Saturday afternoon, Politico's Jason Millman, in an item incredibly headlined "Updated White House website keeps disputed Obamacare language," reported that "The Obama administration has updated a White House website that says its health care law allows people to keep their plans if they like them — but the website still maintains the language that Obamacare opponents have aggressively attacked the past few weeks."
No, Jason. The news is that the website still "maintains the language" which has been indisputably proven false by the millions of policy cancellations reported during the past several weeks. The real news has nothing to do with whether or not opponents "have aggressively attacked" it. Exhibiting deep denial equal to that of the White House, Millman did not acknowledge that the "you can keep you plan" statement is and has been false anywhere in his report. A screen grab of the language as it currently appears, and which Millman reports the administration now considers satisfactory, is after the jump (click on the graphic to open a larger version of it in a separate window or tab):
For those who don't wish to click through, the second paragraph reads:
For those Americans who already have health insurance, the only changes you will see under the law are new benefits, better protections from insurance company abuses, and more value for every dollar you spend on health care. If you like your plan you can keep it and you don’t have to change a thing due to the health care law. The President addressed concerns from Americans who have received letters of policy cancellations or changes from their insurance companies in an interview with NBC News, watch the video or read a transcript.
Here are several paragraphs from Millman's mush (bolds are mine):
Updated White House website keeps disputed Obamacare language
... “If you like your plan you can keep it and you don’t have to change a thing due to the health care law,” the website still reads.
Several Senate Republicans during hearings with top health care officials this week blasted the administration for keeping the promise on the White House website despite reports that millions of people recently had their individual coverage policies canceled.
President Barack Obama apologized on Thursday to those who are losing existing policies, saying that was not the law’s intent.
... A senior administration official on Saturday said the White House website “has been updated to reflect the president’s remarks to the country on Thursday.”
The White House says it’s now exploring options to help people who may have to pay more after losing their coverage.
The cancellations have been made more problematic by the ongoing troubles with HealthCare.gov.
As has been documented elsewhere, regulations issued by Kathleen Sebelius within months after the Affordable Care Act's passage, regulations the law presumably allowed her to issue, deliberately set out to minimize the number of plans which could be grandfathered — and not just in the individual market. In addition to the individual plans currently garnering so much attention, it's crystal clear that millions of Americans will see their small employer group plans and ultimately their employer-sponsored plans terminated.
A survey of employer-sponsored plans by the International Foundation for Employee Benefit Plans earlier this year revealed that the vast majority of respondents had already lost their grandfathered status:
27 percent of respondents still had their grandfathered status. 73 percent didn't.
When the now-deferred employer mandate goes away, non-grandfathered plans will have to comply with the same "minimimum coverage" requirements and accompanying cost increases which have wreaked havoc on the individual market. Employers will have four choices in dealing with this: 1) eat the extra costs, 2) pass them on to employees, 3) share the cost increases with employees, 4) terminate their plans. Many will choose to terminate their plans.
Yet Jason Millman calls the "you can keep your plan" guarantee still contained on the White House website "disputed language."
Millman apparently is right where NBC's Chuck Todd believes the President himself is. On Friday's Hugh Hewitt Show, Todd told guest host Carol Platt Liebau (HT Breitbart) that "You know, he does not believe he lied on this, and that’s the sense I get."
This would explain why the obviously false language remains on the White House website.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.