? Nowhere in the rest of their editorial can I find any verifiable facts that disprove the claim that insurers are cancelling existing policies or that many people are being forced to pay substantially higher premiums for coverage they do not want. Based on that, I suspect the Republicans have been telling the truth. Based on the letter I received from my health insurer, I know they are. The Times may try to characterize Republican truth-telling as stoking fears and confusion, but to the millions of honest, informed people who have had their policies cancelled, many Democrats included, they appear ridiculous.

The editors at the Times want us to believe that the President merely “misspoke” on numerous occasions while out selling his health care plan to the public. Therefore, let us go back and review a little of the history of ObamaCare to see if this is correct. In a speech given on August 15, 2009 President Obama said this:

“No matter what you’ve heard, if you like your doctor or health care plan you can keep it. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. If you like your private health insurance plan you can keep your plan  –  period.”

Let’s examine very carefully exactly what the President said. Notice that when he made these statements he prefaced them by saying “No matter what you’ve heard,” thus putting forth the idea that all his skeptics were either uninformed or intentionally misleading the public about their ability to keep the same insurance coverage once the new health care law kicked in. Then at the end of these clear, carefully chosen, declarative statements the President emphasized the certainty of his pledge by saying “period.” When any person uses that word at the end of a statement everyone knows what it means (except perhaps the editors at the New York Times who think he merely “misspoke”) – ending a statement with the word “period” is a common rhetorical device intentionally used by a speaker to convince the listener that what the speaker says is going to happen, is going to happen, no ifs, ands, or buts. End of story.

We now know as a matter of fact that the opposite was true. It was Obama’s skeptics who were correct. They were not the ones who were uninformed or intentionally misleading. I know this because I am one of the millions of privately insured people who recently received a letter saying, “because of these new (ACA) requirements, your current Individual and Family Plan will no longer be available after December 31, 2013.”

   “A rough style with truth is preferable to eloquence without it.”                     — Cadwallader Colden

Not surprisingly, anger over the President’s broken pledge has caused the Administration to go into damage control. It has been trying to explain to us that what we remember the President saying is not actually what the President said. We are told that our memories are faulty.

As an example of his attempt to rewrite history the President gave a speech in Washington on Monday November 4th where he said, “What we said was you can keep it (your healthcare plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed (in March 2010).” Really now, because that seems different from what he said back in 2009 and 2010 when he was trying to sell his health care plan to the American people!

So we watch the video reruns of Mr. Obama’s speeches to refresh our memories. We would not want to be accused any further by Mr. Obama’s defenders of misrepresenting facts and demanding accountability based on faulty memories. Mr. Obama’s speeches have been preserved for all to see and hear. But when we watch these reruns we find they do not contradict our memories. In fact they support them.

Other examples of “the promise:”

“We will keep this promise to the American people – If you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor – period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan – period.  No one will take it away no matter what.” — President Obama speaking before the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009

“If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan – period.” – From President Obama’s weekly speech from the oval office, August 22, 2009.

These pledges sound very precise and very specific to me. He did not elaborate back then, before the law was passed, and say there might be millions of exceptions to his promise. But now the cancellation letters have gone out and a fact of ObamaCare is verifiable – millions of Americans will not be able to keep the plans they themselves chose and were happiest with contrary to the President’s repeated assurances – assurances that included an appeal from the President to disregard the warnings of his critics. On top of that, in most cases, the new replacement plans are far more expensive, which contradicts another foolish promise candidate Obama made in 2008.

Some estimates are that between 5 and 10 million people have already received notices of insurance policy cancellations. Regardless of the exact number, each one of those is a broken promise – millions of broken promises.

The other defense that some are asking us to believe is that back in 2009-2010 the President was simply uninformed about the fact that the new health care law would not allow millions of Americans to keep their health care plans? This idea was put forth by unnamed sources in the Obama administration as reported in a recent Wall Street Journal piece. But was President Obama merely just uninformed? If so, the American people have made a grave mistake in choosing their leader. A man who does not comprehend key aspects of what has been described as his “signature legislation” and his “greatest achievement,” should not be entrusted with remaking a health care system that involves 314 million free people.

If President Obama was more than just uninformed, which an honest view of the evidence must bear out, then one must conclude that he deliberately misled the American people. The following facts will show without any doubt that he was aware of the probability that insurance policies would be cancelled under the Affordable Care Act though in almost every instance he refused to share this detail with the American people.

The Associated Press ran a piece entitled, “Promises, Promises: Obama’s Health Plan Guarantee.” The story ran on June 19, 2009. The date here is key. It began:

“WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama rarely equivocates when he promises that his health care plan will let people keep the coverage they have. His vow sounds reassuring and gets applause, but no president could guarantee such a pledge.”

President Obama spoke to the public on numerous occasions after that AP story and it is clear he did so to intentionally counter his numerous skeptics. That is why in his speech of August 15, 2009 he prefaced his pledge on health care by saying, “No matter what you’ve heard…”  Skepticism of the President’s pledge was widespread at this time; he was at the center of the public debate on health care, so he was well aware of his skeptics’ arguments. He couldn’t escape them. Does anyone seriously believe, even at The New York Times, that the President did not question whether his promise was going to be kept or not? Whether he was aware specifically of the AP story is not important, the proof that he was intentionally answering his skeptics leaves not a shadow of a doubt that he was aware of their warning that insurance plans would have to be cancelled if the Affordable Care Act was in fact passed.

Did the President not examine the question and see that the outcome would allow only two possibilities, that he would either honor his promise (since he was the one making it) or that he would not or could not honor the promise? I maintain that an honest man does not pretend that he can make promises that he knows are not within his power to keep, because that is also a form of deception. Like this one from candidate Obama in 2008: “And if you already have health care then we’re going to reduce costs an average of $2500 per family on premiums.”

The same Associated Press report contained this bit of news:

“Earlier this week (June 2009), the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 10 million people would have to seek new insurance under a Democratic plan that a Senate committee is working on, because their employers would no longer offer coverage.”

Does anyone, including the highly intelligent editors at The New York Times, honestly believe that President Obama was not aware that the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report contradicting his bold promise?

At the Health Care Summit held in Washington on February 25, 2010 (again the date here is important) Republican Congressman Eric Cantor argued his point of disbelief in the President’s promise this way:

Congressman Cantor: “When we were here about a year ago across the street you started the health care summit by saying one of the promises you want to make is that people ought to be able to keep the health insurance that they have…well the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) sent a letter I think it was to leader Reid about the Senate bill and in that letter it suggested that between 8 million and 9 million people may very well lose the coverage that they have because of this, because of the construct of this bill.”

President Obama responded: “The 8 to 9 million people that you refer to that might have to change their coverage, keep in mind out of the 300 million Americans that we’re talking about, would be folks who the CBO estimates would find the deal in the exchange better. Would be a better deal.  So yes, they would change coverage because they’ve got more choice and competition. So let’s just be clear about that…”

This rare admission proves that the President was, in fact, aware of the bipartisan CBO estimate that showed that millions of Americans would lose their plans if the bill were to become law. But the following month when speaking before an audience at George Mason University the President Obama just couldn’t bring himself to publicly acknowledge this damning little detail. Instead, with his usual deceptive eloquence he repeated the fraudulent pledge:

 “Now, I just — I just want to be clear, everybody.  Listen up, because we have heard every crazy thing about this bill…. But when it — it turns out, at the end of the day, what we’re talking about is common-sense reform.  That’s all we’re talking about. If you like your doctor, you’re going to be able to keep your doctor.  If you like your plan, keep your plan. – March 19, 2010.

It’s clear that by this time President Obama was well aware that there would be millions of exceptions to his promise, that people would have their insurance policies cancelled, but he refused to go there. The dirty little secret is that everyone who had a hand in crafting the Affordable Care Act knew that people would have to be forced out their private plans and into the exchanges in order for the new health care law to succeed. But sharing this detail of the Affordable Care Act at any point during the months long public debate could only serve to weaken the chances that the bill would become law. Team Obama, which of course, includes the New York Times simply made the calculated decision to conceal the truth in any way possible until after the passage of the bill. In my book that’s called fraud.

The question then, is what level of dishonesty will the American people tolerate from their leaders and the people in the press who can make or break politicians? The president knew that the Affordable Care Act was going to force insurance companies to cancel policies and raise premiums because of certain new requirements, yet made repeated pronouncements to the contrary to get his pet legislation passed. He is no different from a used car salesman that knowingly covers up a major flaw in a car he is about to sell, even after being questioned by the customer about any known problems.

“Undoubtedly the very best administration must encounter a great deal of opposition; and the very worst will find more support than it deserves. Sufficient appearances will never be wanting to those who have a mind to deceive themselves.” Edmund Burke

People need to realize the danger our country is in when a major news source like the New York Times decides to provide cover for and manufactures excuses for the repeated dishonesty of a President of the United States? I have no beef with the fact that The New York Times is run by people who have a different vision for America than I do. But I do have a problem when they encourage deception and provide cover for it at the highest levels of government for the sake of implementing their world view. They are just as guilty of deception as the President is. They rationalize their lack of honesty and integrity because it is being done (in their minds) for a greater cause. They will never admit this in public.

The late William O. Baker, patriot genius and former leader of research at Bell Labs once warned: “The very media, founded on communications and automata, especially television, can communicate illusion as well as reality, and that is all right as long as we know the difference.”

The problem is that too many people allow themselves to be easily manipulated by news outlets like the New York Times and therefore do not know the difference between illusion and reality.

So what additional cover was the Times’ Nov. 3rd editorial attempting to provide for Barack Obama and his administration? Listen to what was written in order to justify the cancellation of  millions of insurance policies:

“Some had deductibles as high as $10,000 or $25,000 and required large co-pays after that, and some didn’t cover hospital care.”

How many is some? Show us the data NYT! They would have us believe that only the most rotten, worthless insurance plans were the ones being cancelled. It is a bogus argument because I can tell you my deductible was $1250 with my portion of the copay being 20%, plus it included coverage for hospital care. Their extreme example does not characterize my health care plan, nor, I suspect millions of others who are having them cancelled. But the Times probably figures it can get away with this false argument because it will not be detected by the majority of people who are allowed to keep their plans (for now).

The title of the editorial itself, Insurance Policies Not Worth Keeping, is a glaring example of the New York Times’ complete arrogance and the great disdain they have for people who simply want to retain the freedom to make their own decisions rather than being coerced by their government. Somehow the technocrats and their cheerleaders at the NY Times have so much confidence in their abilities that they think they know what health care plans are best for millions of individuals. This is the kind of arrogance that motivates them. Their superior version of what America should be must be imposed on the masses for their own good even if it means deceiving the people in order to attain their goals.

Then the Times editorial made this stab at the backs of millions of Americans, “And premiums may well rise, in part because insurance companies must accept all applicants, not just the healthy.”  The Times knew this all along as did President Obama. They were all well aware of the Congressional Budget Offices’ warnings. Some of us have been warning about the consequences of ObamCare all along, yet it was we who were maligned for speaking the truth and continue to be maligned by this administration and their media lap-dogs.

When the Times editors were actively working to get Barack Obama elected for the first time in 2008 did they believe candidate Obama when he said that his health care plan would save the average family of four $2500 per year? Perhaps they knew it was an impossible dream, but in the morally loose world of The New York Times editorial staff perhaps that too was an acceptable lie on the march towards socialized medicine.

And the New York Times is still at it spreading confusion and propaganda about ObamaCare. One recent story tried to draw a parallel between the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina to the flawed implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It’s utterly ridiculous to compare a government’s response to a chaotic, unpredictable natural disaster like Katrina to a self-inflicted, man-made law that this administration has had 3 ½ years to prepare for. The story also demonstrates how defensive the Times has become – they can hardly bring themselves to do a story about the failures of the Obama administration without somehow dragging the Republicans into it.

Now we get this report just out today from the Wall Street Journal: “United Health drops thousands of doctors from insurance plans.” I suspect that the Obama administration’s damage control has only just begun. It will be interesting watch the propaganda machine at New York Times as it continue to defend the indefensible.

I am working on a title for my next post. I’m thinking of calling it: “The New York Times – a propaganda machine not worth keeping.”

Frotho

The Affordable Care Act or, Dr. Fuddystuff’s Travelling Miracle Wagon

Bad law is the worst sort of tyranny.
–Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Irish orator, philosopher, & politician.
From  A Speech at the Guildhall in Bristol, 1780.

Where you find the laws most numerous, there you will find also the greatest injustice.
–Attributed to Arcesilaus (ca. 316-241B.C.) Greek Philosopher

The mania to control to control everything by law, the attempt to control every action of every individual from the cradle to the grave. This is an outrage upon human intelligence, individuality and liberty.
–Dr. Edward H. Ochsner, Social Security, 1936

I wish people would stop calling the new health care law Obamacare. It should be more properly nicknamed Democratcare. After all, it was passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress and not a single Republican voted for it. The Affordable Care Act is a partisan law crafted by liberal Democrats. They own it. The American people need to be reminded of this fact over and over again as the next election approaches.

Socialized medicine is every true liberal’s dream. They believe that if the government can just tax certain people “just a little bit more” that the government can then fund and run a health care system and provide “free” healthcare to everyone. These liberals never seem to want to give consideration to basic economics. Some actually think that doctors, pharmaceutical manufacturers and other health care providers should not be allowed to “profit off of sick people.” They do not understand that the potential reward of profit is one of the greatest drivers behind the innovation and improved technologies that we all benefit from.

A study of the last 250 years or so shows that in free market economies where the rule of law is respected, the selfish pursuit of profit has continually resulted in improved products and services in all areas of human activity. America is one of the greatest examples of this. It is the main reason why the U.S. rose to lead the world in innovation and technology. The benefits to society from the exercise of individual self-interest were masterfully explained by Englishman Adam Smith way back in 1776 in his book Wealth of Nations: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” Liberals have had well over 200 years to study the truth of Smith’s concept of economic self-interest in a market economy, yet they stubbornly refuse to let the truth get in the way of their utopian fantasies. When governments hinder profit-making in the private sector they strip away an important incentive to produce things and improve things. This will be one of the most tragic consequences as the United States moves towards a single-payer health care system as liberals demand more and more government intervention.

Make no mistake about it – the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which we are now beginning to see the consequences of, is merely a step in the direction of this liberal dream of socialized medicine. But the people who rammed this bad law down our throats failed to mention their real intentions when they were selling the Affordable Care Act to the American people. These deceivers were relying on the gullibility and ignorance of a large body of the American public. And it worked!

As a result of Democratcare, we are now seeing health insurance premiums skyrocket and employer-sponsored health care plans disappear before our very eyes. According to the Health Policy and Marketplace Review website, out of 19 million individually insured people about “16 million (of these) are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage and must re-enroll in order to avoid a break in coverage and comply with the new health law’s benefit mandates––the vast majority by January 1(st, 2014). Most of these will be seeing some pretty big rate increases.” To any Affordable Care Act supporter who disputes this claim – I will gladly show them a letter to this effect that my wife and I recently received from our own health insurer.

No one thinks that the health care exchange rollout that officially began on October 1st has been a rousing success either. Actually, by almost all accounts (with the exception of those coming from a few silly propagandists), the rollout of the online exchange has been a complete disaster.

Advertisers are not the only ones who take advantage of human gullibility. A politician who appeals to "hope" manipulates emotions and discourages critical thinking.

Advertisers are not the only ones who take advantage of human gullibility. A politician who appeals to “hope” manipulates emotions and discourages critical thinking.

What happened to all the warm and fuzzy promises made by President Obama and the Democrat leadership in Congress? You know, promises like, “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep it,” or, “This law will save a family of four an average of $2500 per year.” Hogwash! Only dummies believed that. Only the “useful innocents” believed that. Some call them “low information voters.” Shame on them for believing it! When “Hope” replaced critical thinking, I knew we are all in trouble.

It is a big mistake to ever believe a politician that makes a promise that someone else will have to keep. That is exactly what Obama and the other Democrat leaders did. You see, this is their duplicitous way of being able to place blame at the feet of someone else when their health care scheme becomes recognized for the disaster that it is.

Here’s how it works: Obama, Pelosi, and Reid et al. promised that their new health care law would make decent health care available to everyone, make it more affordable, and save most people money. They pretended that they had the ability to control health care costs even though they have no personal expertise in the industry they proposed to regulate. They pretended that their 2000 page law would have no adverse effects on the health care industry. It was all sold to the American public like an all-purpose, good-time elixir off of the good Doctor Fuddystuff’s travelling miracle wagon.

Then they get their pet law passed and the technocrats begin the real work of writing the details into the federal code. (Oh, did I forget to mention the special treatment given by the Obama Administration to some of its allies in the form of waivers? How’s that for equal treatment!) Insurance and health care providers must conform to these new complicated regulations or the feds will simply put them out of business. These regulations now total more than 11,000 pages of fine print. How are people entrusted with delivering our health care supposed to make sense of a complex web of regulations like that?[i] It takes an incalculable amount of time and brain power to try to figure this whole mess out. Somebody please tell me – how does that keep costs down? If health care providers have to spend finite resources trying to conform to 11,000 pages of regulations, what resources will they have left to devote to actually doing things like diagnosing and treating sick patients?

Part of the problem is that schools apparently do not teach basic economics anymore. Every business has finite resources. If more resources must be devoted to onerous regulations and government-mandated paperwork, then fewer resources will be available for other things, like time spent treating sick patients or an upgrade to a new cancer-destroying technology.

The truth is we need less government intervention in our health care system, not more. No one in their right mind should want the body that created and hamstrings the U. S. Postal Service – Congress – to be in charge of “bringing down” health care prices. The Post Office recorded a $15.9 billion net loss last fiscal year and expects to record a loss of roughly $6 billion in the current fiscal year. One of the recent proposals made by the Post Office to close its revenue gap is to raise the price of a first class stamp from $.46 to $.49, which of course will only encourage more people to use fewer of the Post Office’s services because as everyone knows there are other alternatives available.

Another frightening thing about the Affordable Care Act is that the Internal Revenue Service will be the main enforcement arm of the law. God help us all.


[i] According to The Fact Checker article (May 15, 2013, The Washington Post), “At the very least, one can point to 10,000 pages of tiny regulatory type regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.” Sourced 10/24/12: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/how-many-pages-of-regulations-for-obamacare/2013/05/14/61eec914-bcf9-11e2-9b09-1638acc3942e_blog.html