Politicians are remembered in part not only by what they did, but just as often by something they said. Often, they are remembered for a statement made that later proved to be untrue – either because a promise was broken, or because they intentionally attempted to mislead. A few notable examples come to mind – George H. W. Bush’s now infamous statement “Read my lips, no new taxes” would be one example. Bill Clinton’s claim, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” would be another.
During the course of the recent healthcare debate, our current President also promoted a falsehood. This particular deception differs from the others in that was not simply designed to get re-elected or protect from political attack, but to advance a program which will have an impact on the lives of every man, woman, and child in the US.
The particular lie was this, that despite the sweeping and intrusive nature of Obamacare, “If you like your current plan, you will be able to keep it. Let me repeat that: if you like your plan, you’ll be able to keep it.” This statement was made most notably at a White House address in July of ’09, but was repeated by the President and many others leading up to the passage of the healthcare plan. It was obvious to most at the time that this could not possibly be true, but it was a lie that was necessary to pass the plan, so the President and others advanced it.
Now the plan has advanced, the reality of the situation has set in – a number of companies including 3M and Caterpillar are dropping various health plans. Principal Financial Group has decided to stop selling health insurance all together. Others, including McDonalds, Cigna and various teacher’s unions have sought one year ‘wavers’ to be exempted from certain Obamacare requirements in order to be able to continue their coverage for employees. This last result is particularly troubling because it is corruptive to the rule of law, particularly as it treats various institutions differently under the law depending on their size and particular impact on the political fortunes of the Democratic Party.
The reality of all this is that many, if not most, will not be able to keep their current healthcare plans. Many will eventually be dumped into government run exchanges that will severely limit their options. Many will have to pay considerably more for their insurance plans – and many doctors will simply leave the system all together, depriving their clients of their skills and expertise.
It has been a little over six months since the plan passed, and already one of the primary claims that allowed it to be adopted has been shown to be a complete and utter lie – this next election affords the electorate a rare, perhaps unique opportunity to reverse the expensive deception before it becomes entrenched and immutable as so many entitlement programs have.