Barackrobatics: Repeating a Lie That Nobody Buys

Wowzers, kids! President Obama has this big "bipartisan meeting" coming up to… well, do something about Obamacare. Hopefully it will be as persuasive as were the last eight months or so of hectoring, back-room deals, gimmicks, and propaganda.

But in preparation for this big push, the White House rolled out a new slick website. And if you click around a bit, you'll find a page aimed at those who have employer-provided health insurance, and there you'll find

[The Persistent Lie]

Yes, they're still at it: emitting this reassuring-sounding talking point, even though it's been roundly debunked by every slightly independent observer who's bothered to investigate it.

There's fine print. Let's see if they do any better there:

  • Nothing in the health reform bill will require you to change your coverage. What the bill will do is strengthen the coverage you get at work by making it easier to understand and adding some clear rules to rein in the worst insurance company abuses.
Left unsaid is: nothing in the "health reform bill" guarantees that you won't have to change your coverage. And there's plenty of stuff in the bill that places new restrictions/mandates/regulations on employers and insurance providers; turning the existing market upside down will inevitably cause drastic changes in coverage for millions of employees; they will not be "able to keep it".
  • Language explaining what's in your plan will have to be simple and clear so that you know what your benefits are and what's covered.
That's nice. And I believe it too, because the government has a great track record of mandating simple and clear language. But it's not at all relevant to the "you can keep it" point.
  • Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to place a lifetime limit on the amount of care they pay for. And in some cases insurance companies with excessive overhead costs will be required to give you a rebate. And, if your adult children are living at home up to age 26 they can be covered under your family policy.
And your six-year-old daughter can have a pony that never poops.

But other than you getting showered with these expensive benefits, absolutely nothing will change if you don't want it to!

More honest observers note that the details of the President's recently-announced plan make it even less likely that the "you can keep it" pledge will be a reality. Phillip Klein at AmSpecBlog points out new restrictions—over and above those in the House/Senate versions—on "grandfathered" plans, and observes:

All of the new requirements proposed by Obama would increase premiums, and by definition, alter the composition of those insurance plans. The White House would argue that it is changing the policies for the better. But the entire point of having "grandfathered plans" was to protect a class of policies from changes imposed by the new legislation. Put another way, the provision to allow people to keep their "grandfathered plans" is rendered meaningless when the federal government is dictating what is in them.
Obama's "you can keep it" lie has been obvious for a long time. He even more or less admitted it last month. And yet, that doesn't stop him from repeating it. It might be worth your while to read Victor Davis Hanson on what he calls "the Obamarang":
All politicians fudge on their promises. But this president manages to transcend the normal political exaggeration and dissimulation. Whereas past executives shaded the truth, Barack Obama trumps that: on almost every key issue, what Obama says he will do, and what he says is true, is a clear guide to what he will not do, and what is not true. It is as if "truth" is a mere problem of lesser mortals.
We'll continue to call it Barackrobatics here.

Last Modified 2012-10-04 3:23 PM EDT