Obama's 'Keep Your Plan' Claim Gets 4 Pinocchios

Glenn Kessler says his promise came with a very large caveat

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 30, 2013 11:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog does its thing with President Obama's much-criticized claim that "if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, period." The verdict? Four Pinocchios, which happens to be the max. Though he might have been forgiven for such a grand proclamation while the bill was still being drafted, the president continued to make the claim even once the law had been signed and its potential impact on insurance plans was clear, writes Glenn Kessler. Further, the law's design purposefully quashes "substandard" plans that the Americans on them certainly might like, in no small part because they can be cheap. So Kessler amends the president's infamous line: "If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan—if we deem it to be adequate."

Other pundits are also weighing in:

  • What Obama "meant was you can keep it if he likes it," echoes Holman Jenkins in the Wall Street Journal. The bottom line, for Jenkins: "He wants you to pay for coverage you'll never use (mental-health services, cancer wigs, fertility treatments, Viagra) so the money can be spent on somebody else."
  • "The GOP outrage about Americans supposedly 'losing' coverage is largely just more of the same old misdirection," writes Greg Sargent in the Washington Post. "It’s a subset of a larger Republican refusal to have an actual debate about the law’s tradeoffs—one in which the law’s benefits for millions of Americans are also reckoned with in a serious way."
  • Jonah Goldberg says Obama's statement "looks like the biggest lie about domestic policy ever uttered by a US president." The question, writes Goldberg at National Review Online, is whether "he was simply 'playing to win' and therefore lying on purpose" or whether he actually believed his own spin.
  • "The president's message about his signature law has always been: It gets better, I promise," writes John Dickerson at Slate. "That was always an uphill battle. The benefits of the law were strung out over time, making it harder for people to recognize a payoff. 'Trust me' claims clash with people's mistrust of politicians and government programs."

President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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