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« Midday Open Thread | Main | Flashback: Destroying Private Insurance and Putting Everyone Into Government Insurance -- Single Payer -- Was Always the Goal »
October 29, 2013

Under Pressure From The White House, NBC Throws Its Reporter Under the Bus and Censors News That Obama Wrote Regs to Disqualify and Terminate Health Insurance Policies

They later re-inserted the censored material. But what would compel them to delete true information in the first place?

Fears for Barack Obama's political position, of course.

The news world, and the right blogosphere, from what I can tell, is still missing the story here.

The story is not that "Obama knew" that policies would be terminated. That's damning.

But what is hugely damning and very important going forward is not that Obama knew, but that Obama made this happen, and could unmake it with a phone call, but chooses not to.

The White House's pushback on this point demonstrates that they understand how important this part of Lisa Meyers' report is.

This also illustrates how politically compromised NBC News is -- that they would throw their reporter under the bus and redact her story even though it was 100% right. I imagine Lisa Meyers had to fight like a demon to get a true story reported by NBC.

Here's a cached version of the original, and here's that damning paragraph 3:

None of this [that is, cancellation of policies] should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date -- the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example -- the policy would not be grandfathered.

Emphasis added.

This is not just about having knowledge that events beyond Obama's control would unfold -- this is about events directly at his control. Regulation-writers are executive employees, and as such, answer to the president and not Congress.

This means Obama has the actual power -- not the puffed up, falsely asserted unconstitutional power, but the genuine legal power -- to call this agency and tell them, "We sold this bill as permitting people to keep their insurance; please re-write the regulations in a way that will honor this promise."

Remember, regulations are supposed to add details to the spirit of the law. They are not supposed to change the meaning of the law. Obama's regulations -- written at his behest, or at least with his connivance -- change the meaning of the law to render the "grandfathered policy" provision a nullity.

Via Politico, the White House began pushing back against this story. Not because it was untrue, but because it was politically lethal.

NBC News’s investigative team reported Monday that up to three quarters of the 14 million Americans who buy insurance on the individual market can expect their coverage to be canceled by next year because of the law’s minimum coverage requirements. NBC said that the administration has known since July 2010 that at least 40 to 67 percent of customers would not be able to keep their policies, even though President Barack Obama said before the law passed — and repeated in 2012 — that if you like your plan, you can keep it.

The White House says not so.

On Twitter, Dan Pfeiffer called it a “misleading” story.

“FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans,” Valerie Jarrett wrote.
To be sure, many consumers will lose their insurance plans in 2014.

How directly that’s related to the law can be debated.

No it can't be debated, Politico. The White House is taking the position that even a minor escalation in policy premium -- something that always happens, given the constant inflation in health care insurance costs -- constitutes a "new policy" which is then not grandfathered.

This is absurd. A regulation could easily be written that any escalation in premium equal to less than the rate of health care inflation + 1% will be considered the same policy and thus grandfathered. They are deliberately writing the regulations to disqualify the maximum number of policies, because they want to force the maximum number of people into the exchanges, which are, effectively, high-risk pools, and need a lot of healthy bodies to have any shot at solvency.

And any policy that is cancelled can then have its rates forcibly jacked up by ObamaCare, in order to subsidize others.

After this pushback, NBC deleted paragraph 3 without noting why they had done so.

Now, after what I imagine was a furious bout of lobbying by Lisa Meyer, NBC has restored paragraph 3 (or at least close enough to the original). The new story does indeed recapitulate Meyers' reporting:

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date -- the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example -- the policy would not be grandfathered.

Emphasis added again. And to emphasize yet again, those employees writing regulations for HHS do so at Obama's discretion.

But why was it deleted in the first place? Why did NBC decide to trust the Obama Administration on this -- obviously a party that stinks of self-interest and potential deceit -- over its own reporter, who got it right?

I really want to stress this to everybody, because no one seems to get this yet:

These regulations, being a creature of the Executive branch, can be rewritten by the executive branch at any time. We don't need a law for this (though one would be useful, to force Obama to do the right thing).

Obama has it within his power to call up the HHS reg-writers and instruct them to honor the promise he made time and again for two years. And he doesn't want people to know this, because he is determined to break that promise.

That promise was always a lie, and not a meaningless lie at the periphery, but a central lie propping up the political campaign for ObamaCare. Had he told Americans that they would be losing their current health care in order to be dumped into what is effectively a high-risk pool, so that they could subsidize high-risk clients, the public would have rejected the law even more strongly than he did.

So he lied. And lied. And lied. And lied some more.

And even at this late date, he could still choose to honor his promise.

But he won't, because he can't -- he always intended to take people's insurance away from them. Always. And he's not going to undo, short of a veto-proof act of Congress.

Obama would like to tell the American people that he must do this, or that he didn't do it at all. That the law requires it (it doesn't), that he can't instruct his employees to give a more generous reading of the law in their regulations (he can), that his hands are tied (they're not), that it's the GOP's fault (what?) or perhaps a fall-guy's like Kathleen Sebelius.

But Sebelius, the HHS, and all executive employees answer to Barack Obama. He is in fact their boss.

They are executing his will.

So there is one man, and one man only, responsible for deliberately lying to the American people and intentionally breaking a promise solemnly swore a dozen times: Barack Obama.

And he is the one man who can undo all of this and honor his promise with a mere phone call.

We must push to encourage the GOP to make an issue of this, so that the media will, possibly, bother to ask Barack Obama why he doesn't just instruct the HHS to honor the promise he made to the American people.

A promise important enough to make a dozen times is also a promise important enough to keep.

Obviously Obama does not agree. And he should be forced to explain why.

Thanks for all this to RD, who alerted me to NBC's sneaky partisan edits last night.

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