Health Insurance: Obama Lied About Obamacare, Now Wants Political Lying to Be Legal

Gallup poll published on April 16th finds that about 5 out of every 6 Americans who had no health insurance before Obamacare, still do not have health insurance. This finding, of about 85% of the uninsureds remaining uninsured under Obamacare, is actually better, not worse, than the CBO’s projections; so it cannot be any surprise to him.

At the time when President Obama was merely Senator Obama running to win the White House, there were 46 million healthcare uninsureds. During his Presidential campaign, he promised to eliminate 100% of that number of uninsureds: He said that he would be “making health insurance universal.” Once he won the White House and was starting his Presidency, he was promising to cut 31 million off that number, which still would bring it down 67%. But instead, the health insurance plan that he initiated and signed into law has brought this number down only around 16%, and though the impact of the despicable and largely even racist Republican intransigence against Obama has accounted for a portion of that failure, the vast majority of this shortfall in the drop in the size of the uninsured population is due entirely to Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, itself.

Whereas in states that had Republican control and where Obamacare’s Medicaid-expansion was rejected by the state’s governor, the decline in uninsureds was only around 4%; the states that had Democratic control and where the governor accepted the Medicaid-expansion experienced a decline in uninsureds of around 16% (which though much better was still far short of President Obama’s promised 67% decline, or of candidate Obama’s promised decline of 100% on which he had won the White House); so, even in the states that didn’t do anything to block Obamacare, the decline in uninsureds fell far short of Obama’s promised 67% decline in that number, when Obama first entered the White House.

At all periods throughout his campaign and subsequent Presidency, Obama was lying about the plan that he would propose to Congress, and about the plan that he would enact into law. Even his initial bargaining position with congressional Republicans started without including some important things that he had been campaigning on as promises to the American people, such as universal coverage, and such as universal availability of a public insurance option in the healthcare exchanges. Furthermore, his campaign language regarding the “public option” was cagily phrased so that after the earliest phase of his Democratic primary campaign against Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, it became essentially meaningless to anyone who examined it carefully: things like that were lies from him even very early on, and he contradicted himself on them when challenged on them by the few reporters who tried to dig beneath the surface.

This Gallup poll on 16 April 2014 headlines “Uninsured Rate Drops More in States Embracing Health Law,” and it reports that in Republican-controlled states, the “% Uninsured, 2013” was 18.7%, and that it went down by only 0.8% to 17.9%. It also reports that the experience in Democratic-controlled states was that their “% Uninsured, 2013” was 16.1%, and that it went down by 2.5% to 13.6%. Thus, though Republican governors tried to keep as many of the uninsureds from being insured as possible, they weren’t able to block completely a decline in uninsureds. Meanwhile, Democratic governors, almost all of whom did everything that they could to help bring down the number of uninsureds by getting signups to Obamacare and new enrollees to Medicaid, were able to reduce the number of uninsureds only down from an initial 16.1%, to 13.6% after the law was fully in force in their states.

Regarding the public option, or inclusion of an option for each American to choose a government-run insurance plan, that lie from Obama was rather fully documented by an anonymous blogger who headlined on 22 December 2009, “President Obama: ‘I Didn’t Campaign on the Public Option’,” where that lie from Obama was soundly and repeatedly exposed as being nothing but a lie. That blog-post had been precipitated by an interview with Obama that had just been published in the Washington Post headlining innocuously, “Obama Rejects Criticism on Health-Care Reform Legislation,” where the reporter wrote “‘I didn’t campaign on the public option,’ Obama said in the interview.” If that report wasn’t itself a lie, then the President’s assertion certainly was. While it’s true that Obama never even tried to get John Boehner or other Republicans to allow into the law a public option that the private insurance industry didn’t want to be included in the law, and that he accepted their opposition to that, right up front at the beginning of his “negotiations” on the matter, instead of using it even as just a bargaining chip with them; he did, actually, and repeatedly, campaign on the public option; he simply and boldly lied there.

The public option was something that was overwhelmingly popular among the American public (which is the reason why he had campaigned on it), but that he had no intention of actually delivering on. (Most polls showed support for the public option ranging from half to three-quarters of the American public who had an opinion on the matter. The health insurance companies didn’t want it to be included; so, he didn’t want it, either. It’s one of the main reasons why he chose the conservative Max Baucus, instead of the liberal Ted Kennedy, to draft Obamacare.)

One of the crucial unlinked-to sources in the lengthy blog-post “President Obama: ‘I Didn’t Campaign on the Public Option’,” was an Obama campaign document that (like virtually all of them) was soon removed from the Web because these promises by Obama were intended to be broken not fulfilled, and this document included the following statement, as copied here into a blog-post dated 30 May 2007, from very early in Obama’s primary campaign against Hillary Clinton and John Edwards:

“Through the Exchange, any American will have the opportunity to enroll in the new public plan or purchase an approved private plan.”

That blog-post from May 2007 opens by saying, “Senator Obama’s long-anticipated healthcare plan has finally been released.” The link provided there, to the then-Senator Obama’s just-released plan, produces only a blank now, presumably because Obama doesn’t want historians to have such an easy time tracking down the lies he had made while he was running for office. Of course, if he should subsequently decide that he doesn’t any longer want to impede the ability of historians to nail down the frauds he made against the voting public, then one way for him to repent of them (if he even has a conscience at all) would be for him to place back up onto the Web the documents, such as that one, that expose his fraudulence. Of course, unless the United States descends into total dictatorship such as in Russia or other countries that never were democracies to begin with, historians will ultimately come to recognize, anyway, that Barack Obama lied about many things, some of which were crucial. Presumably, he is merely trying to delay — not to prevent — this historical recognition.

Also on April 16th, the AP headlines, “Court to Weigh Challenge to Ban on Campaign Lies,” and reports that the Obama Administration is set to argue, before the U.S. Supreme Court, next week, that an Ohio law against lies in political campaigns should be overturned, because it supposedly violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and that any “credible threat of prosecution” for political lies would chill, instead of protect, “the very type of speech to which the First Amendment has its fullest and most urgent application.” This news report asserts that “Groups across the political spectrum are criticizing the law as a restriction on the First Amendment right to free speech,” and that P.J. O’Rourke, of the Republican Koch brothers’ Cato Institute, was even “ridiculing the law and defending political smear tactics as a cornerstone of American democracy.” So, President Obama is clearly with the Republican Party on that one.

Making light of political lies, or else asserting seriously that they’re a “free speech right” protected in our Constitution, reflects hardcore rule by the aristocracy, against even the hope that American democracy will even be able to function going forward. President Obama is with the aristocrats on that. The President of “Hope” thus joins with the Republican Party against any hope for democracy in this country. The First Amendment is being converted into a dagger, being plunged into the heart of democracy itself.

This isn’t to say that President Obama is necessarily the worst President the U.S. has ever had — George W. Bush, Warren Harding, and a few others might have been even worse. But he’s competing hard against James Buchanan, the most conservative and worst Democrat before Obama ever to have held the U.S. Presidency. Anyway, he’s in the running; and decisions such as the Keystone XL Pipeline are yet to be made that will decide the matter with finality.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.


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Articles by: Eric Zuesse

About the author:

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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