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Obamacare 'You Can Keep It': A Sign of a Broken System

Updated on November 25, 2013

First confusion struck, as millions of Americans lost their health insurance. We could not help but remember the promise that 'you can keep it'. It's not plausible to believe that we would forget something that was told to us so many times.

The President alone, has gave this pledge over 30 times. The words change from one instance to the other. But the message was clear, or at least they told us it was clear. For example, less than two months ago the President ensured us by saying, "today, I want to speak plainly, clearly, honestly...if you already have health care, you don't have to do anything."

The president did not sell this false promise by himself. At least 60 Democrats have sputtered a variation of this line. In a system full of checks and balances, how was this lie able to be told so many times and over such a large period of time?

Our system of government was set up with checks and balances to prevent unfavorable laws that will be harmful to our Nation. When a party controls the majority of the government and decides to use deceit to pass laws then we can only be protected by exposing the truth. The media is the final protection of freedom that is expected to expose these lies before they can take effect. But in this instance, the media has failed America.

"Obama is gracious and he's taking responsibility. But that doesn't mean there's anything in the law that said if you like what you had before 2010, you couldn't keep it." - Nancy Pelosi on meet the press 11/17/13. (1)

Misleading or a Lie?

Before we look at how the system is broken, we should first determine how serious the offense is. Many politicians have suggested that the president misspoke. Some have even tried to make us believe that it was the truth, but we are just unable to understand it.

Calling any statement a lie has become politically incorrect. However, the difference between lie and a misleading statement is too important not to clarify. I take an in depth look at this on ScandalList, but will also touch briefly on it in this article.

By definition the difference between a telling a lie and misleading has two distinct attributes. First, it the lie must directly give false information in order to be considered a lie. In comparison, a misleading statement indirectly suggests something that is not true. There also must be the intent to deceive when lying.

First we must determine if the statement was directly incorrect, or simply led us to false information. 'You can keep it' was a direct false statement. It did not lead you towards the wrong assumption, it gave you an incorrect fact. With that out of the way, the only thing left to determine is intent.

This false statement was first said by President Obama in 2008. He then said it around 20 times from June of 2009 to January of 2010. In February of 2010 President Obama admitted that millions of Americans might have to change their coverage. He said this as an answer to a question at a health care summit. After that statement, he repeated the 'you can keep it' pledge around 12 times.

President Obama demonstrated that he understood that people would not be able to keep their plans. Then, he goes as far as saying "and if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn't happened yet. It won't happen in the future." (2) He makes this statement less than two months after he admitted that someone can take it away in the future. This shows that he intended on giving this false statement. The President of the United States knowingly and willingly lied to the American people.

We either have to believe that the president was not intelligent enough to understand that his statement was untrue, or that he gave false information for a purpose. The president needed the support of the people in order to pass such a huge piece of legislation. This type of legislation was unpopular in the past because people did not want to be forced out of his policy. The president knew that it would be more popular if people thought they would have a choice to keep their current policy. With this in mind, it is hard to deny that he intended on deceiving people by giving a false promise.

This becomes a big slap in the face by the nature of the lie. He told it knowing that the American people would learn the truth during the implementation of the law. This means he either thought we were not bright enough to understand that we were lied to, or he didn't care if we knew that we were lied to. But the president could not get away with telling such a big lie without getting some help.

“The District of Columbia is an island surrounded by reality. Only in the District of Columbia could you get away with telling the people if you like what you have you can keep it, and then pass regulations six months later that do just the opposite and figure that people are going to ignore it.” - Republican Chuck Grassley commenting on the grandfather clause, in 2010 (3)

"Look at this bill. Ask yourself: Do you really believe that if you like the health plan that you have, that you can keep it? No, you can't." - John Boehner, in March 2010 (4)

"If you read the bill, that just isn't so. For starters, within five years, every health care plan will have to meet a new federal definition for coverage, one that your current plan might not match, even if you like it." Tom Price, in June 2009 (4)

The Supporters of Obamacare

At least 60 supporters of Obamacare gave the same false promise as the president. On top of that, hundreds of politicians supported and voted for Obamacare. These supporters either didn't understand the legislation they were voting for, or were okay with the president and their colleges repeatedly lying to the people they were elected to represent.

Evidence suggests that the supporters of Obamacare also knew that the statement was false. They voted for the Grandfather Clause in 2010. Republicans were opposed vocally to the Grandfather Clause, arguing that the regulations they added would cause people to lose their insurance. They even tried to pass legislation that would take the regulations away and allow all insurance plans to be grandfathered indefinitely. Democrats and the administration were against the legislation, and it was voted down. (3)

This means that the supporters of Obamacare voted for legislation that would cause people to lose their insurance, and against legislation that would allow people to keep their insurance. They did despite the president pledging the opposite over 30 times and other Democrats pledging the opposite over 60 times. That gave supporters of the bill 90 opportunities to come forward and expose the lie. Instead they kept quiet and allowed the people that put them in office to be deceived. It is the Duty of the elected officials to represent the people. Their duty is not to their party or to the president.

Obamacare passed the Democrat controlled house and senate without a single Republican vote. You can see from quotes that those opposed to Obamacare realized that 'you can keep it' was a lie. Why did this message not reach the people.

"Our Citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light." - Thomas Jefferson

"There are laws to protect the freedom of the press's speech, but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press." - Mark Twain

Silence From The Media

The media has an important job. We look towards them to wade through the mess and deliver the facts. Look at the CBS Benghazi Witness as an example of the Medias power as a truth detector. The entire media jumped on CBS for 'not properly vetting' the Benghazi Witness. Many in the media called for CBS to apologize and the false Benghazi Witness to be considered completely untrustworthy.

Did the Media have the ability to vet the lie that was told on their stations a hundred times? If they held themselves to a high standard of truth then they would have vetted the false information and exposed the lies.

There was plenty of evidence that the media could have used to expose this lie, before we found out the hard way:

  • President Obama's admission during the health summit was televised
  • A report in the June 2010 Federal Register that had administration officials predicting a large private insurance market disruption.
  • The law that Republicans drafted to kill the Grandfather Regulations. The media normally covers proposed laws. Why did this not throw any red flags.
  • Opponents of Obamacare directly stating that the American People were being lied to
  • The Affordable Care Act itself

Instead of providing us with factual information, the major media outlets helped sell the Democrats talking points. They aided Obamacare supporters in convincing us that all opposition to Obamacare was based on politics and hatred of the president himself. Any opposition to this law was labeled as 'fear mongering' and the person opposing the law as playing politics.

The few media outlets that didn't comply in allowing this lie were labeled by the politicians and other media outlets as liars. This sends a clear message, comply or we will take you down. The embedded video on the right shows Fox News trying to defend themselves after being called out by the president himself, for telling the truth. This goes to show, even as the truth surfaces, there is still an attempt to cloud the facts.

The same people that tried to prevent Americans from losing their insurance, are being labeled by Democrats and the Media as being happy that the law failed and that people are losing their insurance. To add to this, now that the law is becoming unpopular, the NPR and AP are calling for reporters to stop using the term Obamacare. They don't want President Obama to be put in a bad light by attaching his name to a law that he lied about in order to pass. The term was acceptable for the last three years, but now they don't want it to be 'overused'. (5)

By large, the media is downplaying Obama's blatant lie as just misleading. However, they continue to label opponents of this law as playing politics and misleading the people. Not only did the media not uncover the truth about Obamacare, but they continue to shield the law by repeating the propaganda from the left.

A Broken System

This lie was able to be told so many times and for such a long period of time. It was not told as a campaign promise, but as a method for gaining support for a law. A lie this big, about something that is so important, being allowed to exist for so long, is truly an indication of a broken system. Every politician in a single party either lied or allowed a lie to be told. The opposition spoke out, but was silenced by the liars and the media. Our last pillar of protection was the free press. The free press was blinded by their agenda in failed the American people.

Democrat politicians represented their party, their agenda, and their president. But turned their back on the people they represented. The free press worried more about their agenda then the truth, and turned their back on the people that support them. With the opposition silenced, the lie was able to beat the system and stay hidden until the law was not only passed, but also implemented.


(1) Political Thinker - Pelosi defends Obamacare claims, can’t predict effect on Dems in midterms

(2) The Washington Post - Obama's pledge that 'no one will take away' your health plan

(3) Independent Journal Review - Republicans Tried To Fix Insurance Cancellations Clause in 2010: Democrats Defeated Them

(4) CNN - GOP on insurance cancellations: 'We told you so

(5) News Busters - NPR, AP Bowing to Pressure on Terms: 'Please Avoid Overusing "Obamacare"

Your Opinion

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    • EdSaterstad profile imageAUTHOR

      Edward D. Saterstad 

      4 years ago from PA

      Good point.

      I was thinking the first part meant that the government was strong enough to put the people interest ahead of their own. But we have seen how things go bad when the government starts acting to 'protect' our interests. They now call that 'for the good of society'.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      4 years ago from now on

      Well said - wonder what Roosevelt would say if he could observe what a failure the country is today in fulfilling the second part of his statement. Actually he could forget about the first part of his statement - he put too much emphasis on that and not enough on the truth.

      I'd put it this way "The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government." PERIOD! Kinda gives you a little insight into how Roosevelt thought - he felt government was the solution to everything and that was where he got it wrong. Liberals love to mix a little truth with their faulty ideals just to make it sound appealing as long as their goal is foremost in their statements.

    • EdSaterstad profile imageAUTHOR

      Edward D. Saterstad 

      4 years ago from PA

      Thanks for your comment.

      Great points on the system, and I can see where you are coming from. I do think though that there is a big difference between the system being broken and the system failing.

      I did not intent to imply that it was the structure of the system that is causing it to be broken. Our system of government is for the people, of the people, and by the people. A large majority of people pay minimal attention to what is actually going on, which leads to them being easily manipulated.

      It is that manipulation that allows the wrong type of politicians to gain control of our government and a media with an agenda to stay in business.

      I did not intend to imply that the system is broken because it was structured wrong. But instead the people that make up the system are not functioning the way they were intended. In your example, if instead of sugar water in the gas tank it would be a leaky gasket. It can be fixed without changing the structure of the system, but you have to first identify the problem.

      "The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    • tsadjatko profile image

      4 years ago from now on

      I was worried at first by the way you approached the "anatomy of the lie" :-) Such a lengthy analysis of an obvious LIE usually is given by liberals to eventually come to the conclusion that lying basically doesn't exist, it's just a matter of relativity, everyone's truth is relative, blah,blah,blah. But you didn't go that way. Sounds like you are just verbose and accurate. I must say though I don't see any of this as the failure of the system. The system works but if you fill it with liars and ideologues with agendas contrary to the fundamentals the system is based on you have to expect failure. The real failure isn't that the lie was able to stay hidden because the conservatives nailed it as a lie from the beginning, any intelligent person who looked into the law knew it was a lie. And like all things the truth does eventually come out and the lies are revealed. No changes to the system can effect a better result. The problem is that the system is corrupted by immoral evildoers. This system wasn't made to be run by such.

      Put sugar water in the gas tank of an automobile - is the end result a failure of the automobile system? I rest my case.


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