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Old sayings and inconvenient truths

October 30, 2013

In 1808, in the poem Marmion, (Sir) Walter Scott (he was not yet a baronet at the time) wrote “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”.

More recently, Abraham Lincoln purportedly noted in one of the 1858 debates with Douglas, that “you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.” While the accuracy of the attribution has been questioned, the wisdom of the phrase is undeniable.

It would seem that throughout time, there has been if not an aversion to,  at least a recognition of the fact that when the government lies, or  refuses to be governed by the laws and mores of the land, that can be a bad way to go politically.

That seems to be about where our 44th president and the progressive liberal wing of the Democratic Party have arrived.

Ignorance is a paper shield when you are in a position to know better. There is such a thing as truly not knowing, and then there is selective amnesia.  

The only possible way any person that purports to be the head of state of any country or any elected representative of same can claim utter ignorance of any and all unpleasant or inconvenient truths is to be just an empty figurehead. Selectively blocking out any possibility to acquire foreknowledge of adverse consequences is a way to protect his or her political backside.

Nancy Pelosi will probably always be remembered for her famous phrase “We have to pass the bill so that you can learn what’s in it…”  It is probably true that many legislators who voted to pass the Affordable Care Act did not know what was in it, because they didn’t want to know. They certainly could have found out, since presumably they and their staff members can read.

From its inception this bill was designed to grandfather in only policies that existed and remained unchanged before the bill was signed. If any policyholder changed or modified their coverage in a way that changed the plan identification number after the bill was signed, that disqualified their plan from the grandfathering feature. Many people apparently thought that feature only applied AFTER the bill became operationally available and mandatory in 2014. In reality it applied as soon as the bill was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Some states, including my own, are simply disqualifying all pre-existing plans.  

For instance, if single persons married, they may have changed their plan to one that offered dependent coverage. If you were laid off or had your hours reduced, you may have opted for a plan with a higher deductible to reduce premium costs. If your employer experienced a downturn in revenues, that employer may have changed to a less expensive group plan. If all your children married and you were over fifty, you may have decided you didn’t need a plan that covered maternity and pediatric medicine. That’s called having the individual freedom to adjust your spending to match your income or life circumstances.

 All of these examples might and probably will disqualify your policy as being grandfathered under Obamacare. That feature was in the original language of the bill.

The President and his cohorts also  claimed that taking half a trillion dollars out of the Medicare budget would not affect privately owned Medicare Advantage plans, yet some of those plans are also being affected due to changes in the plan number, according to anecdotal comments.  

A far more honest catch phrase should have been, “If the government doesn’t like your policy, we will find a way to prevent you from keeping it.”  Not terribly politically expedient, but certainly more representative of the truth.

If the Dept. of Health and Human Services ever gets their website working, and if the site contains all the facts, it will be very hard for any politician to claim they didn’t know what they were signing. It remains to be seen what outcome that will produce for them. According to some estimates at least 16 to 20  million people, or around 5% of the population, will lose their existing insurance. The President’s much touted margin of victory in the last election was less than 3%. That’s math even a liberal should be able to do. 

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