President Barack Obama made another promise this week that you can take to the bank. Well, you can take it there, but forget about cashing it. Like so many of Obama promises, it's just another lie. Speaking to the American Medical Association Monday, the president insisted that his health care plan will let Americans keep the coverage they have:
"No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what."
It sounded so nice, he said it more than twice:
"If you like what you're getting, keep it," Obama said. "Nobody is forcing you to shift."
As with much the prevaricator-in-chief says, those periods he punctuated his assurances with have morphed into commas, followed by a lot of buts, howevers, and excepts.
Legislation the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress are conspiring on would make radical changes in how Americans pay for their health care. In their attempt to put the brakes on cost increases and extend coverage to the nearly 50 million uninsured, the Dems will force employers to rethink the health plans they offer to their employees:
Americans could be headed for a frugal era in which doctors order fewer tests and procedures and insurers monitor medical decisions more closely.
Few are predicting a stampede by employers — especially major companies — to drop coverage. But some just might, to avoid the hassle of dealing with insurance companies, and take advantage of the fact that some workers would qualify for new financial assistance from the government.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office took a look at the health care plan being cooked up by Senate Democrats, and its preliminary analysis is that an estimated 10 million people would have to find new insurance if it goes into effect, because their employers would no longer offer coverage. Those workers would have to shop for new plans for themselves and their families through new insurance purchasing pools called exchanges. Some 160 million to 170 million Americans now get coverage through their employers.
Dallas Salisbury, the head of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, characterized the president's promise as "an aspirational statement":
"If he was a king, he would deliver that, but he's not king," said Salisbury. His group is a nonpartisan information clearinghouse on health and pension benefits.
So how does the White House handle ramping down a "promise" into an "aspirational statement?"
White House officials suggest the president's rhetoric shouldn't be taken literally: What Obama really means is that government isn't about to barge in and force people to change insurance.
Of course it won't. Just like it doesn't interfere in the operations of the companies it has taken over, unless you count firing a CEO as "interfering." Just like it closed Guantanamo Bay on the very first day The One went to the office to start his on-the-job training. The White House offered further "clarification" of what Obama said:
"The president is committed to enacting reform that will lower costs, protect choice of doctors and plans, and assure quality and affordable health care for all Americans," said Linda Douglass, a spokeswoman for the White House health reform office. "He has made it clear that we would not support a reform plan that would require people to leave their current insurance plans."
Ah, but simply because Obama assures you that no one will take away your coverage, no matter what, that doesn't mean that it can't happen. GOP health policy expert Gail Wilensky, a former Medicare director, is now a senior fellow with Project Hope:
"Until we see details, we can't say how likely it is that the plan you have now will be around going forward. They may not force you to leave in any direct sense, but they could put rules and procedures in place that make it impossible to continue what you have now."
Meanwhile, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and the House Republicans have a plan (PDF) of their own. Unlike the snake oil Obama and the Democrats say will cure your ills, the GOP plan is designed to let you keep your current coverage if you are happy with it. It beats what the Obamunists are preparing to ram down our wallets in all respects.
Caveat emptor is Latin for "Let the buyer beware." It is a warning that Americans should take to heart before they allow the Democrats to take us down the crooked path which leads to the sort of socialized medicine that has been such a miserable failure in Canada and Europe. If only more American voters had taken it to heart before they voted for the big liar in the White House...