The FDA’s decision to take Iressa of the market is indicative of how the agency is out of touch with the emerging paradigm of personalized medicine. The FDA’s method of conducting clinical trials is designed to identify drugs that work for the typical or average patient, “but you’re not wholesale, and neither am I,” says Peter Huber, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the author of The Cure in the Code: How 20th Century Law is Undermining 21st Century Medicine. The war on cancer, Huber argues, will be won using cocktails of drugs tailored to the unique biology of each patient and his or her variant of the disease. Only if the FDA abandons its outdated one-size-fits-all approach to drug regulation will there be more patients like Ed Levitt.
Or, better than merely reforming the FDA, it is completely abolished. Let free people make decisions over their lives themselves, with the consult of trusted doctors and loved ones, instead of waiting for unknown bureaucrats (with other potential interests in mind) to make one-size-fits-all decrees that keep potential remedies from people who want them or make testing cost prohibitive - both outcomes that ultimately leave people dead.
Given the fact that both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations (not to mention Congress) have followed the Keynesian playbook, the sorry results should be enough to discredit Keynesianism, this time for good. Either a theory explains and predicts phenomena or it does not, and it should be clear that Keynesian theory has failed.
Alas, the academic “market test” really does not embrace the actual success or failure of a theory. It seems that many academic economists do not wish to be bothered by what happens in the real world. The vaunted “market test” is not about actual results, but is about what many economists are willing to accept as what they wish to be true and what politicians believe is good for their own electoral purposes.
The assumption that comes with attempting to apply Eugene Fama’s “Perfect Market Hypothesis” to academic economics presupposes that economists are interested only in what actually occurs. Furthermore, the belief presumes that when presented with a set of facts, academic economists will give the same analysis and not be influenced by partisan politics.
Given the interpretations that economists such as Krugman, Alan Blinder, and others have made in the aftermath of the disastrous first week of “ObamaCare,” not to mention their shilling for the Obama administration itself, the latter is clearly untrue. Furthermore, we see there are “gains from trade,” as politicians tend to flock to those economists who can offer the proverbial “quick fix” to whatever ails the economy, as being seen as doing something confers more political benefits than doing the right thing, which is to curb the power, scope, and influence of state power.
Even Krugman admits that the appearance of expertise has fueled the Keynesian bandwagon:
In the 1930s you had a catastrophe, and if you were a public official or even just a layman looking for guidance and understanding, what did you get from institutionalists? Caricaturing, but only slightly, you got long, elliptical explanations that it all had deep historical roots and clearly there was no quick fix. Meanwhile, along came the Keynesians, who were model-oriented, and who basically said “Push this button” — increase G, and all will be well. And the experience of the wartime boom seemed to demonstrate that demand-side expansion did indeed work the way the Keynesians said it did.
In the past five years politicians have been pushing “button G” and all is not well. Yet, in this age of unrestrained government, the Keynesian promise of prosperity springing from massive government spending is attractive to politicians, economists, and public intellectuals. That it only makes things worse is irrelevant and beside the point. If the economy falters, politicians and academic economists blame capitalism, not Keynesianism, and they get away with it.
Is quite compelling, according to Sally Satel:
On Oct. 2, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule that would…[designate] a specific form of bone marrow — circulating bone-marrow stem cells derived from blood — as a kind of donation that, under the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act, cannot be compensated. If this rule goes into effect (the public comment period ends today), anyone who pays another person for donating these cells would be subject to as much as five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Here’s why it’s a bad thing:
altruism has proven insufficient to motivate enough people to give marrow and, as a result, people die… Each year, 2,000 to 3,000 Americans in need of marrow transplants die waiting for a match. Altruism is a virtue, but clearly it is not a dependable motive for marrow donation.
Satel notes earlier in the article:
Locating a marrow donor is often a needle-in-a-haystack affair. The odds that two random individuals will have the same tissue type are less than 1 in 10,000, and the chances are much lower for blacks. Among the precious few potential donors who are matched, nearly half don’t follow through with the actual donation. Too often, patients don’t survive the time it takes to hunt for another donor.
Allowing compensation for donations could enlarge the pool of potential donors and increase the likelihood that compatible donors will follow through. So the [recent] ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [authorizing compensation for donors] was promising news for the 12,000 people with cancer and blood diseases currently looking for a marrow donor.
I can see two potential problems: the first is that people might donate bone marrow out of economic desperation, and this feels wrong to us at first glance. But is it really? Particularly when both parties benefit so readily from it? Indeed, given the risks of bone marrow donation, don’t donors deserve to be compensated? This is an objection which could be readily met by setting a threshold for compensated donations, to ensure that donors are compensation fairly for their donation.
The second problem is a more difficult one. There is potential that for-profit donations may eventually crowd out uncompensated donations, since why would any stranger do for free what they can get paid to do instead? Particularly when they’re making such an essential sacrifice—their own body?
At the end of the day though, I think the balance of equities weighs in favor of allowing for-profit donations. I have enough faith in the goodness of people that crowding out will be minimal. If someone walked up to me tomorrow and said I could save someone’s life with a bone marrow transplant, but that they couldn’t afford to pay me, I like to think that my decision would not be based on the lack of compensation. Meanwhile, some people may be more likely to donate if they know their risks will be well compensated. Allowing for-profit donations seems to be the better side of the argument, from my point of view.
I of course agree with your conclusion, but you overstate the concerns.
To your first “potential problem”: “people might donate bone marrow out of economic desperation.” Your solution is government (ostensibly; you don’t specify but the implication is there) “setting a threshold for compensated donations” to ensure “fairness.” As in pretty much every other instance of “fairness” being set from without, whatever is decided would be completely arbitrary. If two people negotiate on a price and willfully agree, then the price is fair. Either one owns oneself and thus controls his or her body, or he/she doesn’t.
Some may conclude that “economic desperation” would lead people to accept prices that seem unreasonable. You do not want people to be taken advantage of, and I grant that is a noble concern. But if organ donation is made legal - that is, if the state does not interfere in the consensual exchange of free individuals - then the market for organs will function like like all other markets. As I often note, the laws of supply and demand is immutable. Does anyone doubt that there will likely be more people in need of organs (marrow, in this instance) than those willing to endure the painful procedure to give it away? Thus, there will be competition for marrow. This drives the price up. And as the price rises, it will incentivize ever more people to enter the market and offer their marrow. This increases supply! More marrow will be available to sick people in need. As the supply increases, the price again lowers as it trends toward equilibrium. This means greater access to the sick. All good things.
Furthermore, because caring people like you would still exist, non-profits would no doubt emerge to help offset the costs for organs and offer minimum prices at what the non-profits and their sponsors seem fair - further assuaging concerns of individuals being taken advantage of.
As to your second “potential problem”: “for-profit donations may eventually crowd out uncompensated donations.” To address this, we must look at the matter in a different way.
Would you agree that, while very helpful and important, organ donation is not the most essential factor for our survival, yes? After all, only a small percentage of the overall population needs an organ transplant, whereas every human requires food, clean water, shelter, medicine, other forms of healthcare, etc. But we can acknowledge that it would be foolish to think in terms of the for-profit farmer “crowding out” the one who donates his labor with only the thanks of strangers as his reward. And most would agree that it would be irresponsible to suggest that doctors not be compensated for their years of dedication and sacrifice and training and expertise and labor and risks, yes? Thankfully, slavery has mostly been outlawed in this country. So why would the selling of organs - a much more painful and dangerous process than plucking a carrot from the ground - be different?
As illustrated above, selling organs would create incentive for people to offer theirs. The greater the need and the smaller the supply, the greater the price offered. The greater the price offered, the more people willing to exchange. Then, as now, most people with compatible family members will still receive donations from them. But those unfortunate souls without compatible family members will have more life-saving options available to them.
Allowing free people to buy and sell bone marrow is the only humane option. Not only does it represent a more just and civilized society (no state introducing threats of violence into the consensual decisions of free people), but it also means that no longer will so many people die every year hopelessly waiting for a matching donor.
And in that, I am very glad we can agree.
I had the pleasure of spending some time today with a clear thinker and communicator. This individual (someone I had heard of but had never met) had expressed an interest in our business model and asked for an hour to learn more. After listening for 45 minutes (without saying much of anything, only asking questions) one of his/her assistants appeared. For the next five minutes, I was witness to something quite remarkable. The essence of the previous 45 minutes was presented by this individual to the assistant without any gaps, nothing omitted.
Clear and concise minds like this never cease to amaze me. My good friend and lawyer who masterminded our partnership structure at the surgery center has a mind like this. Extremely complex agreements and contracts frequently encompass an entire two pages when penned by him. The great political writer, Joe Sobran wrote like this, writing single sentences that spoke more than entire pages someone else would write.
I confess that while I try to be concise and clear in my writing, I am constantly guarding against being otherwise. If and when I am not clear or concise, it is a result of my grappling with my abilities as a writer. Not educated or trained to write, efficiency of word use and clear expression does not come naturally to me. When I read some of my early blogs, however, I can see that I have improved, although I hope to continue to improve.
I am writing this because I recently viewed an individual talking about healthcare on a national network, who was intentionally unclear and imprecise. This has to be because he has something to hide or rather that he believes that his vague and opaque remarks somehow make him look more intelligent, since no one could possibly understand what he said or meant. It made me think of my dad’s favorite saying: ”eschew obfuscation.”
Health care in this country is a mess. Making us all believe that it is an incomprehensible and complex mess, the mission of the architects of health propaganda, has made these same folks and many of their cronies quite wealthy. Whenever you hear one of the countless talking heads talking about the business or the delivery of health care in hard to understand terms or language, your skeptic radar should go on red alert. The truth is that people like this don’t want you to understand. They don’t want you to know the truth. They don’t want you to think about PPO repricing or the uncompensated care scam or the countless kickbacks or the duplicitous book keeping practices that are commonplace in the industry. They don’t want you to know because as long as you don’t know, you won’t know how to ask how they are scamming all of us.
The economics and delivery of health care are no different than the economics and deliver of any other products and services. Industries that are heavily subsidized and regulated benefit those behind the subsidies and regulations, health care included. Part of the reason we put our prices online 4 years ago was to show that it could be done. We have done it and are profitable at prices less than what Medicaid pays the local hospitals for the same procedures. We are profitable at less than half what Medicare pays the big hospitals for the same procedures.
Watch out for those who speak of medical price transparency as an impossibility. Soon after beginning their remarks, the terms they use will become unfamiliar and they will speak in abbreviations and increasingly use acronyms. They will speak of “this complex industry” with increasingly complex speech. Most of the time this is intentional, devious and deceptive, meant to protect the cronies and folks behind the curtain who wish to remain undiscovered, lest their scams be known.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.
As an update to a previous post, I’m proud to announce that Truth and Paul Krugman have crashed into one another. It’s in regards to Healthcare.gov, but hey, when worlds collide, it’s only right to recognize it.
So let’s look at the timeline (my emphasis):Oct. 1 - “The glitches will get fixed.”
Oct. 14th - “Obviously they messed up the programming big time, which is kind of a shock.But this will get fixed…”
Nov. 6 - “If the bugs in healthcare.gov get fixed…”
AND NOW …. Drumroll please!Nov. 20 - “But the future of the reform depends not on policy per se but on whether the IT issues can be fixed well enough soon enough, a subject on which I have zero expertise.”
There we go…Krugman has no clue. He had no business saying that anything would work. It took almost 2 months, but he got there.
Now that we have Healthcare.gov out of the way, let’s build on this admission of ignorance. Let’s move on to Economics….
Architects of the ACA expected that a government-made system would work better than the market could work.
It all began about 100 years ago. The government’s first intervention in the medical industry created a regulatory agency for medical schools. And after that, all bets were off. Government was in charge, using “science” to improve the world you live in. The actual effect — and probably the real intent — was to limit the number of people who could call themselves physicians. This, in turn, drove up the price for their services.
How is it that society went hundreds of years without any government intervention in the medical marketplace and then it suddenly came upon us with very little public objection or even awareness?
Professor Marcoux explained in his lecture how the late 19th century saw a tremendous explosion in scientific knowledge in every area. It came with rising prosperity, increased funding for research, and new creativity inspired by commercial ambitions.
It was a natural and normal assumption that every other field of study could benefit from the application of scientific methods and insights. So, therefore, why not the management of human affairs through government? Notice that at the same time we got the beginnings of medical intervention, we also got the income tax (manage wealth!), the Fed (manage money!), antitrust policy (only government knows how big or small business must be), the origins of the welfare state, spreading intervention in education and labor, and so much else.
The pushers of Obamacare had years to plan. Everything looked right on paper. No expense was spared. There were thousands of meetings, a foolproof plan, mountains of numbers to back it all up. Then finally you press the button. The whole thing explodes — and not just the website. The risk pools will not lower premiums. The mandates will not cause people to experience health-insurance bliss. The price controls will not control costs. The new tools for access will not lead to greater access.
Science is glorious. But government is not science, and society cannot be managed scientifically from the center. Ludwig von Mises had a phrase he used to describe every attempt: “planned chaos.” There is a plan, and the experts are in charge with all resources and conviction. But the results are crazy, random, irrational, confusing, and chaotic.
It would be the greatest legacy of the Affordable Care Act if the government finally understands this message. Then we could get back to the old liberal conviction that individuals always and everywhere do a better job in managing their lives. Better than the government, anyway.
"Healthcare and the Free Market" | Peter G. Klein
Sanford, who is self-employed, tells CNN that she now plans to avoid purchasing health insurance entirely, because it’s simply not affordable on her budget.
It’s worth highlighting the fact that this occurred in one of the 15 state-run exchanges that is supposed to be working better than the federally facilitated system covering 36 states. Indeed, Washington state’s exchange has frequently been touted as one of the systems that works the best among the state-run exchanges. But those reports tend to focus on the consumer experience—the ability of a user to smoothly navigate from start to finish in the insurance enrollment process. Yet as Sanford’s story shows, a smooth process can still be frustrated by inaccurate pricing and subsidy information. The same, naturally, would be true of incorrect enrollment data being sent to insurers, another problem that’s apparently pervasive in the federal system.
Sanford’s story illustrates how some the Obamacare stories that might initially look like successes might not be once the data and pricing issues are all sorted out, and offers a reminder that sometimes the process of getting things straight can take weeks. That’s why we ought to remain skeptical about the White House’s push to improve the enrollment experience for the “vast majority of users.” It’s not just the user end that’s broken. And even if the website works well enough to allow most people who want to enroll to get through the process, there’s no guarantee that it will continue to work once they’re inside the system.
Nancy Pelosi taken apart by David Gregory on false Obamacare promises
Considering that Gregory is hardly some anti-government libertarian, Pelosi’s stammering and floundering and regurgitation of strung-together buzzwords to formulate complete non-answers is pretty incredible.
The fundamental problem with health care costs in America is that the doctor-patient relationship has been profoundly altered by third-party interference. Third parties, either government agencies themselves or nominally private insurance companies virtually forced upon us by government policies, have not only destroyed doctor-patient confidentiality. They also inescapably drive up costs because basic market disciplines — supply and demand, price sensitivity and profit signals — are destroyed.
Obamacare, via its insurance mandate, is more of the same misdiagnosis. …
In a free market, most Americans would pay cash for basic services and maintain inexpensive high-deductible insurance for catastrophic injury or illnesses only. Health insurance would be decoupled from employment, which would unleash entrepreneurs who now fear quitting their jobs and losing their health insurance. Costs would plummet due to real competition among doctors, price sensitivity among patients and elimination of enormous paperwork costs. Doctors would be happier, spending their time treating patients, rather than managing their practices.
Congress needs to let markets work by aggressively repealing health care laws, including: the HMO Act of 1973, the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit passed in 2003 and the Obamacare bill passed in 2010. Furthermore, we must begin scaling back Medicare coverage altogether for younger generations so they will not rely on a system that cannot remain solvent in future decades. Only by taking these steps now can we begin to undo the harm done by government to the once noble field of medicine.
The full reality of what Obamacare will mean for average Americans is only now becoming clear as the crisis over cancelled insurance plans in the individual market has steadily unfolded in recent days. Some 3 to 4 million people have already received notices from their insurers that their policies have been terminated, effective January 1, 2014, due to the provisions of Obamacare. These cancellations make it absolutely clear that the president’s signature Obamacare pledge – that no one will be forced out of insurance plans they like – is not true. The broken pledge has been made worse by the utter mismanagement of the Obamacare enrollment system. People with cancelled plans can’t even find out what their options are under the new law.
To their credit, House Republicans – led by Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton – are planning to pass a bill this week that has the potential to help millions of people who are now in the impossible position of holding soon-to-expire insurance with no good options for replacement coverage. And it would do so by providing an escape from Obamacare, not a fix for the fatally flawed legislation.
The concept of the Upton bill is straightforward: it removes the impediments in Obamacare that have forced insurers to issue the cancellations in the first place. Specifically, it would allow insurers to continue offering individual insurance market policies under the state insurance rules that are in effect in 2013. As a practical matter, that means these insurance plans will be able to offer coverage at far lower premiums than the Obamacare-compliant plans will charge because the plans made viable by the Upton bill will not be forced to subsidize the less healthy risk pool that is likely to show up in the Obamacare exchanges. Further, the Upton bill would allow individuals to stay in these reopened insurance plans without fear of being penalized for not enrolling in Obamacare-compliant products. …
The defenders of Obamacare know full well that the Upton legislation represents a serious threat to the viability of the law. It would provide a lifeline for a viable insurance market outside of Obamacare’s rules and suffocating structure. Millions of Americans would flock to a revitalized insurance marketplace that offered lower premium products with better coverage. The end result would be one more step toward fully reversing the catastrophic mistake of Obamacare.
Republicans are up in arms that fewer Americans were able to sign up for Obamacare than anticipated.
But don’t let the fake outrage fool you. They’d rather see nobody sign up.
I’m all for mocking republican politicians, but this is a stretch of a straw man.
No one is faking outrage that “more Americans didn’t sign up for Obamacare.” I think they are, like the rest of us, (1) enraged that so many are not be able to keep the coverage they liked despite the false promises, and (2) enjoying a bit of schadenfreude in light of the fact that those of us against Obamacare correctly predicted that huge, centralized, monopolized bureaucracies predicated on force are inherently inefficient, unsustainable disasters.
Now, it might very well be true that the republicans in power don’t care that people are not being able to keep their insurance except insofar as it is politically expedient for them; they are, after all, the same party who pushed through Medicare Part D and put up for election in 2012 the man whose health plan for his state was the model for Obamacare. But that’s quite different from your nonsensical claim that republicans are pretending to be outraged that “more Americans didn’t sign up for Obamacare.” And if it is true that no republicans want Americans to sign up for Obamacare, then they’d be holding the correct and moral and economically sound position despite whatever motives they may have for holding said position. After all, the insidiousness of the [Un]affordable Care Act goes beyond poorly functioning websites, loss of insurance coverage, and huge increases in prices - it also distorts incentives and will ultimately lead to decreased access and lower quality care. So for all of our health, it’s better that no one signs up.
A popular justification for the FDA’s just-announced ban on trans fats is that it will prevent people prone to eat unhealthy foods from running up health-care costs – costs that would be shifted onto innocent others. The idea is that it’s wrong to allow Jones to act in ways that unilaterally impose costs on Smith. Yet at the same time that the FDA is ostensibly trying to save Smith from having to pay Jones’s medical expenses, Smith is forced to do so by Obamacare.
If it’s wrong for people to be burdened by other people’s medical expenses – so wrong that government meddling in our diets is justified – how can it be right for government to create a scheme that forces people to be burdened by other people’s medical expenses?
A contract binds only those parties who voluntarily agree to be bound by its provisions. Central to this definition of “contract” is the presumption that all parties to the contract know the provisions to which they agree. But because Obamacare passed without a single favorable vote of the opposition party, because it passed by a narrow margin in the House of Representatives, and because even some of Obamacare’s enthusiastic Congressional supporters admitted that they did not know all of the provisions of the bill, to call Obamacare part of a “social contract” is a dishonest attempt to clothe that legislation with a legitimacy that it does not possess. Unchecked political majorities often run roughshod over minorities – forcing, in each case, the minority to obey the majority’s commands (rather than, as with true contracts, bargaining with parties who remain free to refuse any and all contractual offers). No realistic person doubts this regrettable reality. Please, though, let’s not perfume up and glorify such exercises of raw majoritarian power by calling their outcomes part of a “social contract.”
A contract binds only those parties who voluntarily agree to be bound by its provisions. Central to this definition of “contract” is the presumption that all parties to the contract know the provisions to which they agree. But because Obamacare passed without a single favorable vote of the opposition party, because it passed by a narrow margin in the House of Representatives, and because even some of Obamacare’s enthusiastic Congressional supporters admitted that they did not know all of the provisions of the bill, to call Obamacare part of a “social contract” is a dishonest attempt to clothe that legislation with a legitimacy that it does not possess.
Unchecked political majorities often run roughshod over minorities – forcing, in each case, the minority to obey the majority’s commands (rather than, as with true contracts, bargaining with parties who remain free to refuse any and all contractual offers). No realistic person doubts this regrettable reality. Please, though, let’s not perfume up and glorify such exercises of raw majoritarian power by calling their outcomes part of a “social contract.”
— Don Boudreaux on Obamacare as part of a so-called “social contract”
"If you like your plan, you can keep it."
Or so went the narrative, in its attempts to make the cramming of a non-partisan policy down our collective throats more palatable.
It was a lie.
It’s a lie now, as reports of cancellations and price increases keep pouring in (stories like this from a former Obamacare supporter). An NBC investigation reports 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.””
But it was a lie then, too.
We already know that administration policymakers were aware that President Obama’s promise that people who like their plans can keep them under Obamacare was not true, because estimates built into early regulations indicated that many plans would lose their grandfathered, protected status.
A report in today’s Wall Street Journal indicates that senior White House advisers were also concerned that the promise could not be fulfilled, but decided to let the president make it anyway:
When the question arose, Mr. Obama’s advisers decided that the assertion was fair, interviews with more than a dozen people involved in crafting and explaining the president’s health-care plan show.
But at times, there was second-guessing. At one point, aides discussed whether Mr. Obama might use more in-depth discussions, such as media interviews, to explain the nuances of the succinct line in his stump speeches, a former aide said. Officials worried, though, that delving into details such as the small number of people who might lose insurance could be confusing and would clutter the president’s message.
"You try to talk about health care in broad, intelligible points that cut through, and you inevitably lose some accuracy when you do that," the former official said.
The former official added that in the midst of a hard-fought political debate “if you like your plan, you can probably keep it” isn’t a salable point.
So they apparently decided the president should repeatedly make a promise that wasn’t true, and whose impacts would be felt by millions of Americans, simply because they hoped that would make it easier to sell the legislation they wanted to pass.
From the aforementioned NBC report:
[That up to 80% of insured will lose their existig coverage should not] 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.
Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”
“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms. Laszewski estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to buy insurance that meets requirements of the new law, which generally requires a richer package of benefits than most policies today.
Put aside the fact that under-compensation of doctors would lead to a drop in quality and availability of care. Health and Human services had projected that most health insurance wouldn’t be able to be kept, by design.
Make no mistake: this false promise was crucial in passing Obamacare.
And now, with so many publicly acknowledging his blatant lie regarding the [Un]Affordable Health Care Act, Obama’s in ret-con mode hoping to Jedi mind-trick the public into making them think he said something different.
Here’s how Obama described his promise yesterday: “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.”
This isn’t just an update. It’s a backwards revision. Obama is not just changing his claim going forward—he’s attempting to alter what he said in the past as well. …
You can see what he actually said in the video above.
Got that? If you’re happy with your plan, nobody’s changing it. If you like your plan, you can keep it. You will keep it. Nobody’s changing it.
There are no exceptions here, no qualifications or caveats. It’s a promise, as Obama has said, period. No matter what.
This is what Obama actually said. But now he’s saying it’s not. He’s covering for his old lie with a new one—an insistence that he never misled in the first place. And he’s hoping that everyone just goes along. The most ardent fanboys might buy it. But most people, I suspect, will see it for the artless and desperate revisionism that it is.
This airbrushing of history isn’t something new, mind you. After all, eugenics was central to progressivism and racism was and is central to a desire for a minimum wage - uncomfortable truths are always given a fresh coat of fiction in order to advance a necessary ideological precept. Fortunately, we live in the age of the internet where the truth is harder to keep under wraps.
But that hasn’t stopped the compliant media from their usual apologetics:
This is a gut-check moment for the mostly left-of-center journalists who have made such a show these past few years of dropping false equivalence and calling out political bullshit at the source. You can subject the policy and politics of Obamacare to truth-scans, or you can carry water for the president. You cannot do both, at least without a laugh track.
And all these lies will continue. Because enough people want to believe them. That’s how he got elected in the first place: he’s a slick salesman, and he tells people what they want to hear. How can anyone trust what emerges from a cloud of lies?
The president’s promises that individuals could keep health plans and doctors were false, and his senior advisers knew it, but decided to mislead people anyway because it made for a better sales pitch. The administration’s repeated assurances that the exchange system was on schedule and on track to work were either intentionally incompetent or deliberately misleading. Obama promised the exchanges would work fine despite not having run complete system tests; multiple senior administration officials claimed they didn’t have enrollment data, even though it’s clear that Obamacare’s overseers had early numbers in hand. On health care, the administration has never had much to offer except distraction, deception, and false hope designed to bolster its own reputation and hide the empty promises it could not keep.
With this record of evasions and incompetence, it is impossible to trust anything the administration says about the health law and its implementation. The only questions that remain are how bad it becomes, for how long, and what deceptions remain to be revealed. What, in other words, are we being given false hope about now?
Unfortunately, too many are comfortable being lied to by political leaders:
President Obama knew that his rhetoric about the Affordable Care Act was misleading and that many people who bought insurance on the individual market would be forced to get new policies when Obamacare made their policies illegal. The Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page thinks that Obama knowingly lied, but he isn’t that upset about it, because “that’s one of those political lies, you know.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress about NSA surveillance while under oath. He was not forced to resign his post, let alone prosecuted, and in some circles more ire has been aimed at the man questioning him.
Dick Cheney remains widely respected among Republicans despite repeatedly deceiving Americans about the threat Saddam Hussein’s Iraq posed to the United States. In interviews, mainstream media figures continue to give his words the same presumption of truth extended to people who’ve never misled as he did.
Bill Clinton lied under oath and in a finger-wagging statement to the American people. He is, nevertheless, one of the most trusted political figures in the United States today.
There are important ways in which every lie or misleading statement is not equal. If we look at the consequences of every Bush administration misdirection prior to the Iraq War — a multitrillion-dollar conflict that killed 5,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis — their deceit was orders of magnitude more damaging than, say, Clinton and his allies subverting a sexual-misconduct lawsuit while under oath.
But there is one way in which all lies government officials tell are alike: To different degrees, they all subvert self-government by depriving Americans of accurate information as we make political judgments. They all diminish an almost depleted store of trust that’s needed for functional governance. …
Our ability to govern ourselves is undermined when Clapper lies about surveillance, when Gen. Keith Alexander misleads about NSA activities abroad, when Obama misleads in the course of defending his health care proposal, and when Sen. Dianne Feinstein suggests absurdly low-ball estimates of innocents killed in drone strikes. There are many more examples of objectionable lies, untruths, and propaganda efforts, but aren’t the ones listed enough to raise general alarm?