By The Way – Obama Was Wrong About Insurance Premiums

I linked to the ABC fact check, in an earlier thread – but did any of you click on it? Huh? I didn’t think so…

Times Online thought that this exchange between Obama and Lamar Alexander went badly for Alexander:

…Alexander made the fatal mistake of claiming that even Congressional Budget Office thought Obama’s healthcare reform plan would result in more expensive health insurance premiums.

Quite the opposite, interjected Obama, suddenly in his legal scholar element: the Budget Office said that premiums would fall, which would then inspire middle class families to purchase better, more expensive insurance policies. “This is an example of where we’ve got to get our facts straight,” he chided, in the tone you might use while encouraging a toddler to eat all his peas.

Alexander attempted a flustered response, before declaring that he would like to submit his rebuttal in writing at a later date, instead of “arguing in public”. Obama, now sounding like the leader that has been mostly absent from the White House for the past year, declined the offer. “I’d like to get this issue resolved before we leave today, because I don’t believe I’m wrong,” he said.

For the Democrats, it was a long overdue moment of victory.

Not so fast, according to the fact check:

Who is right?

Well, the CBO analysis does say, flatly, that “the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law.”

Why are premiums going up?  CBO cites the combination of three factors:

  1. Premiums would be 27-30% higher because coverage would be better. The law, for example, requires that all policies cover maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health & substance abuse and no denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  2. Premiums would be 7 to 10 percent lower b/c of changes to the way the individual market is structured.
  3. Premiums would be 7 to 10 percent lower b/c of an influx of more people, many of them healthy, into the insurance market.

The net effect of those three factors: Premiums would be 10 to 13 percent higher for the average policyholders.

President Obama’s claim of premium reductions of “14 to 20 percent” comes from adding factors two and three. The problem: You can’t ignore factor one. That’s why CBO’s conclusion is that, on average, people in the individual market would see their premiums go up 10 to 13 percent. You can keep your old, less generous plan, but only until 2018.

But it doesn’t end there.

The bill also includes generous subsidies for families with incomes under $88,000.  Those who get taxpayer subsidies would see their out-of-pocket premium cost reduced by “roughly 56 to 59 percent.”  And 57 percent of those in the individual market would be eligible for subsidies.

What more: “CBO says its estimates include “a substantial degree of uncertainly.” Not even the wizards at CBO can say for certain what will happen to your premiums”. But we can safely guess that their estimates are going to be lower than the eventual reality.

So the Dems have a “moment of victory” because Obama is able to lie unflinchingly? I guess congratulations are in order. He sure fooled Times Online.

MORE fact checks at the GOP  blog.


More Videos From The Health Care Summit: Issues vs Tissues

The Democrats today spent at least half of their time recounting health care sob stories, an ineffective ploy in my estimation, since everyone agrees that the system needs reform.  Red State’s Caleb Howe summed it up on Twitter: Republicans come to summit with issues, Democrats with tissues.

I’m baffled as to why the Democrats chose this woman to argue for their side, but they did. Here’s Rep Louise Slaughter (D-NY), sharing a tale of woe allegedly from one of her toothless constituents:

Rep Paul Ryan (R-MI)was solid in his dissertation about the difference in in Repub/Dem philosophies. Yes, there are differences. No we are not close to agreeing on this bill:

It seems to me that the Republicans did a better job choosing their Reps for this Kabuki show.


See Vodkapundit for Obama’s reaction to Ryan’s words: Obama’s Death Stare

Hat tip: Pundette for Ryan video.


Video: Fireworks Between McCain and Obama During Health Care Summit

After McCain spends time complaining about the process, a petulant Obama alludes to “talking points” (everything Repubs say is a “talking point”), and tells him “We’re not campaigning anymore – the election is over”… Obama comes in at 4:30:


Jim Geraghty writes at The Campaign Spot:

I’m sure Obama wanted to paint McCain as bitter about his defeat, but in a way, it just underlines one of my favorite points about Obama: Everything he says sooner or later reaches its expiration date and gets forgotten when it becomes inconvenient.

His response really didn’t have anything substantive about McCain’s legitimate complaints about the process; he just said that he wanted to move on to the policy.

What else can he say?

He’s reduced to refuting  Republican points by calling them “talking points”, “stagecraft”, “props”, “campaigning”.  Alinsky would be proud.

Ace says:

Pretty good moment. After mentioning the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker Kickback, McCain noted, to Obama’s grimacing face, the deal with Phrma, in which Phrma agreed to cut costs $80 billion and run $150 million in ads supporting ObamaCare in exchange for an agreement to limit competition on prices in Medicare and opposition to drug re-importation from Canada.

Obama’s answer? “We’re not in campaign mode anymore.”

He doesn’t answer the charges. He just claims that to talk about how corrupt the process is would be unhelpful.

Unhelpful for him, he means.

True. And McCain was way too gracious about it.

Click on the link to see Gabe’s list of rules, Obama has enacted for the Republicans.


Mike at Cold Fury is a little peeved…Arrogant, obnoxious swine: STRONG MESSAGE FOLLOWS


Live Blogging The “Blair House Project”

The Obama Health Care Summit, or as Congressman Pete Sessions called it yesterday, “The Blair House Project” has just begun.

Chris Dodd set the tone for the meeting, yesterday, making this charming quote at a rally: “Tomorrow we’ll have that meeting …. But far more important after that meeting, you can either join us or get out of the way”

…Obama starts off by magnanimously ceding that Republicans care about health care, too. Big of him. Wants to focus, today on areas where both sides agree. Sounds nice, but my greatest fear is that he throws the Republicans a bone here and there, making small but negligible changes in the plan that do not in any serious way improve the plan, but the Republicans are tricked into going along.

…”We all know that this is urgent,” he said. Of course.

…Lamar Alexander went overtime in his comments- clearly the Repubs are not taking the advice Dennis Miller offered, yesterday during his Miller Time segment on The O’Reilly Factor. He suggested that the Repubs keep it short and sweet. Let the Dems be the long winded ones.

…San Fran Nan doesn’t disappoint with sob story after sob story. Is this what the summit was supposed to be about? Invokes Ted Kennedy’s “Health care is a right, not a privilege” quote. Of course. We’ll probably hear that one again. Claims: “This bill creates 4 million jobs.”  Please!

…Dingy starts right in with the sob stories. Dude.

…Ugh!!! Reid utilizes the Dems’ favorite overused tropes: “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts”…and “Facts are stubbern things..”

…”If you have a better plan for fixing health care ,let’s hear it”. Dude!

…Matthew Continetti at The Weekly Standard also found Reid’s hyper-partisan approach to be a bit much, and corrects him on his “stubbern facts”: HCR Summit: When Harry Reid Attacks I can’t believe this man is the leader of the Senate.

…Dem theme of the day seems to be: we’re not that far apart…we already have the things the Repubs want in our bill…

…Ha: Michelle:

11:47am Eastern. McConnell notes that Dems have had 52 minutes. GOP has had 24. Obama snips: “There was an imbalance in the opening statements because I am the president.” In other words: I WON.

Obama remedies the partisan time imbalance by…launching into another long-winded insurance anecdote. HE WON.

I’ve also noticed that he likes to cut the Republicans off when they start making too many good points: “We’ve addressed that….”, or we’re going to address deficits later...”

…Fireworks while I was in the shower between Obama and McCain:

Michelle again:

12:32pm Eastern. McCain talks about backroom deals. Irritable Obama snaps: “We’re not campaigning anymore.” (McCain: “I’m reminded of that every day.”) O flips papers. Jeers at GOP “talking points.” Gives the ball to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Will have a video up, soon.

The morning session minute counts:

Obama 58 minutes

Republicans: 56 minutes

Democrats 50.

Obama says he doesn’t count ’cause he’s the Prez.

Yuval Levin at The Corner thinks the Repubs are skunking the Dems:

…an important part of the Democrats’ problem is that Obama himself is their only star, and this format is not working for him. He certainly seems engaged and well informed (even given a few misstatements of fact, at least one of which John Kyl made very clear.) But he doesn’t seem like the President of the United States—more like a slightly cranky committee chairman or a patronizing professor who thinks that saying something is “a legitimate argument” is a way to avoid having an argument. He is diminished by the circumstances, he’s cranky and prickly when challenged, and he’s got no one to help him. The other Democrats around the table have been worse than unimpressive. The Republicans seem genuinely well-prepared, seem to have thought through the question of who should speak about what rather carefully, and several of them have done quite a good job making their case against the Democrats’ approach. If we were to judge by debating points, Republicans certainly won the morning handily.

I agree.

…ABC News factchecks the exchange between Obama and Alexander about insurance premiums: Health Care Summit Fact Check: Will Premiums Go Up?

Guess which one was not telling the truth.

Related reading:

A live blog of the proceedings, featuring Newt Gingrich, here.

You can also follow this Twitter feed:#thfsummit

Also live blogging: Michelle Malkin: Blowhard-a-thon at Blair House: Health care summit open thread

Hot Air: Open thread: Obama health-care summit; Update: Video link added

House Leader Boehner has a good op-ed today: Who’s Listening to the American People?

Politico: W.H. punts on key cost-saving move

The Chicago Trib: Price controls? Obama is offering Republicans something they don’t want.

The Detroit News: Editorial: Obama’s compromise health care proposal looks too much like the old plan

The Hill: Poll: Most Americans think Congress should start over on healthcare

The Foundry: The President’s Health Summit Proposal: Rhetoric vs Reality

The Delaware News Journal: Biden signals willingness to compromise on health

“This could end up not being good,” Biden said in an exclusive interview with The News Journal.

The Heritage Foundation: Fix health care policy

Philip Klein, The American Spectator: At Summit, Sen. Alexander Calls on Obama, Dems to Renounce Reconciliation

Ace: Cantor: The Bill’s Dead


Video: Senator Inhofe Calls For Climate-Change Hoax Investigation – Starting With Al Gore

Senator James Inhofe has asked the Obama administration to investigate what he calls “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation”: Climategate, and the subsequent admissions by the editors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

He is calling for Al Gore to be called back to the Senate to testify:

“In [Gore’s] science fiction movie, every assertion has been rebutted,” Inhofe said. He believes Vice President Gore should defend himself and his movie before Congress.

Just prior to a hearing at 10:00 a.m. EST, Senator Inhofe released a minority staff report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which he is ranking member. Senator Inhofe is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or criminal actions by the scientists involved, including Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

He appeared on The Neil Cavuto Show, yesterday to address these issues, and proposed that he be stripped of the Nobel Peace Prize: