On Sunday, the architect of Obamacare, Zeke Emanuel, modified another one of Obama's promises. This time, he explained the "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" now actually means "if you want to, you can pay for it,".
During Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace pressed Emanuel to whether the promise would be upheld. Here's the exchange, courtesy of The Weekly Standard.
"The president never said you were going to have unlimited choice of any doctor in the country you want to go to," said the Obamacare architect.
"No. He asked a question. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Did he not say that, sir?"
"He didn't say you could have unlimited choice."
"It's a simple yes or no question. Did he say if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?"
"Yes. But look, if you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that. This is a matter of choice. We know in all sorts of places you pay more for certain -- for a wider range of choices or wider range of benefits...."
Here's the problem. Right on the White House website, there is a document called "Health Insurance Reform Reality Check". . There it states: "It’s never been more important to dispel these outlandish rumors and myths. Learn the facts and share them with your friends, family and neighbors."
Then it has a "Reality Check" list. The very first bullet item says this:
"You Can Keep Your Own Insurance
Reform isn’t about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it’s about putting you in charge of your health insurance. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan".
Notice that it doesn't say, "if you like your doctor, you might have to pay more"
This isn't the only place on whitehouse.gov that has the Doctor Promise. On the FAQ page entitled "Putting Americans In Charge of their Health Care", it says:
: Will the government take my choice of doctor away?
Nothing about the President’s proposal will interfere with the choice of doctors you have today. The legislation will not cause you to change the coverage you have at work today"
In fact, the Doctor Promise goes all the way back to at least 2009. On whitehouse.gov, you can find Obama's weekly address from August 8th, 2009, where he states,
"So, let me explain what reform will mean for you. And let me start by dispelling the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid, or bring about a government takeover of health care. That’s simply not true. This isn’t about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it’s about putting you in charge of your health insurance. Under the reforms we seek, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.
So, since at least 2009, we've been hearing the simple promise, "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor". Yet today we hear a modified version of that Promise, much like the recent caveat to the "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" promise".
Now we find out the caveat to the Doctor Promise. Here's the rest of the interview with Emanuel from earlier today. The exchange with Wallace finishes up:
"The president guaranteed me I could keep my doctor," said Wallace.
"And if you want to, you can pay for it," said Emanuel.
Caveat emptor, indeed.