ABC Newsman Jake Tapper surveys the national landscape and is startled by the observation that several of President Obama's famous healthcare promises don't quite seem to be coming to fruition. (You don't say). He confronts White House deputy chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle with the evidence, and oh my does she spin. Even I'm dizzy:
A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation underlines that many of the promises surrounding President Obama’s health care legislation remain unfulfilled, though the White House argues that change is coming. Workers at the Flora Venture flower shop in Newmarket, NH, remember when presidential candidate named Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., promised that their health care costs would go down if they elected him and his health care plan was enacted. On May 3, 2008, the president told voters that he had “a health care plan that would save the average family $2,500 on their premiums.” Last year workers at the flower shop saw their insurance premiums shoot up 41 percent.
The Kaiser Family Foundation shows family premiums topped $15,000 a year for the first time in 2011, increasing a whopping 9% this year, three times more than the increase the year before. The study says that up to 2% of that increase is because of the health care law’s provisions (me: and that's just the beginning), such as allowing families to add grown children up to 26 years old to their policies.
What does Nancy-Ann have to say for herself?
DeParle insists families will see that savings — by 2019. “Many of the changes in the Affordable Care Act are starting this year, and in succeeding years,” DeParle told ABC News, “and by 2019 we estimate that the average family will save around $2,000.” DeParle said that the “big increases that occurred last year were probably driven by insurance plans overestimating what the impact would be and maybe trying to take some profits upfront before some of the changes in the Affordable Care Act occur.
In other words, everything will be turning up roses eight years from now -- you've gotta trust us. Plus, these know-nothing insurance companies are "probably" overestimating the impact of the law. I mean, what do they know? I wonder if Kathleen Sebelius is scribbling furiously in her "zero tolerance" notebook. Tapper continues:
The Kaiser study also indicates employers are switching plans and shifting costs onto employees. Half of workers in smaller firms now face “deductibles of at least $1,000, including 28 percent facing deductibles of $2,000 or more,” according to the study. Doesn’t that fly in the face of the president’s promise that “if you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan”? ABC News asked DeParle.
Perfectly legitimate question. Back to you, White House flack:
She said no — the president wasn’t saying the legislation would guarantee that everyone can keep his or her preferred plan, just that the legislation wouldn’t force anyone to change. “What the president promised is that under health care reform, that he would make it more possible for people to have choices in these (health insurance) exchanges,” DeParle said. “And that’s going to be what will help businesses bring costs down. Right now, they’re just struggling. That’s one reason why they’re shifting costs to employees.”
Unbelievable. President Obama didn't really mean you could keep your plan if you like it, we're now told; he just meant the law would help provide more choices in the government-approved exchanges. I'm sorry, but I'm quite certain that's not what he said at all. Unfortunately for the White House, there's this thing nowadays called "the internet," on which people can research topics such as, "what exactly did President Obama say about me being able to keep my plan?" Well, well, well. Look at what the search engine turned up:
“If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”
Contrast that unambiguous, definitive pledge with DeParle's historical revisionism and hedging. You know, I'm beginning to suspect Joe Wilson's sentiment -- albeit disrespectful and inappropriate for the venue -- was absolutely, positively on the money.