An Obamacare Lie Told Many Times

Plenty of Congressional Democrats followed the president's lead and lied about Obamacare.

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It will be interesting to see if "we lied but we fixed it" will be a compelling enough slogan to allow the Democrats to overcome the debacle that has been the onset of Obamacare. Far too many of them were made complicit when they echoed the president's lie that anyone who liked the health care plan they had could keep it – "period" – after the new law went into effect.

As it now turns out, the White House knew well in advance that people in the individual markets would not be able to keep the plans they had, which is what the designers of Obamacare wanted. They had to be moved into the health care exchanges – along with all those who would be losing their employer-provided insurance – in order for the numbers to work. They apparently knew the claim that anyone could keep their insurance wasn't true.

In the United States Senate, the opposition of even one member of the president's party would have blocked Obamacare from passing. Instead, recalcitrant Democrats were bought off with the infamous "Cornhusker Kickback" and other special side deals. In the U.S. House of Representatives, 219 Democrats voted for the bill when any one of them could have stopped it.  For those who have forgotten what they might have said, here, courtesy of the press shop of House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy, are just a few of the affirmations of Obama's big lie, either spoken by members of Congress or placed on their official websites:

[See a collection of political cartoons on Obamacare.]

Rep. Tony Cárdenas:  "If you have insurance right now, your plan stays the same. This means if you get your health insurance through work, if you have Medicare or if you are a member of California Healthy Families, you keep that coverage." ("What Valley Residents Need to Know about Health Care Reform")

Rep. Kathy Castor: "…If you like your health insurance, you can keep it. Keep your current doctor as you see fit." ("What Does Health Insurance Reform Mean for You?")

"Nothing in this bill will force you to drop your current coverage. Rest assured, if you like your health insurance, you can keep it." (Press Release, 7/31/2009)

Rep. Gerry Connolly: "I already have insurance through an employer, a union, Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare, the VA, COBRA, or a retirement plan. Do I need to do anything? No. If you have coverage from any of these sources, you can keep it. Nothing in the Affordable Care Act requires you to change plans." (Obamacare FAQ)

Rep. Jim Costa: "I currently have an insurance plan that works. How will the new health care law affect me? Health reform protects existing coverage, and encourages employers to maintain it. It also improves current coverage by strengthening consumer protections." (Obamacare FAQ)

Rep. Joseph Crowley: "Our health care plan provides stability and security for those who have health insurance.  If you like what you have, you can keep it." (Press Release, 11/7/2009)

Rep. Henry Cuellar: "Keep your doctor, and your current plan, if you like them." (Health Care Reform Summary, prepared by House Democratic Leadership, 8/10/2009)

Rep. Peter DeFazio: "The legislation is not a government takeover of health care. It will not get between anyone and their doctor. If you have insurance, you can keep your current plan." (Press Release, 3/24/2010)

Rep. Ted Deutch: "If you have job-based health insurance you like, you can keep it." (Health Care FAQ)

Rep. Lloyd Doggett: "If you already have coverage through your employer, Medicare, TRICARE, or some other source, you can keep that insurance and you are not required to buy additional coverage." (The Affordable Care Act)

Rep. Keith Ellison: "If you like the insurance you have, you can keep it. Don't listen to that stuff you heard in the last hour, Mr. Speaker. The truth is, you get to keep your health insurance if that's what you want." (Floor Speech)

Rep. Eliot Engel: "This is a great day for all Americans from all walks of life – seniors, youth, the sick and the healthy. If you have health insurance, you can keep your doctor and your health plan. You like it, you keep it. It's that simple." (Press Release, 11/9/2009)

Rep. Anna Eshoo: "Q. My employer already provides coverage for me and my family and I like my plan. Do I need to do anything differently? A. No. You just keep the coverage you have." (Press Release, as seen on 10/22/2013)

Rep. Sam Farr: "If you have job-based health insurance you like, you can keep it. You're considered covered. You may be able to change to Marketplace coverage if you prefer." (Obamacare FAQ)

Rep. John Garamendi: "Just six months after our historic health insurance reforms were signed into law, important consumer protections are going into effect.  These protections mean that never again will your insurance run out or be taken away from you when you need it the most." (Press Release, 10/20/2010)

Rep. Gene Green: "If you have job-based health insurance you like, you can keep it. In fact, with new regulations and standards, the insurance you currently have will include new consumer protections like no lifetime limits, minimum coverage standards, and limits on administrative costs." (Obamacare FAQ)

Rep. Raul Grijalva: "No one is forced to do anything. The entire premise of this legislation is to build on what works in today's system. If you have employer sponsored health care today - as do most insured people – than little to nothing will change, except that your premiums will no longer subsidize coverage for the uninsured. If you are covered in the individual insurance market, you can keep your plan permanently and it will count as acceptable coverage even if it doesn't meet those terms under the new law." (Obamacare FAQ)

Rep. Alcee Hastings: "Individuals who already have health insurance through their employers or are self-insured will keep their insurance. There is absolutely no provision within the ACA that would remove existing coverage from individuals and families. Furthermore, the law will make existing plans more secure and affordable." (Obamacare FAQ)

Rep. Mike Honda: "Under the bill, if you are covered by a large employer, you are not likely to see many changes to your healthcare coverage." (Blog Release, 4/5/2010)

Rep. Steny Hoyer: "We need to build upon the current system of employer-sponsored care, with a system that provides patients their choice of insurance coverage and their choice of doctors. In other words, if you like what you have, you should be able to keep it." (Town Hall Meeting, 4/21/2009)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur: "The goal is to try to get you into a plan that you pick, where you feel you have very carefully monitored care, that you participate in, so nobody's left out, nobody's rejected and you have choices. That sounds like a much better system than we have today for so many people. If you like what you have, you keep it…" (Press Release)

"The whole intention of the law is to relieve some of the worries that seniors face," Congresswoman Kaptur said. And, "you keep the insurance that you have if you like it." (Telephone Townhall)

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III: "If you have job-based health insurance you like, it is not necessary to change your plan. You may be able to change to Marketplace coverage if you prefer. Any job-based health plan you currently have qualifies as minimum essential coverage." (Obamacare FAQ)

Rep. Ron Kind: "In order to increase access to affordable coverage we must make sure no one is denied coverage, specifically due to pre-existing conditions.  Reform seeks to build on the existing system so that if you like your employer sponsored health insurance, you can keep it." (Press Release, 7/22/2009)

Rep. Jim Langevin: "Keep your doctor, and your current plan, if you like them." (Newsletter, 8/10/2009)

Rep. Rick Larsen: "This bill will give the power back to the American consumer. It preserves choice and creates competition in the insurance market. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you change jobs, you can keep your coverage." (Press Release, 3/21/2010)   

Rep. John Larson: "I am committed to health care reform that allows you to keep your current plan if you like it, reform that puts you and your doctor in charge of your care. The cost of inaction on health care will continue to debilitate our families, small businesses, and our nation." (Press Release, 8/24/2009)

Rep. Sander Levin: "If you like your current health plan, you will be able to keep it.  But it is clear that our nation wants us to fix what's not working by reducing costs, increasing prevention, improving quality, and covering uninsured Americans," said Rep. Levin." (Press Release, 6/9/2009)

Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham: "If you are already receiving coverage through eligible employer-sponsored insurance, eligible individual insurance, grandfathered health plans, and federal programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, VA Health Care, CHIP and others, you do not need to purchase new health insurance." (Blog Post, 11/6/2013)

Rep. Doris Matsui: "If you are insured and already have a "qualified" health insurance plan through your employer, nothing changes.  You can keep your plan.  You can keep your doctor." (Obamacare FAQ)

Rep. Jerry McNerney: "Reforming health care is a fiscally responsible course of action that will build on the best of the American system by making sure people can keep their current insurance if they like it and choose what doctors they want see." (Press Release, 3/22/2010)

Rep. George Miller: "If you get insurance through your job or have Medicare, you don't need to do anything – you can keep your insurance." (Blog Post, 9/30/2013)

Rep. Rick Nolan: "If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. And in fact, you'll get a host of other built-in new consumer protections." (ACA Resources)

Rep. Frank Palone: "Our health plan fulfills commitments made by this Congress and President Obama to reform health care. The plan … Keeping your doctor and your plan if you like them." (Press Release, 7/19/2009)

Rep. Mark Pocan: I have health insurance from my employer, and I like the plan that I have. Do I get to keep it? "You can keep the plan you have, and will enjoy many of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, including the prohibiting of insurance companies from dropping your coverage just because you got sick." (ACA FAQ)

Rep. Jared Polis: "If you are currently insured and like the plan you have, you'll likely be able to stick with your current plan." ("Obamacare Enrollment Begins Today," 10/1/2013)

Rep. David Price: "Just as in the past, if you like your doctor, you can choose to stay with your doctor." (Constituent Mailing, 7/14/2013)

Rep. Mike Quigley: "Allows you to keep your coverage and doctor if you like them." (Press Release, 8/20/2009)

Rep. John Sarbanes: "Keep your doctor, and your current plan, if you like them." (Health Care Reform E-Newsletter, 8/12/2009)

Rep. Allyson Schwartz: "If you already have health coverage you like, you can keep it." (ACA: Update)

Rep. Eric Swalwell: "If you have employer-provided health insurance, public program insurance such as Medicare, or are a veteran receiving VA health care, you are considered covered and can keep your current plan." (ACA FAQ)

Rep. Niki Tsongas: The legislation takes significant steps towards covering all Americans, while enabling anyone happy with their current plan to keep it." (Press Release, 3/21/2010)

Rep. Chris Van Hollen: "If you like your doctor and your plan, you can keep them." (Press Release, 7/14/2009)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: "Let me be clear: if you like your current plan, you'll be able to keep it. Rather, we will build on our current system, so we can give you the freedom to choose what works best for you and your family. If you like your doctor, keep your doctor. If you like your current plan, keep your current plan. If you don't, or if you don't have one, then get one that works for you." (Press Release, 7/1/2009)

Rep. Henry Waxman: "If you like your doctor and your current plan, you keep them. But we fundamentally reform the insurance company practices that are failing our families." (Press Release, 3/21/2013)

Rep. Peter Welch: "Under the legislation, individuals with insurance can keep the coverage they have now, and it will get better." (Obamacare FAQ)

Rep. John Yarmuth: "Keep your doctor, and your current plan, if you like them." (Obamacare FAQ, as seen on August 23, 2013)

[Vote: Is Obama Right to Restore Canceled Insurance Plans?]

Voting to allow people to keep the plans they have now, after millions have experienced the cancellation of their policies, is sort of like locking the barn door after the stolen cow has been ground into hamburger and served at the company picnic. The symbolism is important,  but the reality that Obamacare just won't work and is already collapsing due to its faulty design needs to hit home on Capitol Hill among Democrats (the GOP is already on board with the idea) if anything productive is to be done about it. Hopefully, reminders like this of the lies they told will shame them into doing the right thing.

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  • Corrected on : Updated 11/18/13: This post has been updated to clarify that some members' statements appeared on their official websites.