So a quick recap: President Obama meant for millions of insurance policies to be cancelled, but told voters otherwise. When confronted with evidence of his deception, the president confessed, but said it was the best thing for the country. It would be too damaging to turn back now.
But when the political heat got to be too much, he did the about face anyway. He deceived you for your own good, but now he won’t even let you have that.
Obama may be past his last election, but the rest of the members of his party are not. They decided his plan, in which ObamaCare would rise from the smoldering ashes of the current system, was not okay, at least ahead of midterms.
With Democratic bills undoing his plan for creative destruction stacking up, the president could have let his fellow blue teamers show they cared and were independent sorts by passing a law protecting their constituents, but he chose instead to go it alone.
Rather than team with Congress, he sought Thursday to keep his fellow Democrats lashed to the law that may be the undoing of their Senate majority and years of hard-won status as the party that governs. Instead of a fix, the president opted to slam the door on his former colleagues and do little but cause confusion and delay amid a deepening national crisis.
But they’re not going to just lie down and take it. What the president – famously maladroit in dealing with Congress – will soon find is that he hasn’t had the last word with his fellow Democrats. The pain is just beginning.
Here’s how the White House described Obama’s change to the regulations he imposed banning millions of insurance policies: “Whether an individual can keep their current plan will also depend on their insurance company and State insurance commissioner – but today’s action means that it will no longer be implementation of the law that is forcing them to buy a new plan.”
This is such a dog’s breakfast that it could hardly called “implementation” anymore, so the White House might have a point.
Consider the message here: Good news, holders of cancelled policies. You may not be able to get a new plan in time or afford the one you can get, but now you will know to blame your insurance company or your state insurance commissioner. Definitely not Obama or what he formerly called ObamaCare but Thursday knew only as the Affordable Care Act.
But millions of policies will still be vaporized because of the law and because of an intentional, ideological decision made by the president and his team. He can put his talking points into the Federal Register, but he cannot change that.
Insurance commissioners and industry bean counters threw up their hands. After years preparing for the crash landing the president ordained, Obama said to call it off because his initial decision had proven politically untenable. So never mind. Now it’s up to others to try to clean it up, and to take the blame when they cannot.
Many, or maybe even most, of the millions of lost policies are still lost, but the point in destroying them – forcing Americans into ObamaCare to make it viable and solvent – will now be dulled. You get neither the original pledge nor his unspoken reason for not honoring it. You get the worst of both worlds.
After seven weeks of deepening anxieties and growing anger – seven weeks in which the president was forced to apologize for deceiving voters in the last election, seven weeks in which Americans came to mistrust their president – the solution offered was to codify the administration talking points blaming insurance companies and state officials. And then, after talking about how he was going “to keep on working as hard as [he] can” to “win back some credibility on this health care law,” he headed to Philadelphia for a fundraiser.
Obama tellingly spoke of his law and his aim of universal insurance in terms of his own suffering and courage: “But it is complicated. It is hard. But I make no apologies for us taking this on because somebody, sooner or later, had to do it.”
But Democrats, having found that they can make their lame-duck president quack, will keep shoving. If Bill Clinton can make Obama do this – abandon a central tenet of the law – with a few lines on an Internet TV show, what depredations are to come?
Get out your duck calls, Senate Democrats. It’s going to be open season.