At best it has been an awful week for the President and his signature legislation. Between revelations that back in 2009 the administration discussed whether Obama should make his “you can keep your health care, period” promise, leaked memos revealing warnings about the introduction of the Obamacare website, and attacks on a cancer victim who complained about losing her plan, the administration seems to be out of touch with the public.
On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the President’s political and policy advisers debated whether the “you can keep your plan” claim was a promise that could be kept, they even considered having the president add some nuance in media interviews. In the end they decided that it would lessen the power the President’s Obamacare sell and decided the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) would work better.
“But at times, there was second-guessing. At one point, aides discussed whether Mr. Obama might use more in-depth discussions, such as media interviews, to explain the nuances of the succinct line in his stump speeches, a former aide said. Officials worried, though, that delving into details such as the small number of people who might lose insurance could be confusing and would clutter the president’s message.
You try to talk about health care in broad, intelligible points that cut through, and you inevitably lose some accuracy when you do that,” the former official said.
The former official added that in the midst of a hard-fought political debate “if you like your plan, you can probably keep it” isn’t a salable point.”
CBS News added fuel to the fire, with a leaked memo that warned about the developing Obamacare before its failed introduction. David Cutler, who worked on the 2008 campaign and acted as a health care consultant for the administration during the development of Obamacare, spared no feelings when he wrote a memo to Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers in May 2010:
“I do not believe the relevant members of the administration understand the President’s vision or have the capability to carry it out.”
Cutler added that there was no one person in charge, and no one who had any experience in complex business start-ups. He also worried basic regulations; technology and policy coordination would fail.
“You need to have people who have understanding of the political process, people who understand how to work within an administration and people who understand how to start and build a business, and unfortunately, they just didn’t get all of those people together,”
CBS reported the White House rejected this along with most other advice it received from outside the President’s circle of appointed bureaucrats and senior White House health care advisers.
Sunday Evening, the Wall Street Journal published a piece composed by Edie Littlefield Sundby, a woman with Stage 4 cancer who lamented the fact that Obamacare was leaving her with a “Hobson’s choice” regarding her cancer treatment; either pay more – a lot more – or lose the doctors who have been keeping her alive:
‘My grievance is not political; all my energies are directed to enjoying life and staying alive, and I have no time for politics. For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2% after diagnosis. I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky. But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31.
My choice is to get coverage through the government health exchange and lose access to my cancer doctors, or pay much more for insurance outside the exchange (the quotes average 40% to 50% more) for the privilege of starting over with an unfamiliar insurance company and impaired benefits.”
The progressive spin machine went into combat mode. Early Monday morning, Think Progress a site funded in part by progressive sugar daddy George Soros and owned by the Center for American Progress who’s Chair was Obama’s transition head Jon Podesta countered with the “real” reason why she lost her insurance:
“United Healthcare dropped her coverage because they’ve struggled to compete in California’s individual health care market for years and didn’t want to pay for sicker patients like Sundby. The company, which only had 8,000 individual policyholders in California out of the two million who participate in the market, announced (along with a second insurer, Aetna) that it would be pulling out of the individual market in May.”
Later in the same piece, Think Progresses admitted:
“And then there is the company’s own justification for leaving. “The company’s plans reflect its concern that the first wave of newly insured customers under the law may be the costliest,” UHC Chief Executive Officer Stephen Helmsley told investors last October. “UnitedHealth will watch and see how the exchanges evolve and expects the first enrollees will have ‘a pent-up appetite’ for medical care. We are approaching them with some degree of caution because of that.”
The Think Progress post is misleading. United Health Care didn’t leave because they were having problems in the market place. The company left the individual marketplace in California because they were having problems and Obamacare pushed them over the edge, a significant difference.
Despite the fact that the post was an unfair and misleading attack on a woman battling cancer, the President’s political adviser Dan Pfeiffer publicized it via twitter.
Monday evening President Obama gave a speech to his ongoing campaign organization, Organizing for Action. During his speech he talked about the failed Obamacare rollout and his “you can keep your insurance, period!” lie.
At first he seemed to lie about his lie saying:
“What we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”
That might be what’s in the law, but it’s not what he said. That was the first time he added the caveat.
Later on in is speech he seemed to justify the lie using the progressive meme that we are all too dumb to decide what is best for ourselves and need the government to protect us.
“If we had allowed these old plans [to continue]… then we would have broken an even more important promise — making sure that Americans gain access to health care that doesn’t leave them one illness away from financial ruin, So the bottom line is, is that we are making the insurance market better for everybody,”
It is a truism in politics that it’s not the mistake that hurts you it’s the cover-up. This would have been done weeks ago if Obama admitted his mistake and apologized. But the President’s desperate attempts to cover-up and attack people who talk about the lie he made to promote his healthcare plan is hurting his credibility. Its why Gallup shows his approval dropping to 39% and why the Virginia Governor’s race tightened to a razor-thin margin at the end of the campiagn.