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November 19, 2013

Politico Headline: Steely Obama Talks Tough to Insurers, Telling Them "No Politically-Unpopular Bailout"
Politco Article Itself: Obama Says There Will Be A Bailout

Egregious. Obama doesn't want it talked up that he's proposing a bailout of insurers -- bailouts are unpopular anyway. And they become even more unpopular when the bailout is required by Obama's own careless bulldozing of the old law and rules.

If there's no bailout, insurers definitely won't offer the old policies-- because they need those people to pay the new, higher rates to subsidize other people. Or else they'll lose money, and, eventually, would go bankrupt, were this to continue. (Of course Obama doesn't plan for it to continue -- he just wants the old policies offered until the 2014 midterms.)

So he is proposing a bailout. But that's unpopular. So what does Politico do? It writes an article with a headline saying Obama vows to give insurers no bailout, and early paragraphs talking up his steely resolve against them.

And then, in paragraph 11, when most people have stopped reading, they tell you, get this, Obama is proposing a bailout after all.

Check it out.

I'm numbering paragraphs according to where they appear in the article.

[Headline:] President Obama to insurers: No bailout

Well, that's tough. Steely. Commanding. You tell those miscreant insurance companies, O!

[Para 1:] President Barack Obama had some bad news for the insurance company CEOs who met him at the White House: His “fix” might cost them.

More toughness: He's just putting it right out there. You're going to do this, Hated Insurance Companies, and it's going to cost you.

[Para 2:] Obama asked the CEOs to reinstate millions of Americans’ health insurance plans that were canceled because they fell short of coverage requirements under the law, according to two executives who attended the session Friday.

[Para 3:] The president offered the execs some sweeteners, but admitted they won’t necessarily add up to enough to cover the full brunt of added costs that the changes to the insurance market could create.

Sweeteners? That sounds like a bailout. Is that a bailout?

But the headline just told me "No bailout." So I guess these sweeteners must be non-bailout type inducements.

[Para 4:] The president’s proposed “fix” to the wave of plan cancellations was to allow insurance companies to extend the plans for a year, but those extensions are voluntary, so he needs the industry to buy in.

[Para 5:] Obama’s frank talk with the CEOs raises the stakes for the short-term solution and is a reminder that as much as the health care law is the president’s signature achievement, he still needs industry buy-in for it to succeed in the long run.

Oooh, "frank" talk. That means "tough."

[Para 6: ] “As the president emphasized, there is not an unlimited amount of money out there for the government to do that [make up for extra costs],” said Jim Roosevelt, CEO of Tufts Health Plan, one of more than a dozen insurance company leaders who attended the 90-minute meeting.

Wait, now we're talking about an "amount of money" out there to make up for insurers' extra costs. Like a "sweetener," that sounds like a bailout.

But Politico's headline assured me there was no bailout. I wonder what this means, then.

Finally, skipping down quite a bit:

[Para 11:] he 2010 health law had several tools aimed at helping insurers through some of the fiscal bumps in the new markets. To address the industry concerns about additional costs if they revive the canceled plans, administration officials said last week they would tweak one of those tools — called “risk corridors” — to give them more help.

Um, Politico sure seems to be cagey on this point, but "risk corridors" is a euphemism for "legally-required bailout due to losses suffered from Obamacare."

And what's "help"? Do they mean federal money help? Because, again, the headline vowed: No bailout.

[Para 11, continued:] But Obama made clear that the financial support has a limit, according to the two health executives and several other industry sources who were briefed on the meeting.

So it is "financial support," to "help" insurers cover the extra costs deriving from the now-widened "risk corridors."

But Politico, in line with the President's messaging, insists this is "No bailout."

[Para 12:] Republicans had warned of a costly bailout.

So... we're right, right? Or is Politico saying we're wrong, because while we will in fact be bailing insurers out, that bailout will not be "costly" but rather "limited"?

Well, who knows. All I know is that Obama is bailing out the insurance companies, but does not want that widely reported in a headline, and the Kindly Friends at Politico obliged him.

Thanks to @lachlan.

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