The White House is on a mission to clarify what it calls “disinformation” about what they call health care reform and I call two trillion dollars of new taxes.
The president went to in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on August 11 to sell his plan to the voters. He had a great crowd. Unlike the House member “Town Halls” that Nancy Pelosi says Republicans pack with “un-American” hooligans, ABC noted the Democrats packed the President’s gathering with yes-men while outside was packed with the (disenfranchised) nay-sayers.
In selling his plan, President Obama said, “the American people will be glad we acted to change an unsustainable system.” Too bad the news reports refuted that.
Nobody in Washington — not even the President — listens. “The problem is people become frustrated because they can’t get their voices heard,” Corey Lewandowski, of the activist group Americans for Prosperity said. The President apparently still believes even the frustrated people will be glad.
In selling his plan, President Obama said, “We have the AARP on board” to endorse the bill. Too bad AARP refuted that statement.
“Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate,” an AARP statement said.
In selling his plan, President Obama said, “Under the reform we’re proposing, if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. If you like you health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” Too bad our experience in Vermont refuted that claim, too.
ABC News aired a periodic “Fact Check.” It didn’t dig deeply enough to see the expectation (born in Vermont) that insurance companies would flee.
Reporter David Wright supported the president. “Opponents of health care reform claim that the proposed changes would put private insurance companies out of business,” he reported. “That’s false.” Wright went to the bill itself to to show that insurers will continue in business. Section 102 of the current House bill actually says “Insurance companies have five years to comply with new government standards.”
See, Vermonters have a little experience with voluntary compliance with government standards. In 1992, then-Governor Howard Dean signed into law a program to force universal health care on Vermont by 1995. (Governor Dean opposed a competing single-payer plan as too expensive. “Their package would have cost $500 million in a state with a total budget of $1.3 billion,” Governor Dean said at the time.) His new law banned “cherry picking” and enacted many of the rules present in the current House bill.
Strangely, insurance companies did not flock to Vermont.
In fact, Vermonters found just the opposite happened.
In 1990 the state had more than a dozen companies writing health insurance for Vermonters. By 1995, the state had three companies writing health insurance for Vermonters.
The current House bill also includes tax breaks and mandates to keep employers from exercising their free market right to drop existing (expensive) insurance plans. Mandates may make good sound bites; they don’t work if no one sticks around to obey them.
What have we learned today?
Maybe, just maybe our trust that our politicians could tell the truth should match our expectation that used car dealers ever tell the truth.