What we do know is that this man is dangerous, and that if his predecessor George Bush had tried a stunt like this, he would have been widely excoriated.
What am I talking about? You may recall that Investor’s Business Weekly article I wrote about here and here, the one in which the authors interpreted the health care reform bill as prohibiting the writing of new individual private medical insurance policies once the bill is passed. Obama was doing call-ins over the radio and he was asked about the provision in question, which the caller helpfully explained.
Here’s the passage:
CALLER: …from an opinion piece in Investor’s Business Daily[sic], where they’re saying that HR3200 will make individual private medical insurance recalled, and they actually quote from Section 102 of the bill, which is grandfathering the existing policies. Is this true, will people be able to keep their insurance and will insurers be able to write new policies even though HR3200 is passed?
OBAMA: You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you’re talking about. Let me just speak for the Obama administration. I have committed myself consistently to a very simple proposition: if you have health insurance, you like it, you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period. And I won’t sign a bill that somehow would make it tougher for people to keep their health insurance.
The problems with Obama’s answer:
(1) He’s making the case against his own rush to pass this bill if he’s admitting he’s unfamiliar with its provisions on such a basic point.
(2) The original IBW article was not obscure. It was discussed at Instapundit, for example, a blog so large and influential that the administration should be monitoring it on a daily basis. Someone should have at least briefed Obama on it, if he didn’t know the answer already.
(3) Note how careful Obama is to not answer the question, which is about writing future policies, not keeping the one you have. He is parsing his words in order to appear to answer the question but never addresses it at all. Even if he didn’t know the answer about the specifics of that provision in the bill, he should have said he would defend the right to keep policies and also the right to get new ones. But he doesn’t, which is highly suspicious.
Of course, it’s possible that the video is strategically truncated, and that Obama addresses the issue of future policies a moment later. But I very much doubt it, since a search revealed nothing of the sort (although I’ve not been able to locate a transcript of the entire episode). And a look at an article about the call-in at Daily Kos (written by the blogger who asked Obama the question, who turns out to be on the Left and not the Right, and is getting hammered by the Kos kids for asking it in the first place), revealed no such extra statement by Obama that had been edited out. Surely, if there was such a thing, it would constitute some sort of defense and would have been mentioned in the post at Kos (I’m not providing a link because I have a policy not to link to Kos; you’ll have to find it yourself if you care to).
(4) This also may be a case of Obama preparing the defense I mentioned here: “Don’t blame me, blame Congress!”
(5) And of course the whole thing is disingenuous anyway, because once the public option is in place it will tend to crowd out private options and in a while these plans will no longer be offered even to those who were grandfathered in. Unless there’s some special provision in the bill protecting them, which there is not.