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Sebelius apologies for “miserably frustrating” problems with HealthCare.gov, Obama holds campaign-like rally to celebrate ObamaCare

by | Oct 31, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

kathleensebelius7There was considerable chatter about and forwarding of our story yesterday, “Nightmares continue as HHS Secretary Sebelius Testifies before Congress.”  Thanks a lot. NRL News Today counts of you to make sure our stories receive the widest possible distribution.

It was quite a day. I’m including today what I forgot to include yesterday: the split screen that showed HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about how the Healthcare.gov website will soon be right as rain at the same time the website was down—again! VERY embarrassing.

We’re reprinting a fine analysis of how the mainstream media is gradually (as in one by one) conceding that President Obama was not…entirely forthcoming when he repeatedly said, “If You Like Your [insurance] Plan, You Can Keep It.” We also write about President Obama’s approval rating reaching an all-time low.

Here are two other considerations we should know about.

#1. The President yesterday retreated from his absolute pledge at the same time he demonized certain unnamed insurance carriers as “bad apple insurers.” In a campaign-like rally in front of supporters in Boston, he said in that “of-course-no-one-can-doubt-what-I-say-tone-of-voice” that the “vast majority of people” who like their plans can keep them” (which also isn’t true for a gazillion different reasons: see #2). This was at variance with what White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett had tweeted Monday night: “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.”

As the Huffington Post’s John Dickerson (certainly no harsh Obama critic) commented,

“Of course the insurance companies wouldn’t have had to change plans if it hadn’t been for Obamacare. This is spinning—which is to be expected from a president’s defender—but its legalistic dissembling seems particularly weak in light of the president’s initial promises. (It isn’t the only time the administration has claimed a FACT recently about health care that isn’t one).”

#2. I come from Minnesota. The Star/Tribune is the state’s largest paper and reliably in the back pocket of liberal pro-abortion Democrats like Mr. Obama. Here’s what Kevin Diaz led off his story with:

“At least 140,000 Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own are being notified that their plans will no longer be available under the new federal health care law, adding to the national furor over canceled policies that has overtaken the health care debate.

“Unlike many states, Minnesota guarantees renewability of health insurance plans, meaning that technically, no policies are being canceled. Some who are being offered different plans, however, say that’s a distinction without a difference.

“Industry officials say higher premiums and added benefits are likely in store for most of those who now buy high deductible/limited coverage plans on the individual market. Medica Vice President Dannette Coleman said that while some customers could see lower rates, ‘there could be some tough conversations. These are big impacts to a lot of people.’ …

“Clearly, what Obama said about ‘if you like your plan you can keep it’ was false,” said retired Bloomington police officer Dan Murphy, who recently got a letter from his insurance company offering him a modified plan that meets the standards of the Affordable Care Act, including maternity coverage, which he does not need. The new plan would jack up his monthly premium by $210, or about $2,500 a year. ‘That’s a big ouch,’ Murphy said.”

A few paragraphs later, Diaz adds

“State industry officials emphasize that the old plans are being changed automatically to conform to the new law, not canceled. “The products were all brought up to date to comply with federal rules,” said Eileen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Council of Health Plans.

“But for those losing their old bare-bones benefits packages, it could mean the same thing. ‘We won’t be able to sell them those products,’ said Marcus Merz, President and Chief Executive Officer at PreferredOne, a state insurance company with about 15,000 affected members.”

One last quote from story in POLITICO which contrasted Sebelius’ day and Obama’s “Be Happy” speech in which the President also talked about the joy of shopping for “better plans,” including (as he did not mention) all those people who were/are perfectly happy with the plan they have. Jonathan Allen and Carrie Budoff Brown write

“But no amount of contrition — or considered patience — could spare her from taking the administration’s medicine so that Obama could bound onto the stage with the energy and confidence of a candidate on the campaign trail.

“In addition to questions about the website’s functionality, the number of people who have signed up — a question Sebelius deflected — and the security of consumers’ health information, the secretary faced a barrage of queries about the millions of Americans who will have to switch insurance plans after the president had promised for years that they wouldn’t.

“’I work for Sean. You work for Sean. Sean lost his plan. There are millions of Seans throughout this country who have lost their insurance,’ Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) said. ‘I think you should give Sean a better answer than, ‘You can shop around for a better plan.’”

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Categories: ObamaCare