The PJ Tatler

More Pinocchios for Obama's Healthcare Claims

As the ghastly reality of Obamacare’s broken promises sets in, the White House has taken to blaming insurance companies for canceling millions of Americans’ health insurance.

The talking points flow something like this.

1. “If you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare. Period.” Repeat 37 times, on videotape, until elected, re-elected and eventually discredited.

2. “If you liked your healthcare, you could keep it, unless we say so because it changed after we passed the law that you didn’t want us to pass in the first place.” Four Pinocchios and a Pants on Fire later…

3. “The provision in the law was the manifestation of the assurance that if you have a plan you want to keep, you can keep it. Insurance companies that chose to strip away benefits from existing plans in the interim, that canceled existing plans in the interim, they took away that grandfathering opportunity. And that’s a reality.” That’s not reality, but it’s Jay Carney, Nov. 5, 2013.

Here comes the fact check.

Blaming the insurance companies can only go so far. First of all, the administration wrote the rules that set the conditions under which plans lose their grandfathered status. But more important, the law has an effective date so far in the past that it virtually guaranteed that the vast majority of people currently in the individual market would end up with a notice saying they needed to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.

The administration’s effort to pin the blame on insurance companies is a classic case of misdirection. Between 75 and 95 percent of the problem stems from the effective date, but the White House chooses to keep the focus elsewhere.

Therefore, three Pinocchios. It really deserves a fourth, because as fact-checker Glenn Kessler notes, the administration wrote the regulation and Obama could undo that regulation with a phone call, because the regulators work for him. He doesn’t even need Congress to pass a law. He just has to order the regulators to live up to the promise that he made, 37 times.

Congress is set to vote on a “If you liked your healthcare…” law next week. Supposing it passe, will President Obama veto a law that is written expressly to keep a promise that he made, in public, 37 times? We’ll see.