Over and over again, Barack Obama has told us about his health care plans that if you like your current health care plan that you can keep it. But today, the White House admits that that is not the entire truth. From the Associated Press (Emphasis mine):
Earlier this week, a preliminary analysis by Congressional Budget Office estimated that 10 million people would have to seek new insurance under a Democratic plan that a Senate committee is working on, because their employers would no longer offer coverage. Those workers and their families would shop for a plan through new insurance purchasing pools called exchanges. About 160 million to 170 million people now get employer coverage.
Though the impact seems small, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said the budget office analysis shows the legislation “fails to deliver” on Obama’s promise.
Republicans seized on the issue Friday. “Once the bill is finished, tens of millions more could also be forced to lose coverage,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Obama’s opponent in last year’s presidential election, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, declared: “I don’t believe this is a promise the president can keep.”
Neutral observers are also skeptical. Dallas Salisbury, head of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, called Obama’s promise “an aspirational statement.”
“If he was a king, he would deliver that, but he’s not king,” said Salisbury. His group is a nonpartisan information clearinghouse on health and pension benefits.
White House officials suggest the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken literally: What Obama really means is that government isn’t about to barge in and force people to change insurance.
No, the government won’t barge in and force Americans to switch plans, but their hands will be forced because, as I said in my AIP column, many employers will use a government option as an opportunity to off load their health care costs by telling their employees to go on the public plan. The Obama Administration may not barge in and force them, but the result will be the same: they still will feel forced to change from a good insurance plan to a lousy, government controlled one.
Update: Michelle Malkin calls this Obama’s Emily Litella moment.