Our View: Obama’s ‘apology’ — Blaming insurance companies

Posted: November 10, 2013

In an interview with NBC news on Thursday, President Obama attempted to apologize to the millions of Americans who are losing their health insurance as a result of Obamacare.

Writing for The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin referred to his words as “an unusual act of contrition for a president who has come under heavy criticism for misleading the public.”

Contrition? We aren’t sure this President knows the true meaning of that word. After years of parading around the country telling Americans that “if you like your plan you can keep it”, empty words aren’t likely to resonate with those affected by this debacle. Here are the president’s words:

“I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me. We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we are going to everything that we can to deal with folks that find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

Two obvious questions present themselves. First, why did this president choose Obama-centric NBC to offer this apology, rather than a press conference, where the temperature in the room surely would have been higher? The answer is in the question. Mr. Obama wasn’t up for the heat. The White House press corps may love Mr. Obama, but it likely would have been a little tougher than NBC’s interlocutor, the liberal Chuck Todd. He just had to toss out the idea that Mr. Obama “didn’t intentionally [lie]” in telling Americans they could keep their insurance policies. That, of course, is contrary to his own network’s reporting.

And next: What, exactly, is the administration going to do? How will it rectify the situation that millions of soon to be uninsured Americans find themselves in? How will it put that genie back in the bottle? Perhaps more government involvement to fix it?

One of the new talking points for The White House refers to many of the cancelled plans as “subpar,” which somehow is supposed to justify the Obamacare regulations that are forcing millions of individuals to now buy more expensive plans than they want or need. Another term we heard, this one directly from Mr. Obama in clearly attempting to fob off blame for his debacle onto someone else, was this: “bad apple insurance companies.” Yes, this entire mess is the fault of the insurance industry.

Let’s make the salient point this discussion again. Millions of these consumers had plans that met their needs. But we have a president who thinks that the government should be telling the American people what they need. That should come as no surprise to anyone after the last five years of the Obama administration. More government is the first line of defense in all cases. We’ll tell you what type of insurance coverage you need to have and then act shocked if it costs more because we loaded up on the minimum requirements.

And of course, the cancellations are the fault of the evil insurance companies, a tired mantra spewed by White House spokesman Jay Carney and others, including the president. But, as the Post noted, insurance officials told the administration “that the way the regulations were written after the law’s passage gave them little choice but to issue the cancellations.” In other words, no one listened. Neither Mr. Obama nor the political subalterns who stoked the boilers on this train before it jumped the tracks and wrecked, paid a bit of attention to what the experts told them. So much for what we have been told is the cosmic genius at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Earlier in the week, the president had reportedly met with more than a dozen Democratic Senators who face reelection in 2014. No doubt the daily dose of disaster that has been the Obamacare rollout was topic No. 1. We are not given to know if the President’s veiled mea culpa on Thursday was a direct result of this meeting, but we expect that many in the Democratic Party are starting to get more than a little nervous about how this will play out with the electorate in less than one year.

But, who knows? Maybe the website will at least be working by then.