President George H.W. Bush's 'Read my lips: No new taxes' declaration is considered one of the biggest whoppers in American politics. But President Barack Obama might've topped it with a claim that people who don't prefer Obamacare would be able to keep their original insurance, unaffected. (DIANE BONDAREFF / AP)
The words “If you like the health insurance plan you have now, you can keep it” will be etched in political infamy along with “Read my lips, no new taxes,” “Mission Accomplished” and “In five years, you’ll be blown away.”
The assurance from President Barack Obama that those who have insurance coverage can keep it if they want and won’t have to pay higher premiums to do so was a key selling point of the Affordable Care Act.
But Americans are now finding out those promises won’t be kept, even though Obama keeps repeating them.
Millions of people are getting letters from their employers or insurance companies warning of the seismic changes Obamacare is wreaking on the private insurance market. The one I got last week said that because of the Affordable Care Act, the policy I currently have — and like — is going away. I’ll be covered instead by a different insurer, with sky-high deductibles that assure my annual out-of-pocket health care costs will soar.
Maybe some of the folks getting similar notification think that paying more for less coverage is a worthy trade-off to implement universal health care. But I bet most feel like they’ve been sold a bill of goods. My experience is that these “Oh by the way, because of Obamacare ...” letters make the recipients angry and fearful.
An angry, fearful electorate should be bad news for the Democrats, who arrogantly shoved Obamacare down our throats.
That’s why I don’t understand the defund tactic Republicans are employing.
Before the GOP forced the spotlight away from the Obamacare train wreck and onto their own government shutdown circus, the Affordable Care Act was self-destructing at an accelerating pace. Business and labor groups were confirming the warnings that Obamacare would lead to less hiring and more part-time jobs.
Individual policyholders were seeing huge spikes in their premiums and workers were losing their employer-provided coverage. Anti-Obamacare sentiment was starting to boil.
And then Republicans overreached. Dumb.
Better to let Obamacare proceed uninterrupted so voters could experience its full consequences before they go to the polls in 2014. Let them feel the economic destruction wrought by this law that belongs wholly to the Democrats.
Give them a chance to ask Democratic congressmen who voted for the law and then exempted themselves from its impact (Gary Peters, for example) why it’s good for us but not for them. See how they react to IRS agents chasing them down to pay fees for not buying something they don’t want.
Instead of a futile fight to save America from Obamacare, give voters the opportunity to punish those politicians who inflicted it on the country. And hang the words “If you like the health insurance plan you have now, you can keep it” around the necks of every Democrat on the ballot.
Follow Nolan Finley on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nolanfinleydn, on Facebook at nolanfinleydetnews and watch him at 7:30 p.m. Fridays on “MiWeek” on Detroit Public TV, Channel 56.