Does ProPublica Accept Obama’s Retroactive Revision of His Health Plan Promise?

Last week I
that President Obama was trying to retroactively revise
his promise that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
would allow people who were happy with their health plans to keep
them. That guarantee, he explained, applies only to policies that
have not changed in any way since the law took effect. The problem,
of course, is that Obama never mentioned that caveat until now. I
wondered whether reporters would nevertheless treat this
explanation as something other than a
bald-faced lie
. Judging from a new
ProPublica story
, the answer appears to be yes. In an article
that otherwise admirably seeks to explain the actual consequences
of Obamacare, including the costs it imposes on some for the
benefit of others, Charles Ornstein says this:

First, President Obama’s now-infamous pledge that those who
liked their health plan could keep it applied only to people
enrolled in those plans as of the day the Affordable Care Act was
signed into law, March 23, 2010. That became known as the
“grandfather” clause.

That phrasing makes it seem like Ornstein accepts Obama’s
revisionism—which is odd, because Ornstein later notes that
“Politifact has labeled the pledge ‘pants
on fire
.'” Actually, the analysis to which Ornstein links deals
not with Obama’s promise itself but with his attempt to amend it
after the fact. Here is PolitiFact’s conclusion:

According to Obama, “What we said was you can keep [your plan]
if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

But we found at least 37
 since Obama’s inauguration where he or a top
administration official made a variation of the pledge that if you
like your plan, you can keep it, and we never found an instance in
which he offered the caveat that it only applies to plans that
hadn’t changed after the law’s passage. And seven of those 37 cases
came after the release of the HHS regulations that defined the
“grandfathering” process, when the impact would be clear.

So yes, it’s true: Obama is a liar. Reporters should not let a
lingering attachment to “false
” blind them (or their readers) to that fact.

from Hit & Run

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