"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."
Since 2008, Barack Obama has repeatedly and forcefully made that promise to Americans, first while campaigning for, and then while defending Obamacare -- his signature political achievement. A huge number of Americans took his words at face value.
But now, thanks to a storm of media stories in the last week and a half, the truth is playing out for all to see: millions of Americans across the country are losing their health insurance policies -- because they don't comply with Obamacare. Furthermore, we are learning that Obama and his administration have known for a long time -- since at least 2010 -- that their law would strip huge numbers of people of their health insurance, whether they liked it or not.
Obama has responded in two ways.
First, he rewrites history. To hear the President tell it, he never said "if you like it, you can keep it." What he really said was "For the vast majority of people who have health insurance that works, you can keep it." This despite scores of YouTube video compilations freely available online that show otherwise.
Second, he blames others. He says the cancellations aren't his fault. It's the evil insurance companies -- the "bad apple insurers" he calls them, who have "decided to downgrade or cancel these substandard plans" and in so doing lost the right to sell them under Obamacare rules. But those rules were written in such a way that even the smallest change in a so-called "noncompliant" plan requires its cancellation. The insurance companies, say what you will about them, had no other choice. They have to follow the law.
As for the millions of Americans about to lose their coverage, Obama has a new promise: "you will be getting a better deal."
Will the president's explanations cool the anger of Americans losing their insurance plans? We think that anger will intensify. Especially as, over the coming months, Americans find out just how much more money they'll be forced to pay for inferior government-mandated plans.
Two million Americans have received cancellation letters so far, according to media reports. But there are many more insurers that have not yet announced their cancellations. Between now and the end of next year the total number of cancellations may rise as high as 16 million, according to some health policy analysts.
How many of these people, when they walk into the voting booth a year from now, are going to remember the lies told to them by Obama and the Democrats and vote accordingly? Only time will tell.