By: Laura Mortimer President Obama repeatedly promised Americans over the past four years that, “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it” under the Affordable Care Act . Yet, insurance companies are terminating millions of Americans’ plans because those plans do not meet ACA standards.
The President even apologized – a rare move for any POTUS – on Thursday to Americans who lose their plans, although it was only sort of an apology.
Why does this bizarre discrepancy exist between what President Obama said would happen and what is actually happening with health coverage? Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post does a great job of answering this question here. If you make it through her entire post, I’ll buy you a beer at Sam’s later.
My big question is: Why did the President use this promise as a rallying cry for the ACA if he and his administration knew all along that it wasn’t true for millions of Americans?
The (unfortunately frequent) answer: Politics. They needed the votes.
The more nuanced answer, however, is that most people do not like change. By reassuring Americans that their healthcare plans would not change under his health reform, President Obama hoped to assuage people’s fears that healthcare Armageddon would ensue.
Meanwhile, by scaring people with death panel talk and nightmares of Uncle Sam in the exam room, Republicans did their best to make Armageddon a reality in people’s minds.
The administration issued its wholesale messaging about not losing coverage under Obamacare largely in response to these scare tactics. Both sides severely distorted the truth, however, leaving Americans afraid and confused about what health reform really means.