On the campaign trail, candidate Obama was against the government forcing people to buy health insurance:
“The main difference between my plan and Senator Clinton’s plan is that she’d require the government to force you to buy health insurance and she said she’d ‘go after’ your wages if you don’t.” - Barack Obama, February 13, 2008
That was then. This is now. One week ago, President Obama sent a letter to Senators Kennedy and Baucus regarding the Senate's health care plan. In that letter, Obama said he was fine with the government forcing people to buy health insurance, though he uses the requisite softer political language, calling it "shared responsibility":
“I understand the Committees are moving towards a principle of shared responsibility — making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the cost. I share the goal of ending lapses and gaps in coverage that make us less healthy and drive up everyone’s costs, and I am open to your ideas on shared responsibility.” - Barack Obama, June 2, 2009.
That's a major flip-flop, but I'm so used to politicians lying to the American people that it barely even surprises me anymore. I'm more surprised now when they don't lie.
After receiving the President's go-ahead on government forced health insurance, it is no surprise at all that, when the Senate health care plan was announced yesterday, it REQUIRES PEOPLE TO BUY HEALTH INSURANCE. That's great news for the insurance companies, having the public forced into buying their product, but it's not-so-great news for many U.S. citizens who prefer to make their own choices about things (an old discredited idea from the past known as "liberty").
I have to backtrack a bit. When I said the Senate announced a health care plan, that gives the Senate far too much credit. What the Senate actually announced were some broad, vague outlines of a plan, and the Senate hasn't said how the plan will be funded. President Obama said the health care plan must be "tax neutral," which is Obamaspeak for saying taxes must be raised to pay for the health care plan. I do have to admit, the government paying for it's own proposals almost sounds like a refreshing and novel idea in these days of continual massive deficits and borrowing. Democrats in the Senate Finance Committee and the House appear to be ready to tax employee health benefits to pay for part of health care reform. If they do that and Obama signs it, two more major Obama campaign promises will be destroyed - 1) No tax increases for anybody making less than $250,000 (a promise Obama already broke with the cigarette tax), and 2) No taxing of employee health care benefits, which was the way Obama portrayed his health care plan as superior to John McCain's plan (though McCain would have made all medical expenses tax deductible. The Dems aren't doing that. With the Dems, we get the worst of both worlds).
Like I said, it's more surprising when politicians DON'T lie. In fact, it looks like the biggest liar has the advantage in an election. Hillary and McCain told the truth about how they'd run health care reform. It appears Obama didn't, and HE WON.
Exit question(s) - During the entire presidential campaign, Obama always referred to health care reform as "my health care plan." If Obama indeed had a plan, why are the House and Senate Democrats now busy formulating a plan ? I mean, Obama already had a plan, right ? Why isn't Congress using it ?
Exit answer - Obama never had a health care plan. Just some vague and broad principles, much like the Senate announced yesterday. What Obama had instead were some finely crafted, poll-tested soundbytes and one-liners, designed to tell the mice what they wanted to hear, so those mice would push the lever for Obama.
And that was the biggest lie of all.
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