When campaigning for president, Barack Obama went out of his way to reassure the American people that his health care plan wouldn’t require Americans who are happy with their insurance now, to give it up in favor of a government run insurance plan.
He was emphatic on this point, as his campaign website highlighted the promise: (PDF)
Q. I like my current insurance coverage. Will I have to change plans?
A. No, you will not have to change plans. For those who have insurance now, nothing will change under the Obama plan – except that you will pay less. Obama’s plan will save a typical family up to $2,500 on premiums by bringing the health care system into the 21st century: cutting waste, improving technology, expanding coverage to all Americans, and paying for some high-cost cases.
As recently as yesterday, he reiterated the promise:
At a rally in Holmdel, New Jersey, today, President Obama continued making a promise about health care reform that he has acknowledged isn’t literally true.
“Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you,” the president told residents of the Garden State. “First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”
But last month, as the president acknowledged during a press conference, he doesn’t literally mean that you are guaranteed to be able to keep your health care plan, and your doctor, if and when health care reform passes.
“When I say ‘If you have your plan and you like it,… or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans,’” the president said after we asked him about this, “what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.”
Importantly, the government might create circumstances – say, a public health care option that is less expensive since profit is not a concern and overhead is lower – where you might find your business forcing you into that public plan.
This is not only misleading, it is an outright falsehood:
PRESIDENT Obama promises that “if you like your health plan, you can keep it,” even after he reforms our health-care system. That’s untrue. The bills now before Congress would force you to switch to a managed-care plan with limits on your access to specialists and tests.
Two main bills are being rushed through Congress with the goal of combining them into a finished product by August. Under either, a new government bureaucracy will select health plans that it considers in your best interest, and you will have to enroll in one of these “qualified plans.” If you now get your plan through work, your employer has a five-year “grace period” to switch you into a qualified plan. If you buy your own insurance, you’ll have less time.
And as soon as anything changes in your contract — such as a change in copays or deductibles, which many insurers change every year — you’ll have to move into a qualified plan instead (House bill, p. 16-17).
When you file your taxes, if you can’t prove to the IRS that you are in a qualified plan, you’ll be fined thousands of dollars — as much as the average cost of a health plan for your family size — and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan (House bill, p. 167-168).
It’s one thing to require that people getting government assistance tolerate managed care, but the legislation limits you to a managed-care plan even if you and your employer are footing the bill (Senate bill, p. 57-58). The goal is to reduce everyone’s consumption of health care and to ensure that people have the same health-care experience, regardless of ability to pay.
One begins to wonder if the president and the Democrats are capable of telling the truth about anything. Their lies about cap and trade not costing jobs and not adding substantially to American’s energy bills is disproven by how the program works in Europe where thousands of dollars have been added to the household energy tab and millions of jobs have been lost with precious few “green jobs” created in their place.
And here we are being told that we shouldn’t even read this health care bill being crafted in secrecy (with precious little input from the White House), that we should just trust the Democrats and the president on this.
To Obama supporters, I have a question: If your man had run on the kind of health care bill emerging from Congress, do you think he would have been elected? If you think so, you are out of touch with ordinary Americans. Being forced into a government run insurance plan is not what the American people had in mind when they elected Barack Obama. They expected cheaper insurance with the same benefits - just as he promised. What they are going to get - much to their shock - is the prospect of losing benefits and paying more for their medical insurance once they are forced to choose among the several plans that will be offered by the government.
They also didn’t expect a massive addition to the federal budget. That CBO report will be ignored by Democrats despite the fact that it gives the lie to their claims that going the public route will save money.
The bills that are emerging from both the House and the Senate are too complex, too expensive, rely too much on pie in the sky forecasts of both participation and cost, and point the way to a system where the vast majority of Americans will have the bare minimum of coverage for as much or more money than they are spending now.
And despite what Obama and the Democrats say, this is not the only way to reform the health care industry. It is the most expensive, least efficient, and most liberal way to do it. But it is a lie to say there are no alternatives to these bills that are cheaper, more efficient in that they utilize resources more effectively (bigger bang for the buck), and would accomplish the same goals that Democrats claim they want to achieve.
After all, the Obama bill will not cover everyone. After 10 years there will still be 17 million people without health insurance. And certainly, there are better ways to pay for this than raising taxes on the middle class - which will be the only alternative once Democrats admit they were lying about the other revenue generators in the bill. Medicare savings of the size and scope being postulated have no realistic chance of being realized.
Soak the rich if you want. But that will only get you so far. To go the rest of the way and fund the entire measure, tax increases (they will be called “fees” and “surcharges”) will be necessary. Even that won’t be enough. The CBO estimate of a little over a trillion dollars may be wishful thinking. Others have figured the cost going over $1.5 trillion and beyond.
Name one entitlement program that has ever met budget expectations. There isn’t one - they have all been more expensive than anyone realized when they were created. Why should something as gargantuan as national health insurance be any different?
This is a disastrous measure that will suck the life out of our health care system while adding hundreds of billions to our deficit. And the helluva it is, the bill will pass based on lies and deceit of what it’s true costs are and what it will actually do for the average American.