Monday, November 04, 2013

Bushie minion pens willfully dishonest WaPo op-ed about President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, hilarity ensues

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Former Bush II speechwriter Marc Thiessen attacks President Obama in today's Washington Post for supposedly lying to Americans when he said they could keep their existing health plans:

This whole episode is a window into a fundamentally dishonest presidency.


Every president faces the challenge of explaining complex policies in simple terms. But the quest for simplicity is no excuse for dishonesty.

I'm prepared to admit that the president shouldn't have said what he said and that he oversimplified for the sake of making a point, for trying to minimize concerns about the new Affordable Care Act system. Hell, Thiessen even quotes the venerable Times as supporting his point: "Mr. Obama clearly misspoke."

But wait. Is that the end of it?

No. Read the Times editorial in full. (Maybe Thiessen did, but he quotes selectively and intentionally misrepresents its point.) Most people can keep their plans. The ones who can't are the ones with bad plans:

Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that. By law, insurers cannot continue to sell policies that don't provide the minimum benefits and consumer protections required as of next year. So they've sent cancellation notices to hundreds of thousands of people who hold these substandard policies. (At issue here are not the 149 million people covered by employer plans, but the 10 million to 12 million people who buy policies directly on the individual market.)

But insurers are not allowed to abandon enrollees. They must offer consumers options that do comply with the law, and they are scrambling to retain as many of their customers as possible with new policies that are almost certain to be more comprehensive than their old ones.

Indeed, in all the furor, people forget how terrible many of the soon-to-be-abandoned policies were. Some had deductibles as high as $10,000 or $25,000 and required large co-pays after that, and some didn't cover hospital care.

This overblown controversy has also obscured the crux of what health care reform is trying to do, which is to guarantee that everyone can buy insurance without being turned away or charged exorbitant rates for pre-existing conditions and that everyone can receive benefits that really protect them against financial or medical disaster, not illusory benefits that prove inadequate when a crisis strikes. 

There will always be a small fraction of exceptions, examples of people who for whatever reason aren't getting what they want, whose plans have changed in ways they don't like, and conservatives like Thiessen will continue to highlight those exceptions as the rule even as they're anything but, so intent are they to destroy the Affordable Care Act and the effort to extend health insurance to tens of millions of Americans.

But the Times is right. The president simply "misspoke," while the facts about the Affordable Care Act remain the same. Almost all of those who can't keep their plans can't keep them because they're horrible plans and because they'll get better plans in the new system.

It's interesting, isn't it, that Thiessen accuses the president of lying while only quoting four words of an editorial that otherwise destroys his case?

Who's really being dishonest? Who's really the liar?

If you need time to answer that, I'd remind you again that Thiessen worked for George W. Bush. And if you recall, the truth wasn't exactly high on the list of priorities during that abominable presidency. Remember those Iraqi WMDs?

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