- Politics and Social Issues
Deciphering President Obama's Comments at the ACA News Conference
On November 14th President Obama held a news conference to discuss the Affordable Care Act, or more commonly known as 'Obamacare'. During this news conference he was asked questions about the glitched website, his 'you can keep it' promise, and gaining back the confidence of the people.
The transcript and video give President Obama's actual words, but it is important to understand what he really means. He has demonstrated that what he says is not always what he means. At best his words unintentionally misled Americans to believe they would keep their policy. But at worst, he directly lied in order to promote a law. This is one of major issues in the entire Obamacare Scandal.
Albert Einstein described insanity as 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results'. With that in mind, it would be insane to just accept the words that the president is saying. Instead, we must decipher the hidden meaning contained in his words.
Everything They Can Do
President Obama started his discussion about the Affordable Care Act by addressing the promise he made. He admitted to giving "assurances" that if they liked their plan, they could keep it. He went on to again state that he would "do everything we can to fix this problem." (1)
Are we to believe that the only thing they can do is temporarily postpone cancellations of policies that the insurance company chooses to extend and the state approves?
The President said he would do 'everything we can to fix this problem'. This 'fix' falls short of everything they can do. It seems like they are doing everything they can to minimize the damage to the Democratic Party while not really solving anything.
Winning Back The Confidence
President Obama was asked how he intended on gaining back the confidence of the American people. His answer was to, "work as hard as I can, identify the problems that we've got, make sure that we're fixing them." He then went on to give the website and cancellation notices as items they are trying to fix. (1)
Sometimes it is not what is said, but what is not said. Confidence was not lost because he is not working hard enough, problems were not being identified, or a lack of issues being fixed. Confidence was lost because the President said something over 20 times that was not true. Maybe he should have ensured us that he would stop telling us stuff that isn't true.
There are currently numerous scandals that involve the President misleading or lying to the American people. The combination of these scandals have greatly reduced many peoples confidence in the President and his administration.
Informed About Website Issues
Obama went on to defend himself against claims that he knew the website had issues before it was launched. He said, "I was not informed directly that the website would not be working as - the way it was supposed to." But he did not stop there. He said if he knew they website would not be working that he would not be "stupid enough to go around saying, this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity, a week before the website opens." (1)
The line "I was not informed directly" seems like it has some hidden meaning. Is the President saying he was informed indirectly? I would think that if he was not informed at all, then he would not add the word directly. Adding the word directly would give him some wiggle room if we later found absolute proof that he was informed.
I try to refrain from calling the President of the United States stupid - simply out of respect for the position. But I will use the presidents own word as I directly address him in the following statement:
Dear Mr. President,
You were stupid enough to say 'If you like your plan you can keep it, period'. You said this several times before and after working on regulations to the ACA that specifically stipulated the guidelines that would cause someone to lose their plan. You knew then that people would eventually lose their plans, but you still said it. Either you are that stupid, or you just think we are very stupid. Mr. President, you could have had the 'I don't think I'm Stupid enough' line in mind when you were going around saying that it would be like shopping on Amazon.
You Can Keep It
The president again addressed the "you can keep it" pledge. He stopped short of admitting that he lied, but instead said the way he put it forward "unequivocally ended up not being accurate." He added that it was not his intention "not to deliver on that commitment and that promise." (1)
Mr. Obama then went on to explain why he made a promise that he could not keep. He said he was, "looking at folks who've got employer based health care." He also said he is looking at those that have Medicaid and Medicare, but not the five percent of the market made up of those that have individual plans. (1)
Mr. Obama then went on to explain why he thought those in the individual plans, that he was not 'looking at', would have either kept their plan or received better insurance. He said, "my working assumption was that the majority of those folks would find better policies at lower cost or the same cost in the marketplaces." He went on to explain what he thought would happen to the rest, "the grandfather clause would work sufficiently for them." (1)
This "you can keep it" comment continues to evolve...
First is was "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." (2)
Then on November 4th President Obama said, "Now, if you had one of these plans before the affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn't changed since the law passed." (3)
Now, he first explains that he was only talking to the majority of Americans. But then continues to explain why he thought the rest would be covered by better plans or the grandfather clause. It seems like he decided to change what he 'meant' in the middle of answering a questions.
I think about the Shaggy song 'It Wasn't Me' every time I hear President Obama talk about his 'you can keep it' promise.
- No one will take it away, no matter what. (it wasn't me)
- I meant if it hasn't changed since the law passed. (it wasn't me)
- I meant only 95% of the population. (it wasn't me)
- I thought the grandfather clause would cover anyone that couldn't find a better plan. (it wasn't me)
The Placing of Blame
President Obama then tried to shield members of his party that misled the American people in a similar manner. First he acknowledged that there, "are a whole bunch of folks up in Congress and others who made this statement." He went on to say that they were, "making representations based on what I told them and what this White House and our administrative staff told them." He then said, "and so it's not on them, it's on us." (1)
The President is saying that the politicians that helped spread this lie were only saying what he told them to, so its "not on them". The members of the senate and congress have a responsibility to serve the American people. They should do what is in the best interest of the people they represent, not the president best interest or their party's best interest. They are responsible for understanding legislation that they are promoting and voting into law.
Not only should those that repeated the lie be held responsible. But, every single supporter of this law should be held responsible. They either didn't understand it, or failed to inform the people they represent that they were being misled by the President. Either way they failed to do the job that they were elected to do.
If we are happy with politicians just repeating what the president tells them, then we should save the taxpayers some money and replace them all with parrots.
The State Chooses
The president did not go into a lot of details on the actual 'fix' that he was offering. But he did tell us that it will be up to the states to decide weather or not to accept insurance policies that would have been considered illegal under the Affordable Care Act. He explained the motivation for this change, "what we're essentially saying is the Affordable Care Act is not going to be the factor in what happens with folks in the individual market." (1)
Mr. Obama says the ACA is "not going to be the factor". This is an attempt to shift the burden of blame from Obamacare and place it on the states. This will allow the states to be blamed when people lose their policies. But the fact remains, the states would not have to make these special determinations if the Affordable Care Act was not a law. This means that the ACA is a factor, it is just not making the final decision to postpone the cancellations of policies.