What a terrible thing to say. Is the president a liar? Most Americans express little, if any, faith in Congress and its ability to tell the truth along with the media and its ability to tell the truth and radio commentators and their ability to tell the truth. Spin is in full control on both sides of the aisle and truth appears to be the biggest loser.
Lying presidents is nothing new. The lies we know of include Bill Clinton lying about an affair in the White House, JFK lying about the Soviets nuclear arsenal, Johnson lying about the Vietnam War and Bush lying about weapons of mass destruction.
But is it so commonplace that the American people expect nothing more?
This morning Jay Carney was forced to admit the president lied about people keeping their health insurance, sort of. Actually, he was browbeaten into a corner of semi-admission. And he repeatedly fell back on an unwillingness to address individual examples. But wait. Last week, weren’t we privy to a parade of individuals touted as success stories presented by the president himself? So farcical were those examples, they caused a pregnant woman to faint and Saturday Night Live to create a skit. When are individual examples okay, Mr. Carney?
If we follow the president’s detractors, there is a pattern of lying. Did he mislead the American people about Benghazi and then two weeks ago, in a televised speech, assure the American people that part of what our government does is protect our ambassadors around the world? The last part is definitely true and caused more than one person to look twice at the television, no doubt amongst them the family of Ambassador Chris Stevens whose life was not protected by our government.
Other quotes have come back to bite the commander. There was a promise to bring the troops home. Another to eliminate taxes for seniors making under $50,000, some messy involvement or non-involvement with the ACORN organization, a pesky preacher, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, cutting the deficit in half and the whopper that has many perplexed in the past few weeks.
“If you like the health care plan you have, you can keep it.” And, “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people,” he told the American Medical Association in 2009. “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
So the question that begs an answer: Did the president know all along that massive numbers of people would lose their existing coverage or did he not? And if he did not, why not? At his fingertips is the world’s wealth of knowledge. Why did he not know this? Give him the benefit of the doubt—he honestly did not know. Is anyone bothered that he lacked this knowledge? Or that anyone around him did not point it out?
What we face now is a broken system. Not the idea; the idea that people should be able to have access to quality health care in the greatest country in the world is not at debate. There are not evil Republicans lurking around every corner believing the poor should starve and die of disease in the streets regardless of how the other party would like to school the American citizenry.
Access to the system is broken in many ways. It is not just a website. It is the millions of people who received notice in the past days that their healthcare will not continue. For many, at year’s end they are out of luck and must buy government health care or be fined. There are businesses facing astronomical rate hikes as well as individuals looking at the same. There are young people, who arguably put no strain on the system, being forced to pony up.
The brokenness is more than a website. It is a system that for all our brainpower and access to knowledge was not thoroughly vetted. Why?
CGI Federal, the company that created the website, has been paid $88 million so far. If that were a home contractor, you could probably get your money back. Quality Software Service, Inc, the organization responsible for making sure the system would work, told Congress on Sept. 10 the system was ready for a surge on Oct. 1. Granted, it was a big surge. But are we really unaware how many people live in our country, how many might flood the system and how the system must be set up to handle such a flood? For their part, Quality Software has pocketed $55 million so far.
And Jay Carney believes he owes the American public no answer. Then who does?
According to a report from NBC News, the administration estimated that “40 to 67 percent” of insured would lose their health insurance coverage.
In another report this morning, released by United Liberty, “To date, some 1.5 million health insurance plans have been canceled because of Obamacare.” Robert Laszewski, a healthcare policy analyst whose expertise was featured in the Washington Post, noted “as many as 16 million Americans will lose their current health insurance coverage, which is roughly 84 percent of the entire individual health insurance market in the United States.”
Voters are not immune from responsibility. As always, there are uninformed in the masses that hear only what they want to hear. As is the case with a woman in California upon hearing her healthcare would be cancelled and was informed of her premium. She famously told Pam Kehaly of Anthem Blue Cross, “I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it.” Really?
Are we that ill-informed, so shortsighted, that we believe the money tree out back would pay for subsidized healthcare? Are we so gullible that we believe the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are two different things—recently on full display on a late night show? Do we really believe that a country can forever take from the rich, give to the poor and the money will never run out? Do we not realize that when we pay into social security and take out more than we put in, that money will not be there forever? Do we really hear only what the party line spews without regard to the truth?
Perhaps it is not the lies of a president that should concern us, but the lies we tell ourselves.
Written by Linda Torkelson