Presidents sometimes don’t tell the whole story out of concern for national security. Other times, they honestly don’t know the whole story. And being human, they can even occasionally just plain forget some of the story. But none of these three possibilities explains how President Obama could say over and over again for more than three years that “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan,” even as he knew that claim was false. Obama has thus grievously wounded the dignity of the office to which the American people have twice elected him.
It became clear that Obama misrepresented the facts after NBC News investigative reporters Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye found an obscure data point buried deep within the thousands of pages of Obamacare regulations issued so far by the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS estimated that up to 67 percent of the millions of Americans who buy their health insurance coverage as individuals would lose it and be forced to go onto Obamacare. Further reporting by Myers and Rappleye turned up four sources within the Obama administration who estimated the percentage could be as high as 75 percent and one who said the figure could even be 80 percent.
But here’s the kicker, according to the NBC News reporters: The Obama administration has known these facts for three years, yet the president repeated the claim that you can keep your coverage, over and over and over.
Expect a flood of artful dodges, revisionist history and factual misrepresentations from Obama spokesmen in the days ahead as more Americans are canceled from coverage they would prefer to keep and realize that they were misled by the man many of them supported for re-election last November. White House spokesman Jay Carney began the process Monday, claiming that “what the president said, and what everybody said all along, is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage, minimum services that every insurance plan has to provide.”
No, Mr. Carney — as Myers and Rappleye pointed out, what the president said in 2009 was this: “If you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan.” And in 2012, he said this: “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”
The next shoe to drop will be Obama’s promise about keeping your doctor. As the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein noted nearly eight months ago, Obama said this to the American Medical Association in July 2009: “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: 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.” Carney probably already has his rationalization ready for that one.