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What The Obama Administration… Could Not Not Know About Obamacare

November 5, 2013 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

Recently in this space, during a discussion of the theory of moral relativism, we referred to the work of J. Budziszewski of the University of Texas, specifically to his analysis of “invincible ignorance.” This is the theory that we are not guilty of sin if we are unaware that our actions are immoral; that we must follow our conscience even when our conscience is in error, through no fault of our own.
Budziszewski’s contention is that this proposition can be used dishonestly by those who reject the teachings of the Church because “there is stuff we cannot not know”; that people can too easily fall into the trap of rationalizing their immoral behavior.
“Stuff we cannot not know”: Budziszewski’s phrase kept popping up in my mind as I watched the disastrous Obamacare rollout. As Peggy Noonan wrote, “Three and a half years! They had a long-declared start date: It would all go live October 1, 2013, and everyone in the government, every contractor and consultant, knew it. The president put the meaning of his presidency into the program — it informally carries his name, it is his brand. It was unveiled with great fanfare, and it didn’t work. For almost anybody. Crashed systems, frozen screens, phone registration that prompted you back to the site that sent you to the 800 number, like a high-tech Möbius strip.”
But we must be fair: The technical glitches with the Obamacare web site cannot be described as “stuff that Obama could not have not known” would occur. Neither Obama nor Kathleen Sebelius is a computer programmer. Even if one were to accept the proposition that the Obama team wants Obamacare to fail as part of a long-term plan to move us toward a single-payer system, Obama would not have launched the web site if he knew it was going to be this bad. The political fallout is too great; next year’s congressional elections are just around the corner. A Republican takeover of Congress would block Obama’s attempts to further his agenda, perhaps even threaten Obamacare’s survival. It is hard to believe that Obama was lying to us when he told us the web site would work. He was merely mistaken.
The same cannot be said about Obamacare itself. There are elements to Obamacare about which Obama and his team can be fairly described as deliberately deceiving the American people, of telling us things that they knew were not true.
Look: Obama and his supporters are morally free to favor Obamacare, even to favor a single-payer system like Canada’s. That is a matter of prudential judgment. (A Catholic could argue in good faith that the level of government involvement in health care found in Western Europe is the least centralized authority capable of addressing health care effectively; just as one would be free to argue to the contrary.) But if it can be demonstrated that Obama deliberately lied when selling Obamacare to the voters, that he said things he “could not not know” were false, we are dealing with a moral failure for which he and those who continue to make excuses for him deserve serious rebuke. A lie is a lie is a lie.
I contend that it is becoming clear that there are important aspects to Obamacare about which Obama knowingly deceived us when he promoted the program. I am not talking about a politician stretching the truth a bit to push his agenda. We expect some hyperbole and puffery on the campaign trail. I am talking about lies.
For example, when Obama promised us, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period. No one will take it away” — he was not telling the truth. Day after day we get reports of insurance carriers who have canceled policies or raised their rates dramatically because of Obamacare. Obama could not have not known that insurance companies would not be able to provide the coverage mandated in Obamacare without raising their rates. Forbes magazine reports that Principal Financial, American Community, World Insurance, and American Republic have left the health insurance market entirely rather than provide the insurance coverage Obamacare requires by law. If you had one of those carriers, you cannot keep your health-care plan. Period.
The Internet and the talk shows are full of documented examples of people who have received letters informing them that their health-care plans are not compliant with Obamacare and that they will be terminated. In some cases these individuals are offered the option of buying a more expensive health-care plan. One Obama apologist offered the explanation that “some junky health-care plans will have to be phased out.” No good: Obama’s promise was not that the federal government would make the decision about whether your health-care plan was “junky” and deserving of termination. He said, “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it. Period.”
Even worse, Obama had to know that hundred of thousands of workers would be fired or transformed into part-time workers as their employers cut back on their hours to avoid the Obamacare mandate. (Employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees are not required to provide health insurance under Obamacare.) As a result, not only do they not have health-care insurance, they have no jobs.
Obama promised repeatedly while promoting Obamacare that “health-care premiums will be lower,” specifically promising thousands of dollars in lower premiums. The opposite is happening. The nightly news is full of people with evidence of their insurance premiums increasing dramatically because of Obamacare.
Obama had to know this would happen. You can’t require that insurance companies offer more extensive coverage to their insured without expecting them to raise their prices. Even insurance companies are not able to stay in business if they are losing money. You can’t require insurance companies to provide insurance for individuals with preexisting conditions without expecting them to raise their rates to cover this increased liability. Obama could not not know this.
Obama promised, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.” He had to know that what is happening today, would happen. Thousands of doctors are retiring early because of Obamacare. Thousands more are refusing to participate in Obamacare. You might not be able to keep your doctor. Period. Obama could not not know that this would happen. Yet he said it anyway.
Obama’s favorability rating is dropping in dramatic fashion. As P.T. Barnum (or maybe it was Abraham Lincoln) is reported to have said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” He was right. People don’t like to be lied to.

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