Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Obama Didn't Lie! So What Did Happen?

Of course Obama didn't lie about people keeping their existing health insurance if they want to.

I could deny he lied based on the fact he seems to have too much character to lie, which I believe, but I don't have to go that far.

There are other indicia.  First, there was no reason for him to lie, especially after the health insurance reform bill passed in early 2010.  Even after it passed into law, he kept saying the same thing for almost four more years.  Obviously he believed it was true.

A second reason I know he was not lying is that it was obvious such a lie would be caught out.  No one over the age of nine tells a whopper that will be caught.  Bill Clinton famously lied, but he didn't know that the woman in question had kept the blue dress. The far right can tell outrageous lies about the Affordable Health Care Act because their side doesn't seem to care about truth, but the rest of us can't lie about stuff without fear of the consequences.

So who are these 46% who believe Obama lied?  They are the 46% who did not vote for him in 2012.  The numbers are virtually identical.  They didn't like him a year ago, and they don't like him now.  Nothing he says or does can change that.  Because they don't want him as president, they can believe he lied.  In fact, about this same number have always believed he was lying, or weren't sure he was telling the truth, about where he was born.  Or whether he's a Christian, this last being none of their business.

But if Obama wasn't lying about the new law, what was going on?  How could he have believed what he was saying when it turns out to be untrue?  Did his staff deceive him?  Didn't his staff know? What went wrong that a federal law comes into being and nobody seems to know one of its provisions?  Didn't Congressional staff know?  After all, it's their job to write the bills and know what's in them.  Was nobody keeping Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid informed?  Wouldn't they have told Obama if he was inadvertently misrepresenting the law?  And what about the Republicans?  The one thing they didn't say about Obama and Obamacare for four years was that he was lying about that provision.  If he was misrepresenting a provision, wouldn't they have said so?  

What about Obama's own team? I did legislative analysis for Gov. Jerry Brown in his first time around as governor of California.  The Governor's legislative team would never have let something like this slip by.  Surely, the President has a legislative analysis team that watches out for his concerns.  Why weren't they telling him what was in the law?

Nobody told him what was in the law because the provision in question is NOT IN THE LAW.  The existing inadequate policies that some people want to keep were "grandfathered in" by the law, i.e. allowed to continue as exempt from the new law.  So it's not the Affordable Care Act which is taking away the inadequate politics of these deluded people.  It's the INSURANCE COMPANIES!

The companies decided that, since these policies aren't up to the new federal minimums, the companies would just cancel them and thereby force people to buy better and more expensive ones.  There's nothing in the new law to prevent the insurance companies doing this.  So they did it.  They essentially knifed Obama in the back after he had opted to keep them in the health insurance game even though a large percentage of his party wanted to let the feds absorb the whole thing into Medicare, creating what is called "single payor".

Could the law have been written to prevent the insurance companies from pulling this stunt?  Probably.  It'd be a bit tough, given the Supreme Court's new limitations on federal power vis-a-vis business, but a friend who has done legislative drafting for thirty years for one of the Pacific Coast states assures me it could be done.  This person believes that those drafting the Affordable Care Act didn't include such a provision because they were just "too naive" to anticipate what the insurance companies were going to pull.

How can anybody be so naive as to not anticipate that the insurance companies will find and use every loophole in the universe?  How can such naive staff  people be working for Congressional leaders and for the White House?

So did you notice the payback element in what the insurance companies have done?  How they have stuck it to Obamaa  personally just for getting a health insurance law enacted?  How they not only double-crossed him but set him up to look either duplicitous or ill-informed, neither being very good for a president.  Oh, that just one insurance executive had had the decency to call him up and say, "We are planning to cancel these policies."  He wouldn't look so out of it now if he'd had the slightest heads up on their nefarious plans.

And the greed of it!  He has delivered millions of new subscribers to them by requiring everyone get insurance, with the added bonus that these are, by and large, healthy, young insureds.  But a lot is never enough for the greedier elements of American business.

And nothing is greedier than the health insurance companies.

But if they keep this up, they are putting us on the rapid road to single payor, a consummation devoutly to be wished.




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