One of the great Jewish thinkers of our time recently explained Chazal's statement Mashiach will come in a generation that is entirely chayev to mean that all the lies upon which civilization is based will become so blatant that the entire societal structure will collapse of its own weight. The wheels falling off the bus of Obamacare taking place before our eyes serves as a metaphor for that process.
President Obama's approval ratings have now dipped under those of President George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina, primarily as a result of the disastrous roll-out of the Obamacare exchange and the obvious falsehood of the President's signature promise selling Obamacare: "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. No one will take it away."
That promise was publicly reiterated by President Obama at least two dozen times both before and after the passage of Obamacare, and was central to the selling of Obamacare. At the time of its passage, a Gallup survey showed that 87% of Americans were satisfied with their level of healthcare.
Prior to the passage of Obamacare, the President might have at least gotten away, with the statement, "You can keep your plan if it doesn't change in any way," as Obamacare contained a narrowly drafted grandfather clause for policies in effect prior to passage. That statement would still have been highly deceptive. Insurance plans almost always change from year to year, and even a change of over five dollars in copay provisions is sufficient under Obamacare to exclude a policy from the grandfather clause. In a February 2010 public exchange with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, prior to the passage of Obamacare, the President admitted, "The eight to nine million people you refer to might have to change their coverage," but asserted they would get a better deal.
Even after passage of Obamacare, Obama kept repeating the claim, when it could not be defended on any grounds. The Wall Street Journal has revealed that many White House staffers grew uncomfortable with the President's constant reiteration of a blatant lie, and sought to introduce a more nuanced version, but they were overruled by political operatives.
The magnitude of the hoax being sold by the President is clear from the June 2010 Federal Registar, which includes an acknowledgement by administration officials that Obamacare would cause on a massive disruption in the private insurance market. Administration officials predicted that 66% of small employer plans and 45% of large employer plans would relinquish their "grandfather clause" status by the end of 2013, as would 40-67% of those in the individual market. Applying the administration's mid-range estimates, that comes to 93 million Americans. Christopher Conover of the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research at Duke University, estimates that of the 189 million Americans with private health insurance that 120 million (68%) will have lost their previous plans by the end of 2014.
As it became clear that the President knowingly lied about his signature legislative initiative, the White House tried to walk back the promise, only entangling itself in additional lies. As the Walter Scott wrote, "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first we practice to deceive."
At a press conference, Obamas said, "What we said was you could keep your plan if it hasn't changed since the law passed." But when Press Secretary Jay Carney was subsequently asked to point to a single statement where the President said that, he could not.
The President then tried another tack: The promise was true for all but the 5% or so of Americans in the individual insurance market. But that too is a whopper. To date the prime focus has been on those who purchase their insurance independently because the administration unilaterally pushed back implementation of the employer mandate until 2014. But as the Federal Register entry makes clear, they know that tens of millions will lose their employer insurance plans.
Finally, President Obama granted an interview to NBC's Chuck Todd to apologize. "I'm sorry that they [i.e., those whose policies have been cancelled ]– you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me," said the President. But the assurances had nothing to do with their situation. The entire structure of Obamacare (largely written by the insurance companies) was predicated on forcing people into far more comprehensive policies than they would have chosen for themselves: maternity care – even if you are a man or beyond child-bearing years; pediatric coverage – even if you have no children; addiction treatment – even if will never need it.
The cancellation of policies is not some kind of accident: It's mandated by Obamacare, as its wonkish supporters admit when they say the President had to lie to get it passed because Americans are too stupid to know what's good for them.
The only relevance of the President's assurances was the political backlash generated by those who learned that they had been hoodwinked by the President – something the President was still unwilling to admit that he had done, beyond not being "as clear as we should have been." In fact, he told Todd, "I meant what I said," before blaming the problem on poor implementation. But again, the loss of plans had nothing to with the total failure of the Healthgov website; it was built into the structure of the program, as the architects of Obamacare well knew.
Lastly, Obama asserted that the "vast majority of folks" whose coverage is cancelled will "be able to get better care at the same cost or cheaper." That is far from clear. A Manhattan Institute study of 49 states found that premium rates will rise 41% on average, even after factoring in subsidies, and a whopping 77% for 27-year-old men – the very suckers whose participation in Obamacare is required to prevent premiums for an increasingly high-risk insurance pool from skyrocketing. Moreover, even the comparably priced policies almost all have higher copays and deductibles and dramatically restricted choice of doctors and hospitals.
Hardest hit will be cancer patients, whose lives often depend on the most advanced cancer centers. Edie Littlefield Sundby, whose doctors at Stanford University and the MD Anderson Clinic in Houston have kept her alive for seven years with Stage IV gallbladder cancer (five-year survival rate 2%), and whose insurance policy had paid out $1.2 million dollars for her medical care, was one of those whose policy was cancelled. There will be thousands more like her, with equally compelling tales.
Terrified Democrats are fleeing from Obamacare, led by Bill Clinton, obviously concerned about its impact on Hillary's chances in 2016. Clinton called for the President to make good on his promise that people could keep their plans and their doctors, even though he knows that Obamacare is far too complex and intertwined to make that possible short of scrapping it in its entirety.
In any event, endangered Democratic senators have nowhere to run. On September 29, 2010, Republican Senators introduced an amendment to Obamacare that would have considerably broadened the "grandfather clause" regulations, with the explicit intention to make good on the President's promise that anyone who liked their policy could keep it.
Every single Democratic Senator voted against the "Keeping the Promise Act," and they will reap the whirlwind come November 2014.
Im Tilchu iti b'Kerry . . .
Relations between U.S. Secretary of State and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reached their nadir recently. In a November 7, press conference on both Israeli and Palestinian TV, Kerry warned that unless Israel allows the emergence of a "whole Palestine" soon and ends its "perpetual military occupation" of the West Bank, Israel will face diplomatic isolation and a third intifada.
In effect, he gave the Palestinians a green-light to abandon negotiations with Israel and restart their terrorism campaign against Israel. As usual, there were no criticisms of the Palestinians for the ongoing incitement against Israel and Jews in the official Palestinian media or the celebration of murderers of Jews as heroes.
As ominous as was Kerry's very public pressure on Israel, what came next was far worse. Kerry blind-sided Netanyahu and rushed off to Geneva to sign an agreement with Iran that would have given Iran as much as 50 billion dollars in desperately needed frozen assets and relief from the sanctions regime. In return, Iran offered nothing other than a temporary cessation of its nuclear program, which they could immediately restart anytime they choose.
Just as the Obama administration desperately grasped at a chemical weapons agreement with Syria to free the President from his "red-line" comment about the use of chemical weapons, so it is now eager to sign any fig-leaf agreement to allow President (I don't bluff") Obama to avoid having to make good on his promise to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu, who is laser-focused on the Iran nuclear program to the exclusion of everything else, was reported to be both terrified and furious, and immediately denounced the deal for giving Iran everything it could possibly desire.
In defending the agreement, Kerry said, "I don't think we are stupid." If you have to tell people you are not stupid, it's a pretty good sign you are. Kerry pointed to the experience of the American negotiating team. Bad move. Chief negotiator Wendy Sherman was a key member of the American team that signed an almost identical agreement with North Korea, just a year before the Hermit Kingdom tested its first nuclear device.
In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, which is considering legislation to ramp up sanctions on Iran, Kerry repeatedly responded to questions from both sides of the aisle by telling senators not to belief what they were hearing from the Israelis.
Meanwhile, the Geneva signing never took place. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius refused to sign on to a "sucker deal" that left Iran with its heavy-water reactor at Arak -- of use only for producing plutonium for a nuclear bomb – and did not require Iran to destroy its stockpiles of 20% enriched uranium.
In short, the French, at least for the moment, are the sole obstacle from allowing the Iranians to continue their unimpeded march to nuclear arms. Who said there are no open miracles in our time?