Politics

Media finally wakes up and notices that if you like your plan, you probably can’t keep it

Media finally wakes up and notices that if you like your plan, you probably can't keep it

The awakening of mainstream media outlets to the ugly reality of ObamaCare and the biggest lie of this generation – Barack Obama’s often-repeated promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your plan” – has been amazing to watch.  Of course, none of these people were anywhere to be found when it really mattered.  The absolute dereliction of duty by the press during the 2008 election, the squalid birth of the Affordable Care Act, 2012 election, and defund/delay/shutdown dramas is one of the landmark stories of our political era.

Everyone with an ounce of critical thinking skill knew ObamaCare was going to ravage the insurance market (and once the unconstitutionally delayed employer mandate kicks in, it will wreak the same sort of havoc on the much larger employer-provided market.)  Warnings were shouted from the hilltops by ObamaCare critics, but the media either ignored them, or put them on the same plane as Obama’s propaganda, which never had anything to back it up beyond the President’s worthless personal assurances.  No hard-hitting investigative reporting was done at all.

Over the last few days, there has been some grim amusement over one particular artifact of election-year pro-Obama media bias: the astounding PolitiFact “fact checks” that rated Obama’s ridiculous lie about keeping your health plan “half true.”  As the Weekly Standard recalls, they did it twice, in 2009 and 2012.  The very text of these “fact checks” makes it clear, to anyone capable of reasoning beyond the third-grade level, that the correct rating would be “false.”  You can only pretend it’s half-true by ignoring Obama’s emphatic, absolute promises that no one would have their insurance plan taken away – he occasionally emphasized this by adding “Period!” to the promise – and writing off the people who lose their insurance as an irrelevant statistical anomaly.

But they’re not.  The number of people losing their plans in the individual market is enormous, and it’s not difficult to understand why.  ObamaCare’s mandates dramatically raise the cost of coverage.  Insurance companies cannot continue issuing millions of policies at no profit, or even an outright loss.  Some plans are dying and rising from the grave with double or triple the premiums and deductibles.  Tales of four hundred percent increases have been heard.  A 56-year-old woman in Florida reported a one thousand percent premium increase the other day.  You’re not really “keeping your plan” if the company re-issues it with ObamaCare mandates packed in, and it suddenly costs $600 a month instead of $60.

The same PolitiFact “fact checkers” hit Mitt Romney with a flat “false” rating for predicting that under ObamaCare, “up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep.”  This is one of the many things Romney was right about.  Current long-term projections put the number at 16 to 17 million, which would leave him a bit high, but in the right ballpark.  Those projections might prove low once ObamaCare works its magic on the employer insurance market, however, because the damage to the individual market is already greater than some critics anticipated.

The media is awakening to this reality, almost in unison.  It’s amazing to watch it happen.  They resisted doing any serious reporting or narrative construction until the last possible moment, but the loss of coverage under ObamaCare, coupled with the feeble pace of enrollment, has created a black hole that would devour the last shreds of their credibility if they ignored it.  CBS News circles the edge of the singularity and says it doesn’t look good for the Obama Administration:

CBS News has learned more than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies — more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the new Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

There have been estimates about hundreds of thousands of people losing coverage, CBS News’ Jan Crawford reported on “CBS This Morning.” CBS News has reached out to insurance companies across the country to determine some of the real numbers — and this is just the tip of the iceberg, Crawford said. The people who are opening the letters are shocked to learn they can’t keep their insurance policies despite President Obama’s assurances to the contrary.

The White House is on the defensive trying to explain it, after Mr. Obama repeatedly said, “If you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage.”

No, Mr. Carney, that is not what he said.  Not at all.  Not even close.  How many times must we replay the videos and recite the transcripts before these people stop lying?  And we all know how important this particular lie was.  If Obama had told the truth and informed Americans that his Glorious Five-Year Plan to rebuild the insurance industry would require millions of them to lose the insurance policies, but their sacrifices would be a small price to pay for the marvelous results, he never would have gotten elected.

If he had declared, “I’ll require millions of you to abandon low-cost policies you foolishly decided were good enough for you and your family, replacing them with plans I have deemed superior, at much higher cost… but don’t worry, I’ll require taxpayers to pick up part of the tab!” he’d have been a laughingstock.  Among other problems, the voters wouldn’t know exactly who Obama planned to sacrifice on the altar of his ambitions, so the public reaction to blunt honesty would have been driven by widespread apprehension.  And remember, Obama and his team of congressional Democrat con artists rammed the Affordable Care Act through by pretending it would reduce the deficit, as well as insurance premiums across the board, not jack up everyone’s premiums and then raid the Treasury to keep insurance companies in business.

CBS even makes a point of hammering stakes through the hearts of a few talking points that have lately become popular among ObamaCare apologists: that the stories of people losing their insurance are mere “anecdotes,” and that nothing in the Affordable Care Act actually forces insurance companies to kill their policies.

It’s an unexpected reality of Obamacare being told through anecdotes in local papers and on social media. But the hard numbers reveal the evidence is far more than anecdotal. CBS News has confirmed with insurance companies across the country that more than two million people are getting notices they no longer can keep their existing plans. In California, there are 279,000; in Michigan, 140,000; Florida, 300,000; and in New Jersey, 800,000. And those numbers are certain to go even higher. Some companies who tell CBS News they’ve sent letters won’t say how many.

Industry experts like Larry Levitt, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, say the insurance companies have no choice. “What we’re seeing now is reality coming into play,” he said.

Obamacare forces them to drop many of their plans that don’t meet the law’s 10 minimum standards, including maternity care, emergency visits, mental health treatment and even pediatric dental care.

The Kaiser Family Foundation is hardly an enemy of ObamaCare.  In fact, they’re still trying to spin for the Affordable Care Act by reassuring panicked insurance buyers that their shiny new welfare subsidies will offset many of the increased premiums.  And then you’ve got all the people getting routed into Medicaid, an outright welfare program that was already groaning under the stress of providing less-than-optimal coverage to its vast pool of dependents.  Goodbye, Middle Class, it was nice knowing you.  Hello, helpless dependents who will spend the rest of their lives begging for subsidies from the Ruling Class to afford their overpriced health insurance!  Destroying the independence of American citizens was always a huge part of the hidden ObamaCare agenda, and it’s not really all that well hidden.  But you weren’t supposed to feel this much pain before the subsidy shackles were slipped onto your wrists and ankles.

Another news organization that just woke up and smelled the coffee is NBC News, which produced a report that bizarrely vanished from their website last night, later reappearing at a different web address.  NBC claims this was a “glitch.”  Maybe it was the kind of glitch that occurs when angry White House officials scream at network executives over the phone, because this report is brutal:

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

The White House knew all this while Obama was zipping around the country, repeating his “if you like your plan, you can keep it” lie.  It was built right into ObamaCare and the toxic cloud of regulations it produced:

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

So they knew all along it would be at least 40 to 67 percent (an oddly specific number) who were going to get an insurance policy wedgie, in part because their old plans would expire, and become impossible to renew.  And that damage still lies mostly ahead of us, because the policies getting torn up today have been cancelled in a much more immediate and decisive manner.  And the total damage might be considerably worse than that.  80 percent of 14 million people n the individual market works out to over 11 million people, which should win Mitt Romney’s estimate one of those cutesy-poo “half true” ratings PolitiFact reserves exclusively for Democrats, and that’s before hell has been fully unleashed on the employer market.

Good morning, media!  Did you guys have a nice nap during the 2012 election?  You were so muzzy with sleep last month that you said you couldn’t cover two stories at once, so you had to ignore the ObamaCare crash to focus on that nasty little government “shutdown,” during which you had so many sleepy men in your little eyes that you barely noticed Obama sending shock troops to toss elderly war veterans out of their memorials.  Are you all awake now, children?

Update: I happened to be online last night when that NBC News story got “glitched” right off the Internet, but I turned in before it was restored at its new web address.  (“If you like your NBC News report, you can keep your NBC News report,” I quipped on Twitter before calling it a night.)

I’ve been told, with documentary evidence, that the tale is even more twisted than I knew, because when the NBC report was originally restored, it had been edited to remove some of the more damning paragraphs.   Twitchy.com has reports from people who captured copies of the more Obama-friendly stealth-edited version of the report.  The missing paragraphs – including the one that begins “None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration” – were eventually restored.

NBC blames all this on “issues with the URL and publishing tool.”  Oh, I think a few tools might have been involved, all right.

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