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Obama Apologizes for Broken ACA Promises; Wonks Weep

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President Obama has finally come clean about his “if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it” promise. Instead of the hair-splitting and revisionist histories the administration has been offering since the plan cancellations started coming, Obama is now admitted that, in effect, he mislead the American people. NYT:

In an interview with NBC News, Mr. Obama said that he did not do enough to ensure that the law did not force the termination of insurance policies that people like because they do not meet the law’s new coverage requirements.

“It means a lot to them. And it’s scary to them. And I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me,” Mr. Obama told Chuck Todd of NBC in an interview in the Diplomatic Room of the White House. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that we hear them and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

What this non-apology apology shows is that political realities are trumping wonkish dreams when it comes to health care. For weeks health care specialists who favor Obamacare have been urging President Obama to make the case that any health care reform would involve “winners and losers.” They wanted him to defend the cancellations and the premium spikes as essential to what the law attempts to do: provide people with “better” insurance and redistribute from the young and the healthy to the sick and the old. Josh Barro makes this case here, Ezra Klein here, and Jonthan Cohn here.

For a while the Obama administration adopted this rhetoric as well. But this interview shows it’s now trying a new strategy. Instead of owning up to the cancellations and rate shocks as essential and ultimately beneficial parts of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama is telegraphing an intention to walk them back as much as he can. It’s too early to tell whether this will translate into any actual changes to the law or its implementation, but it does definitely suggest one thing: wonks and politicians often make different calculations about the political realities of policies, and any health care reform that substantially disrupts the insurance market will always have a very steep climb ahead of it.

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  • gerald

    There were many exemptions given long before this moment allowing OTHER$ to keep THEIR Insurance plans “which they liked”. Why not issue one NOW, for THESE people?

    The problem that Obama has with the “wonks” wanting him to defend the cancellations and rate shocks as essential and ultimately beneficial parts of Obamacare is that THEY wanted HIM, The WONDERWORKER, to make the case, not themselves. THEY wanted HIM to take the heat, not themselves. THEY wanted to hide behind HIM and let HIM take the heat.

    Finally, he apologized for not following through on a promise he made, not for metaphorically P*ssing on us and telling us it was raining.

    • Corlyss

      Money, my dear, money.
      Every exemption they issue means that much less $$$ rolling into the treasury to support greedy geezers. There’s just not enough money in the young people do float the Obamacare boat. Geezers not only have most of the money; they got most of the votes. There’s no justice in this c8ckup of a health system. It will be Hillary’s job to figure out some way to restore economic justice to the fleeced, with higher taxes and greater transfer payments.

      • avery12

        Psshht what problem has Hillary ever solved?

        • Corlyss

          I would have gotten around to that later if the stupid voters were actually dumb enough to put her in.

  • Bruce

    Obama’s words no longer matter. The populace is laughing at him. Nixon said, “I don’t care if they hate me as long as they aren’t laughing at me.” They are laughing at Obama and he is a pathetic, diminished POTUS. Have you seen the Saturday Night Live skits? Did you see the skit from the Country Music Awards the other night? He can non-apologize apologize all he wants. Nobody cares and nobody believes him. This Youtube video is priceless.

    • Corlyss

      A friend told me once that if there was one thing that earnest Progs/Libs/Dems/lefties could not stand, it was ridicule. That’s a workable thesis as long as they don’t have the reins of government yet. Once they have control, they can live with the ridicule.

  • Corlyss

    “Josh Barro makes this case here, Ezra Klein here, and Jonthan Cohn here.”

    If there were a Walter Duranty Prize, those 3 should get it.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “I’m sorry I’m a lying POS” Suckers! I Won!

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