As President Obama addresses the nation this evening, health care will surely be a featured topic. But what the nation will surely not hear from the president tonight are three big promises that were used to sell the law:
- “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.“
- “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.“
- “We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”
Many Energy and Commerce Committee members will have constituents in the House Chamber this evening who are now suffering the consequences of these very broken promises.
As Michael Gerson explains in The Washington Post, “Because of the way the law was sold – ‘you can keep your plan’ – Americans have questions about Obama’s credibility. Because of the way it has been implemented – ‘the system is down at the moment’ – they have questions about his competence.” Gerson continues that the future is not any brighter with “small-business policy cancellations, expensive government subsidies to insurance companies for excess losses, higher premiums in the exchanges, the IRS collection of individual mandate penalties, cuts in Medicare Advantage, the ‘Cadillac tax’ on expensive policies, the possibility that some insurers will exit the public market entirely,” all on the horizon.
If the president does not address these very real concerns for Americans, what might he say instead?
The president may claim victory for a slower rate of growth in health care spending. Continually rising health care costs – even at a slower rate – are a far cry from premiums being as much as $2,500 lower, as the president promised. And for some Americans, premiums have actually risen by as much as 400 percent. Not to mention the fact that slower growth in health costs has been attributed to a weak economy.
The president will likely claim that the law is working where supportive officials are implementing it. Yet, this does nothing to explain away the massive failures that have occurred on the federal level or in Maryland, Oregon, New Hampshire, North Carolina …
Finally, President Obama may follow the lead of many in his administration and use Medicaid enrollment figures to paint a slightly rosier picture of the law. The Washington Post has already fact checked this attempt to inflate the “enrollment” figures.
Tonight’s presidential address cannot change the sad state of the law, the president’s many broken promises, or the administration’s failed rollout of the law. As a result, the president has lost the faith of the American people and Moody’s. In fact, he has even lost the confidence of some of his strongest allies in Congress who now suggest the law could unravel. That is the real state of the health law.