Obama’s Non-Apology Apology

After weeks of his minions saying that Obama didn’t really promise that we could keep our healthcare plans if we liked them, Obama kinda sorta apologized for … let him be clear … promising that if we liked our healthcare plans we could keep them.

Well– first of all, I meant what I said. And we worked hard to try to make sure that we implemented it properly. But obviously, we didn’t do enough– a good enough job– and I regret that. We’re talking about 5% of the population– who are in what’s called the individual market. They’re out there buying health insurance on their own.

A lot of these plans are subpar plans. And we put in a clause in the law that said if you had one of those plans, even if it was subpar– when the law was passed, you could keep it. But there’s enough churn in the market that folks since then have bought subpar plans. And now that may be all they can afford. So even though it only affects a small amount of the population, you know, it means a lot to them, obviously, when they get– this letter cancelled.

First of all, I dispute the notion that this is only affecting individuals who have bought private “subpar” insurance plans since the law was implemented. Everyone’s plan is being affected by it. My employer plan is seeing increased rates and other changes that are a direct result of Obamacare. So I’m “keeping” my plan, but it’s not exactly unaffected.

Second, this “we didn’t explain it well enough” stuff is crap. Obama knew exactly what he was implying. This Administration doesn’t let out a fart without running it through focus groups. That statement was deliberately made to assuage people’s fears that they would have to change plans. And it was never put forward with the caveat of “as long as you bought it before the law was passed”. Nor did anyone account for the reality that many people on the individual market change plans. Efforts to grandfather in existing plans were ignored.

Third, Obama can take a hike. Conservatives and libertarians specifically said, during the debate, that you would not be able to keep your plan if you liked it, that this would have a major impact on existing plans. We were denounced as ignorant factually-challenged right-wing dipshits living in our own reality.

It’s nice that Obama is spinning very slightly less on this subject. But no matter how much he pretends to apologize, he can’t escape the claims he made and the words he said. Millions of people are losing their insurance in anticipation of using the exchanges (exchanges we now know could only handle 1100 people a day before launch and may expose your personal information to criminals). That can’t be swept under the rug with another “I’m sorry you idiots misunderstood me” non-apology.

Comments are closed.

  1. AlexInCT

    This appology feels too much like one a laughing rapist would deliver to his latest victim before he went ahead and raped her again…

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  2. salinger

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. Seattle Outcast

    “Why are you asking god for an apology? He made sure you stopped using substandard insurance – what if you decided you wanted to be a girl, or needed aromatherapy, or wanted a pap smear, even though you’re a guy, and your plan didn’t cover it?”

    I’m sure that’s pretty much what is going on in Obama’s “brain” – indignation that you’re questioning the “lecturer in chief”…

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  4. AlexInCT

    But, as far as I am concerned – the ACA works.

    I think there are a few million people out there, just so far, that disagree with you. Maybe you should also contact one of the members of the LSM that’s desperately searching for people like you to say that the ACA works. So far these people are more mythical than the unicorn Obama is rumored to ride around on.

    BTW, it sounds like whatever plan you used to have was some serious cadillac one if you suddenly are paying less. And are you getting everything you used to get under your old plan in this newer cheaper plan? Do you have some kind of medical condition that would have otherwise caused your premiums to be higher in the traditional system? Those details matter. Or maybe you are one just of the lucky few that’s right now exactly at one of those age bracket break points that shifts the cost to other people.

    Me, and everyone else in my company of over 35K employees, and with the exception of you, anyone else I know, saw our rates go up – in my case by double digit numbers – again this year. I say again, because the big hikes have been pretty steady since this abomination became law. Nobody pretends it isn’t because of Obamacare.

    So the ACA doesn’t really work that well if so far we only have you as a satisfied customer. You have an opportunity here I think to get some face time and score points with Bammy…

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  5. salinger

    Thanks for the first hand report, salinger. I really hope more people have your experience but I’m dubious.

    Most of the folks I know who have used the exchange are saving money. But we do belong to the same demographic. Self employed people in their 50s and 60s who have been buying their insurance as individuals.

    So – for the last decade as I have been buying my own insurance outside of any group plan – I have effectively been paying a higher premium because I belonged to no group. I was in effect subsidizing all the folks who did belong to a group. Now I am in a bigger pool and am able to reap the benefits of competition between several suppliers for my insurance dollars.

    On the other hand my son – a healthy 24 year old research scientists who makes a decent salary for a kid right out of collage is going to see his contribution rise a bit – nothing too insane – like fifty bucks a month or so. But, what he needs to remember is that he is not subsidizing my insurance – (I’ve paid through the nose for insurance for a long time) – he is in effect front-loading his own premiums so that when he is in his 40s and 50s he will not end up where I was for the last ten years.

    Now I’ve yet to see what this is going to do to my taxes. I had a healthy write off each year because of insurance premiums – I’m betting that this goes away as a deduction now. Which is fine by me – I would rather have the lower premiums throughout the year than the tax credit at the end of the year.

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  6. Seattle Outcast

    The latest data shows that those that are needed the most to buy into Obamacare (young, healthy people) are showing a decided lack of interest in doing so. Less that 1/4 plan to get insurance, less than 1/5 have even bothered to try logging in. And with state sign-up totals being reported in the single digits, I bet less than 1/1000 will actually do so in the long run.

    Since this entire plan was weighted with the assumption that many millions of the under-30 crowd who were supposedly rolling in cash but just not spending it on health insurance because it “cost too much” were suddenly going to buy insurance and support the more millions of the boomers who were all getting insurance through work. At the same time, these same healthy people were also considered too broke to afford insurance, so they could be claimed by mom & dad as dependents and get covered until they were 26.

    WTF? Double-thought at its best I guess. They are simultaneously wealthy & broke, while wanting insurance buy not able to buy it because the government hasn’t given them a subsidy? Back when they were interviewing the under-30 crowd that supported the ACA, most of them that made it on the newscasts were a bunch of tattooed hipster d-bags that somehow interpreted the law to be “free health care, man!” – they didn’t show much sign of actually being aware that they were supposed to participate unless they suddenly came down with cancer or something that only people in TV shows got. And the “fee/fine/tax” isn’t going to even come close to compensating. The only recourse will be to keep raising taxes to cover the “unexpected” shortcoming, and double down on making the “bad apple” insurance companies the bad guys in all speeches.

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  7. Mook

    But we will never know how the fact that sub par policies were going to go the way of the Western Black Rhino

    The problem is that “subpar” as defined by Obamacare means a health insurance policy not loaded with Obamacare mandated lard.. grandparents in their 60’s now having to pay for a policy that includes maternity care, contraception, and abortion on demand. There’s no way that type of idiocy won’t drive up rates and expenses overall

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  8. Mook

    The Obama administration filed papers in the federal register back in 2010 saying that 90+ million would not be able to keep their health insurance plan

    Unless and until Obama admits that he knowingly LIED about people not being able to keep their plans, he’s just continuing his pattern of deceit.

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  9. AlexInCT

    The Obama administration filed papers in the federal register back in 2010 saying that 90+ million would not be able to keep their health insurance plan

    Oh, I think the numbers predicted to lose out are on the low side. Very low side. After all, this thing was put together to destroy health insurance as we know it.

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  10. Section8

    Obama fucked up with his promise – it seems he would have been better off just telling the truth. But we will never know how the fact that sub par policies were going to go the way of the Western Black Rhino would have played out once it was modulated through – the death panel choice robbing some folks like to drink their moonshine from Solo cups – noise machine.

    The death panel was a small whisper in the “noise machine” amplified by the media to make that the only thing people were concerned about (which by the way time will tell if this turns out to be correct). The primary issue was that there was a strong possibility you would lose your plan, that there was a strong possibility you would lose your doctor, and for millions of Americans that seems to be happening. That’s not “noise” that’s a valid warning. Amazing that “moonshine drinkers” were able to figure it out while the “intelligent” wing of our nation were left completely clueless. Of course buzz words like “intelligent”, “smart”, “ignorant”, “racist”, “hate”, and a few others are flung around liberally in this nation these days, much of the time to be used as insults by people who don’t even know what the words mean, but that’s another story.

    Good to hear it’s all working out for you though, and for any good altruistic liberal that’s all that really matters isn’t it?

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  11. salinger

    Good to hear it’s all working out for you though, and for any good altruistic liberal that’s all that really matters isn’t it?

    And there it is in a nutshell. Kind of a reverse schadenfreude. And pretty much what the whole argument boils down to – people who have been sucking at the company teat for years afraid they might have to pony up a little bit more to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be covered – and if one happens to benefit from the program – well then, that person is to be derided.

    Typical, a simple statement of fact re: my experience turns into an opportunity to have my character questioned. *yawn*

    Here’s what I know – for people like me who work for themselves – the ACA seems to be a deal. I consider it a long deserved benefit for being an entrepreneur willing to take the chance of making a living on one’s own wits. I’ve been subsidizing all those group plans since I left the working for someone else world – so now it looks like I might get some of that back. I would also hope that the ACA might free some folks up to leave jobs they have felt locked into “because of insurance”.

    One mistake I see with the sign up process is that one must enter all their pertinent info up front here in Ohio – and only then can one shop for plans. I think the Kentucky model of allowing folks to browse through their plans before entering all the info is the better way to go.

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  12. Mook

    And pretty much what the whole argument boils down to – people who have been sucking at the company teat for years afraid they might have to pony up a little bit more to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be covered

    How have those critical of you been “sucking at the teat of government”? Most here are hardworking middle class types who haven’t taken jack shit from govt..

    Congrats on being an entrepreneur, but contrary to your assertion, you don’t deserve special consideration for it, especially given that your “wits” are dim. Don’t you depend on government to buy your products? Seems you’re the one sucking at the teat of govt. more than others, complete with your entitlement mentality.

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  13. salinger

    How have those critical of you been “sucking at the teat of government”?

    Where did I mention government? Is this the part where you put words in my mouth and then argue against them? I can see how it’s a more successful tactic than actually addressing what I did say – but it is a bit disingenuous.

    Congrats on being an entrepreneur, but contrary to your assertion, you don’t deserve special consideration for it

    Where did I say I deserved special dispensation? I merely stated that it looks like I might get some of that money I was shelling out to keep others group plans artificially cheaper back. I’ve already paid this in advance. Anyone could take advantage of the same opportunities if they simply quit their day job working for some corporation and go out on their own. Health care premiums are one place where being an entrepreneur was a liability.

    Don’t you depend on government to buy your products? Seems you’re the one sucking at the teat of govt. more than others

    Nope – the vast majority of my “products” are bought by private institutions and individuals. In fact just about all of my pro-bono work goes to public institutions – kind of the opposite of your accusation. You guys are sure interested in how I make my money though – the conversation and assumptions veer in this direction regularly.

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  14. Mook

    Where did I mention government?

    My bad, you said suck at the “company teat”. But how in the hell is an employee who is being paid for services rendered in any way “sucking at the teat” of his company? The company offers him pay/benefits based on what they believe him/her to be worth and the employee can accept it or work someplace else depending on the market demand for his/her skills. Contrary to what you claim, no sucking of teats required or involved.

    I merely stated that it looks like I might get some of that money I was shelling out to keep others group plans artificially cheaper back.

    There’s that dimwitted entitlement mentality showing itself again. You paid for your health insurance over those years based on an agreed upon price based on supply and demand. A larger group is often in a better position to negotiate a better deal for a whole host of different products and services, not just health insurance. Someone buying 100 pizzas at one time is in a better position to negotiate free soft drinks and/or other discounts as compared to a buyer who purchases only 1 or 2 pizzas. Those who pay full price for their pizzas and soft drinks at the same store are not “subsidizing” those larger buyers who got a discount.

    The discount you’re getting now for healthcare was not earned, and it’s not because you paid more than your fair share. Your discount below market prices is paid for by leeching off taxpayers like me, and my premiums are going up.

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  15. salinger

    The discount you’re getting now for healthcare was not earned, Your discount below market prices is paid for by leeching off taxpayers like me

    Nope – my discount is because I am now pooled in a larger group. (I just recently read something about pizzas and free sodas coming to those who buy in bulk…)

    Why is it okay for a private employer to negotiate health care prices for their group of employees – but having a marketplace pooling individuals who can do the same is somehow leeching?

    Aren’t the free market types the one’s always saying that wealth is not a zero sum gain? I am buying my insurance from a private company who believes they can make a profit. But, because my cost is going down you assume these savings are coming out of your pocket?

    Maybe in true market prices (as they exist after I have been allowed to enter a pool of buyers) my premiums were a bit high – and yours were a bit low.

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  16. Section8

    And there it is in a nutshell. Kind of a reverse schadenfreude. And pretty much what the whole argument boils down to – people who have been sucking at the company teat for years afraid they might have to pony up a little bit more to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be covered – and if one happens to benefit from the program – well then, that person is to be derided.

    Liberal altruism in a nutshell. Why derided it?

    Personally I’m fine with you saving money (which you could have done pre ACA as you had every right to shop around at least to the scope the government limited you and still limits you by state), I’m fine with you trying to write off on your taxes as you have mentioned even though you’re helping to rob Obama of the ability to build more roads (remember that?). What I’m not fine with is then these same people turn around and shout greed when it applies to anyone else. No point in me explaining why I have an issue with it. I think it should be obvious. I still see no concern form you about the millions of others who are getting fucked. Therefore my point stands.

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  17. salinger

    I still see no concern form you about the millions of others who are getting fucked. Therefore my point stands.

    It’s equal to the concern you have shown for those who have paid inordinately high premiums because they were not in a group and those who had no insurance at all.

    In fact it echoes your lack of concern for the tin man not having a heart. Or perhaps I would do better to cite the straw man.

    nice try.

    Your point remains at the top of your head.

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  18. Section8

    It’s equal to the concern you have shown for those who have paid inordinately high premiums because they were not in a group and those who had no insurance at all.

    And how do you know I have no concern? There’s a difference between concern and addressing that concern with a bad solution. If, however, I did have no concern from the onset at least that would be honest rather than pushing for a solution under the guise that I care and now that it’s hurting millions my response is oh well it’s great for me. And yes the point is still on my head. It’s part of a cap that says speaking for captain obvious. You’d thing the job would be easy.

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  19. Seattle Outcast

    A bit late to this back and forth, but your new “marketplace” is a manufactured entity in several ways, and as such it doesn’t reflect reality.

    1) You are pooled in an unnaturally large and varied population – this skews actuarial data, so many worst case assumptions have to be made, mostly because it has to include all possibilities of medical care, even those that are so remote as to be virtually impossible.

    2) Obamacare eliminates many natural points of selection for insurance plans. Instead of opting for one of several plans to fit your needs, you are given the choice of a mandatory all-inclusive plan with the options for how much out-of-pocket can you afford.

    3) There is an assumption that those that least need the insurance the least will actually participate, and all the math has been done as if that assumption is valid. It is currently being shown to be a fantasy, which leads to

    4) Even in order to operate at all, there are massive outlays of tax dollars to those that can’t afford the new one-size-fits-all medical plan. Once you factor in the previous three points you are looking at a massive tax outlay for a new mandated (positive) right.

    So, Salinger, are you getting a sex change operation? Your new insurance covers that, even if you weren’t confused about your sexuality, as well as many other things that you aren’t ever going to need. Just think about how much less your new insurance would cost if you weren’t being pooled in with people that want their junk turned inside out and a pair of big tits to go with it…

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  20. salinger

    2) Obamacare eliminates many natural points of selection for insurance plans. Instead of opting for one of several plans to fit your needs, you are given the choice of a mandatory all-inclusive plan with the options for how much out-of-pocket can you afford.

    I had about three dozen plans I could choose from. There were different deductibles – some with dental and eye – some without – some with higher prescription costs – some with lower – it was a pretty varied lot to choose from. I ended up going with one of the silver plans. Now I think Ohio has a fairly large number of providers so I’m sure that competition helped to keep the costs down. It was definitely NOT a one size fits all proposition – but you don’t have to believe me – go look for yourself. I’ve yet to meet a person against this who has gone through the process of looking and seeing what they actually qualify for under the ACA. All I am reporting on here – is my actual experience, and as i said – it seems to work for me and the people I know who have taken the time to go through the process to see what they can get.

    One thing I didn’t tell you guys that I should have – my current insurer – Kaiser Permanente – sent me a nice note saying that I didn’t have to do anything and they would continue my coverage and only raise my premium by 80 bucks a month for the coming year.

    I wonder how many folks are getting these notices and thinking that this is their only option?

    So, Salinger, are you getting a sex change operation? Your new insurance covers that, even if you weren’t confused about your sexuality, as well as many other things that you aren’t ever going to need. Just think about how much less your new insurance would cost if you weren’t being pooled in with people that want their junk turned inside out and a pair of big tits to go with it…

    I know you’re just playing stupid here but I’ll bite – my insurance also covers cancer – something I hope I will never need as well as accidents which I also hope I never need. It’s not like they put the money for you to get your hoohaw flipped in escrow somewhere.

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  21. hist_ed

    Also late to the discussion, but wanted to comment about this statement:
    “On the other hand my son – a healthy 24 year old research scientists who makes a decent salary for a kid right out of collage is going to see his contribution rise a bit – nothing too insane – like fifty bucks a month or so. But, what he needs to remember is that he is not subsidizing my insurance – (I’ve paid through the nose for insurance for a long time) – he is in effect front-loading his own premiums so that when he is in his 40s and 50s he will not end up where I was for the last ten years.”

    If your son is like almost any other professional, he will see his pay (and likely his net worth if he is smart with his money) rise over his career. I make around 8 times what I made in my early 20s-sure wouldn’t have made sense for the poorer me to pre-pay medical stuff in the late 1980s to save the wealthier me money. Why is what you have outlined above a good idea? His poorer present self is paying more so his older,likely wealthier, self, will (maybe) see lower premiums. There’s another way, without any ACA bullshit, that he make his future medical expenses easier, too: save money. He could take the $50 a month that Obamacare is costing an put it away for a rainy day. Then, when he is older, he gets to decide what he spends it on.

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  22. hist_ed

    Oh and just for the record all (as the resident right wing teacher): I’ve seen some of Salinger’s stuff. Bought a book of his on Amazon a while ago and he was nice enough to ship me a different one for free. Some good, useful stuff for teachers there. If I could pry the money out of my tech obsessed district, I’d be all for paying his consulting fee and getting him out there. Alas (sorry Salinger), if isn’t STEM, my admins ain’t paying for it (unless it is directly dealing with Common Core).

    About 8 year ago, my school paid a consultant $2500 to take a look at our discipline system. His report and the recommended changes we implemented drove down serious discipline incidents by 40% the first year and 60% by year three. I am all for paying people for the expertise-frankly wish we did far more of that in my school and district. Bureaucracies tend to make people think alike-a little outside vision can be a great thing.

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  23. Seattle Outcast

    Seriously, one of the major news outlets was reporting what was in the required minimum coverage, and sex -change surgery was one of the more interesting items. Also a bucket load of extremely questionable “alternative” (voodoo quackery) medicine – I guess that was to keep all the progtards in San Francisco happy.

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  24. salinger

    Why is what you have outlined above a good idea?

    Well I don’t know if it is a good idea – but here is my take on it. His employee contribution is going to go up a bit not as much as I first thought – more like 25 bucks a month. There are a couple things going on here. His insurance is part of a group plan for the company he works for – about 30 employees or so. The company received a letter (not too dissimilar from the one I received from my former insurer) telling them that they needn’t do anything and that the policy would simply roll over with a modest increase,

    The owner of his company has not yet looked at what their options are through the exchange but is planning on doing so in the coming week. I’ll let you know hat happens if I hear anything about it.

    As for his personal insurance situation – he already makes too much to qualify for any subsidy – but looking at the exchange – as an individual he could get more comprehensive coverage for less than his company is currently paying as a benefit for him. So it would seem logical – if his company goes shopping on the exchange they should be able to lower their costs. We’ll see.

    On a related note I just read this:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/09/comparing-health-care-law-minnesota-wisconsin/3465247/

    I wonder how this will effect where people decide to live and set up business?

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