The president’s pledge that ‘if you like your insurance, you will keep it’ is one of the most memorable of his presidency. It was also an extraordinarily bold — and possibly foolish — pledge, unless he thought he simply could dictate exactly how the insurance industry must work.
So which right-wing rag ran this opinion? None. It is from the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, who assigns the duplicitous claim a ranking of “Four Pinocchios,” meaning major whopper.
Kessler writes in support of his ranking:
[O]n Aug. 24, 2009, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a doctor, made this point: ‘On the stump, the President regularly tells Americans that ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.’ But if you read the bill, that just isn’t so. For starters, within five years, every health care plan will have to meet a new federal definition for coverage — one that your current plan might not match, even if you like it.’
One might excuse the president for making an aspirational pledge as the health-care bill was being drafted, but it turns out he kept saying it after the bill was signed into law. By that point, there should have been no question about the potential impact of the law on insurance plans, especially in the individual market.
Kessler adds for good measure:
The administration is defending this pledge with a rather slim reed — that there is nothing in the law that makes insurance companies force people out of plans they were enrolled in before the law passed. That explanation conveniently ignores the regulations written by the administration to implement the law. Moreover, it also ignores the fact that the purpose of the law was to bolster coverage and mandate a robust set of benefits, whether someone wanted to pay for it or not.
The president’s statements were sweeping and unequivocal — and made both before and after the bill became law. The White House now cites technicalities to avoid admitting that he went too far in his repeated pledge, which, after all, is one of the most famous statements of his presidency.