This morning, in an apparent rush to get a jump on the rest of the excuse-making establishment press, Aamer Madhani at USA Today claimed that President Barack Obama's shameless, lame Monday night attempt to explain away his serial guarantee, namely that "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan, period" — made roughly two dozen times in 2009 and 2010, and repeated on the campaign trail in 2012 — represented a "tweaking of his claim" in which he "added a caveat." So that makes it all okay. (/sarc)
Madhani also acted as if it's only Republicans who have directed "an avalanche of criticism" at Obama. He also swallowed the false line that "only" 5 percent of Americans have been affected, ignoring a similar impact in the small group market and several well-known large-employer terminations of plans which had been offered to part-timers and retirees. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
Well, let's see how well this unspeakably pathetic attempt to explain away the lie of the century (so far) works with the establishment press.
Two separate tweeters — Reid Epstein at Politico and Mark Knoller at CBS News — are reporting that President Obama, at a rally of the Organizing For Action faithful this evening, told his audience that "What we said was you can keep it (your health plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed" (HTs to Hot Air and Twitchy):
On Sunday, the editorialists at the New York Times claimed that President Barack Obama merely "misspoke" when he dishonestly promised the American people that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" to get Obamacare passed.
Sunday evening for Monday's print edition, reporters Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas carried heavy buckets of water on behalf of Obama and his administration. The headline: "Under Health Care Act, Millions Eligible for Free Policies." It took the Times pair 21 paragraphs to inform readers that the "free" plans have annual out-of-pocket cost limits of $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. They never described how the deductibles or copays work, and never noted that taxpayers are funding the subsidies. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Saturday morning, three Wall Street Journal reporters told readers that as President Obama was promoting Obamacare, there was internal debate between "policy advisers" and "political aides" as to whether the President's obviously unqualified and unconditional "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" statement, made roughly 20 times between his inauguration and the law's March 2010 passage, "was a promise they could keep."
"Policy advisers" didn't like it, but "political aides" prevailed, concluding that Obama's promise should remain dishonestly unconditional because "salability" and "simplification" were more "practical" and important than the truth. One particularly weak paragraph in the Journal report ends up reading like Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" riff (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Even when it occasionally does credible work, Politifact, the website which pretends to be the ultimate arbiter of the truth or falsehood of claims made by politicians and public figures, continues to beclown itself. On Monday, Matt Hadro at NewsBusters noted the absurdity of Politifact's unchanged "Half True" assessment of President Obama's June 2012 claim — a claim made with minor variations more than 20 times over a four-year period — that "If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance."
Two days after Matt's post, Politifact rated a Valerie Jarrett tweet — "FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans" — as "False," but made no revision to its "Half True" rating of Obama's core claim.
Maybe the folks running the HealthCare.gov call centers don't have an enemies list. Instead, based on the experience of Fox News's Jim Angle, it might be an enemies directory, with anyone they're aware of in the media and perhaps other organizations included therein.
On Bill Maher's HBO show Friday night, Democratic National Committe Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted that President Obama's promise to the American people made over 20 times during a span of over two years, namely "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," was not a lie.
Maher, appeared to warm to the idea that it was a lie, but at crunch time decided that it was something, like Bush 41's "no new taxes" pledge, that "did not hold up to the realities of governing," representing "a moral complexity I'm okay with 'cause I'm not twelve." Far-far lefty Rob Reiner also felt it necessary to criticize Republicans "who are refusing to make this better." Maher, though he didn't seem to like it, finally concluded that Obama, who in his mind previously had an "almost sterling reputation for honesty," now faces the reality that "to a certain extent that ship (of his credibility) has sailed." Video and a partial transcript are after the jump (HTs to The Blaze and Mediaite, which in my view falsely portrayed Maher's degree of disagreement; bolds are mine):
As individual and small group health care policy cancellations pour in and HealthCare.gov continues to be a phenomenal embarrassment, Obamacare's apologists, when they're not promoting laughable conspiracy theories about Republican "sabotage," are desperate to find something good to say about it.
On Al Sharpton's MSNBC show Thursday night (HTs to Hot Air, The Blaze and National Review), MSNBC analyst Goldie Taylor tried this "logic": "Health care costs alone are the number one driver of financial distress in this country for families. The number one cause of divorce in this country for families is financial distress." Therefore, because Obamacare is providing affordable health care "for all families," it is saving marriages and keeping families together, and it is hypocritical for Republicans, as the self-described party of families, to oppose it. Too bad for Ms. Taylor that, as will be shown after the jump, Obamacare really discourages marriage while encouraging currently married couples to divorce and shack up — impacts which have been known and almost completely ignored by the establishment press since early 2010.
Tuesday evening (noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters early Wednesday morning), CNN's Drew Griffin reported on Anderson Cooper's show that there is a "behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout."
Such a report occurring during a Republican or conservative administration would spread like wildfire. Sadly and predictably, that hasn't happened with CNN's bombshell. Using search strings which should have surfaced relevant results if present, I couldn't find anything on the topic at the Associated Press, New York Times, the Politco, or Washington Post.
43 months after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, another national establishment press outlet has called President Barack Obama's serially made promise that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health plan" a lie. Specifically, Washington Post designated fact-checker Glenn Kessler has given it "four Pinocchios," the lowest possible rating on his scale reserved for "whoppers."
Kessler joins other press organizations admitting to the obvious way too late to matter. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, with rare exceptions (and note that the linked analysis did not directly address the individual market), studiously avoided looking at the truthfulness of Obama's core Affordable Care Act promise for 3-1/2 years. Finally, on September 30, Calvin Woodward in Paragraph 15 of a multi-item "fact check," called Obama's pledge "an empty promise, made repeatedly." Kessler's work has one remaining hole that I will identify after presenting excerpts (HT Twitchy; links are in original; bolds are mine):
Monday night on her Fox News program, Megyn Kelly played a clip of President Obama going beyond the now-infamous "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" promise. Earlier Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News revealed that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them."
At the 0:59 mark of the video which follows (HT Mediaite), viewers will see Kelly introduce and then replay Obama's February 2010 promise that "any insurance you have will be grandfathered in," even if it's an "Acme Insurance, just a high deductible catastrophic plan":
On Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News reported that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them." This of course directly contradicts President Obama's repeated promises that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."
I will get to the gambit the administration used to convince people that it wouldn't do what it originally intended to do in the runup to Obamacare's passage, a strategy which may have resulted from objections raised in a July 2009 Investor's Business Daily editorial, later in the post. But first, we have to look at tweets sent out tonight by three Obama administration officials in response to the NBC report, all of which dodge NBC's substantive point that the Obama administration knew policy terminations would occur, and claim that "the ACA" (the Affordable Care Act) is not to blame:
On Tuesday's Fox News Special report, contributor Juan Williams lamely tried to excuse away the mind-boggling incompetence of the HealthCare.gov rollout by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now."
Juan's haughty huffiness was so absurd that the Fox News panel was caught slack-jawed and barely challenged him. That's not what happened Sunday morning on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday broadcast when Williams tried to claim that millions of people losing their individual health care coverage are going to be better off with Obamacare policies (video and transscript follow the jump; bolds are mine; HT to Mediaite via Twitchy):
Green energy is supposedly the future. Why, solar energy will break out and become a major energy source any year now, or any decade now. Or maybe never. It has been the subject of national attention ever since President Obama made it a cornerstone of his 2008 presidential campaign. Of course, what Obama claims is in energy policy has worked out to be more a of a growth-constraining, government money-wasting endeavor than anything else.
The Denver Post carried the original story on Thursday of how the federal government's first attempt at a solar auction went. The headline was accurate: "1st auction of solar rights on public lands in Colorado draws no bids." That's right. Zero. Post reporter Mark Jaffe's first sentence was charitable but acceptable: "The plan to auction rights to federal land across the West for solar-power plants got off to a rocky start Thursday when no bidders showed up for the first auction in Colorado." Too bad that two establishment press outlets which were in a position to communicate this news to the nation failed to adequately do so.
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website, the fact is that the costs involved are certainly far higher than the figures most commonly cited: "over 500 million" at Digital Trends, "over $400 million" at the New York Times. The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler is claiming that it's really only $170 milion to $300 million.
In Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Bloomberg Government's Peter Gosselin estimated that costs incurred and costs committed to outside firms alone are already north of $1 billion. Now let's look at how much additional taxpayer money the Department of Health and Human Services may have spent on the Obamacare exchange rollout.
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website.
Based on a look at one contractor, CGI, which he must have assumed was the general contractor (i.e., the lead entity through which amounts paid to subcontracting firms would be funneled), Andrew Couts at Digital Trends originally estimated a total cost of $634 million. Couts later backed it down to "over $500 million" after identifying non-Affordable Care Act-related work with which CGI was associated. The New York Times has until recently been working with a figure of "over $400 million." All figures just noted are almost certainly miles too low, for two reasons.
In among the more pathetic uses of the passive voice I've seen employed to protect guilty parties, a short, unbylined personal finance-related item at ABC's web site today by the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, identifies "5 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL HEALTH CARE SHOPPING."
The writeup doesn't mention the fact that shopping for plans in the first place is difficult (actually, closer to impossible, given HealthCare.gov's implosion), and doesn't bring up Obamacare or its more formal name, the "Affordable Care Act," at all. As is the case with arguments favoring gun control, AP blames an inanimate object to shield the real perpetrators of the challenges consumers face. In this case, it's "insurance plans" which are to blame, thus implicating implicitly evil insurance companies and avoiding any mention of Obamacare/ACA, the real cause (produced in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) —
In 2003, Halliburton Company received a great deal of scrutiny from the establishment press over certain no-bid contracts obtained in connection with the Iraq War. Examples, two of which are from the Associated Press, are here, here, and here. A Google News Archive Search on "Halliburton no-bid" not in quotes allegedly returns 1,760 items (Google's counter is suspect, but the list extends to at least 19 pages, or well over 190 items, including multiple items in some listings).
In 2010, the Washington Times was virtually alone among media outlets in reporting that the Obama administration, despite presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign promise never to entertain such deals, had entered into a no-bid contract with KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, "worth as much as $568 million." It turns out that CGI, the Canadian company which is the lead firm in the design and rollout of HealtCare.gov, also has a no-bid contract with the federal government. But an AP search on "CGI no-bid" (not in quotes) comes up empty. A Google News search on the same string (not in quotes) returns only four times, none of which are establishment press outlets (as would be expected, the Washington Times is one of the four).
Last night on Fox News's Special Report, Juan Williams singlehandedly raised the bar for what qualifies as world-class failure in blame-shifting. Williams excused the mind-boggling incompetence of the Obama administration's HealthCare.gov implementation by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now." Gosh, the only thing that remains is for President Obama to say that these poor programmers were "held hostage" by GOP press releases and speeches.
Video and a transcript of the relevant segment follow the jump (HT Twitchy via Hot Air; bolds are mine). Especially note the priceless look on the face of Fox panel member Stephen Hayes at the 1:12 mark of the two-minute vid:
Earlier today, as seen here in a clone post elsewhere, the Politico reported, as if it is an undisputed fact, that "Republican opponents of the law (Obamacare) are preparing for their own victory lap." That alleged "victory lap" will be the "first hearing to spotlight the faulty Obamacare website."
Apparently that intemperance was a bit much even for the clearly left-leaning Politico. The original story, entitled "Obama to tackle Affordable Care Act glitches head-on," seems to have disappeared from Politico's web site, replaced by "Obama on ACA website: 'No excuse for these problems'" written by Jason Millman and Reid Epstein. A Google search on the quoted text in the previous paragraph leads to this newer item. Excerpts from the new story follow the jump (bolds are mine):
A recurring theme at the Los Angeles Times during the past several days has been that the nation's economic and fiscal circumstances really aren't all that bad, and they're getting better under Dear Leader Obama. (Oh, and throw in a healthy dose of "It's Bush's fault" for good measure.)
Lisa Mascaro, with the help of Brian Bennett, David Lauter and Michael A. Memoli, added to that effort late Saturday afternoon. In an item primarily about the politics of the Washington's next scheduled fiscal standoff in mid-December, she did the usual spin on this year's budget deficit (writing that it has "declined rapidly," while conveniently forgetting that this year's shortfall will be higher than any non-Obama deficit in U.S. history). She also gave undue credence based on poor historical accuracy to Congressional Budget Office projections which claim that "the national debt ... is projected to be stable or even declining as a share of the economy well into the next decade." But she ventured beyond the careful but misleading realm of the previous two statements into flat-out falsehood when she wrote: "The country is on a budget trajectory that, while substantially improved from the recent recession ..."
In a Sunday morning report which tries to put the best possible face on a project which appears to be on track to make the $22 billion "Big Dig" in Massachusetts look like a petty cash disbursement, Juliet Williams at the Associated Press claimed that the $68 billion involved thus far "would span the state." No it wouldn't, unless all of the formerly Golden State north of the San Francisco Bay Area — roughly one-fourth of the state's land mass — were to secede.
Williams also wrote: "Voters in 2008 approved $10 billion in bonds to start construction on an 800-mile rail line to ferry passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2 hours and 40 minutes." Nope. It's an 800-mile rail "network" (quoting from the state's ballot measure guide) which was supposed to include San Diego to the south (see the top left at Page 6 at the link), and apparently now does not. In other text seen below, she cited that 2008 proposition, which carried by a margin of 52.7% to 47.3%, as evidence that voters "overhelmingly approved" the project.
The following sentence appeared in a writeup on the ongoing failure known as HealthCare.gov by Politico reporters Kyle Cheney, Jason Millman and Jennifer Haberkorn: "President Barack Obama has gotten surprisingly few questions about the enrollment problems as the country — and Republican critics of the health law — focused on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling battle."
Gosh, President Obama has been in front of the press several times during the shutdown. Whose fault is it that no national establishment press reporter has questioned him about HealthCare.gov? Excerpt from the three Politico stooges' report following the jump (bolds are mine):
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford repeatedly underlined that the launch of HealthCare.gov has been a fiasco. After Norah O'Donnell noted the "rough start to ObamaCare", Crawford blunted stated that "'rough start' could be the understatement of the year. It has been a complete disaster." She pointed out that "we can't even find anyone who's enrolled. The Miami Herald is now calling them urban legends."
The correspondent later spotlighted how "the failures [of ObamaCare] are well documented, but the success stories are not." She also asserted that "the backlash, the criticism, the complete failure of this rollout" would be more apparent if the partial government shutdown hadn't happened. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The Obama administration and HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius have had 3-1/2 years to get ready for Obamacare's rollout. Though we have yet to learn all of the gory details, America already knows what an unmitigated disaster HealthCare.gov has been thus far. But at least one could argue (not successfully, in my opinion, but work with me on this) that "programmming is hard."
That's not the case with another aspect of Obamacare implementation, namely the handling of exemptions from the individual mandate. The forms involved, the generation of which should have been a relative breeze and which obviously should have been ready eons ago, are at least a month away. Instead of describing this situation as yet another miserable failure, Kyle Cheney at the Politico, perhaps signaling to other establishment press outlets that they shouldn't consider this a big deal (though it clearly is), merely characterized it as "another big hurdle," and kept "individual mandate" out of his headline. Excerpts follow the jump (HT to a frequent emailer; bolds are mine):
Kathleen Pender at the San Francisco Chronicle (HT Zombie at PJ Media) had some Obamacare-related financial advice for her readers on Saturday: "Consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less," because doing so could get you a "huge health care subsidy."
This is not news to anyone who has studied Obamacare in detail, and shouldn't be a revelation to anyone in the business press, especially a financial advice columnist like Pender. Among several others, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation and yours truly sounded the alarm about Obamacare's work-demotivating impact — as well as how it will encourage marital breakups and discourage couples from getting married — in early 2010. I also wrote related columns here and here in late September. Excerpts from Pender's prose follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The healthcare sector, particular hospitals, is hitting a wall. In a Sunday morning writeup, USA Today reporters Paul Davidson and Barbara Hansen considered this news "surprising," because Obamacare is supposedly going to bring hospitals so much new business.
Well, guys, that new business needs to be profitable. Odds are it won't be. The staff cuts also appear to foreshadow the rationing so many people have predicted would result, and which has resulted under state-run healthcare in U.S. states like Massachusetts and other countries, if Obamacare passed. Of course, the USAT pair didn't recognize that possibility. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Three New York Times reporters' coverage of HealthCare.gov's systemic failures is inadvertently funny. Its opening paragraph quotes Henry Chao, described as "the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace," as "deeply worried about the web site's debut" way back in March, and hoping that "it’s not a third-world experience." The Third World, many of whose developers have shown that they can design functional interactive web sites, should feel insulted.
In a keister-covering dispatch at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, which, based on its headline, is supposed to be a big-picture look at where recovery efforts from last year's Superstorm Sandy stand ("NORMALCY ELUDES MANY A YEAR AFTER SANDY HIT NJ"), reporter Wayne Parry spent the vast majority of his 900-plus words on problems residents are having with insurance companies.
It doesn't take a great deal of effort to determine that problems originating with the federal government and other government entities are far larger in scope.
There was no annual adjustment to Social Security benefits for inflation during 2010 or 2011. That's because the 2009 increase of 5.8 percent (announced in November 2008, and considered the "2009" increase at this table) was artifically lifted by the $4 per gallon gas prices seen in the summer of 2008, the period used in the annual inflation adjustment calculation. After gas prices came down, overall prices levels were slightly lower during the next two years.
With that background, it's hard to imagine how a headline writer at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, could transform what writer Stephen Ohlemacher accurately described as an "historically small increase" to "among the lowest in years" — unless it's to create a false impression among those who only read headlines that the government is being unduly stingy in disbursing benefits. Excerpts from Ohlemacher's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):