"If You Like Your Insurance, You Can Keep It."

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 29 2013 10:53 AM

"If You Like Your Insurance, You Can Keep It."

82545027
FACT: This is Valerie Jarrett.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

For all the work conservatives have done to legitimatize their alternative media, the Obama administration has never felt the need to respond to them. It hasn't felt the need to respond to local media reports (collated, helpfully, by Republicans) about individuals losing their current insurance plans because they didn't comport with the Affordable Care Act's regulations. But NBC News weighs in, proves that "the administration knew 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," and Katy bar the door. Senior adviser Valerie Jarett became (via Twitter) the highest-level Obama official to try to refute the NBC story.

Advertisement

This is a funny use of the word "fact." As has been reported for some time—as is only being felt now that it's real—the regulations that followed the passage of the ACA removed the protections on plans that had been changed, by insurers, after March 2010. Conservatives claimed that people who currently enjoyed their smaller health care plans would be forced off, in the long march to single-payer. The president repeatedly denied this. The president was not telling the truth.

Jonathan Chait, fresh from being named one of the president's favorite columnists, calls out the dissembling while saying that the administration "never denied" that some plans were going to be phased out. Well, true. In the first presidential debate, for example, Mitt Romney repeatedly said that people who enjoyed their current coverage could lose it. "Right now, the CBO says up to 20 million people will lose their insurance as Obamacare goes into effect next year," he said. "And likewise, a study by McKinsey and Company of American businesses said 30 percent of them are anticipating dropping people from coverage." On the spot, the president didn't "debunk" him—the rhetoric of a set speech was not sturdy enough for a format where Romney could prove the president wrong.

The point: It was known and fretted about, for three years, that the phase-in of the Affordable Care Act would push millions of people off the plans they were used to and into more comprehensive, often more expensive, plans. Obama won re-election despite this. That seems to have made the administration overconfident about how it could avoid blowback when the phase-in continued.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

The Feds Have Declared War on New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Europe’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celebrity Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 6:39 PM Spoiler Special: Transparent
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?