Adrienne BoettingerThursday,31 October 2013

The Snap

Read my lips: no new taxes.” “Mission Accomplished.” “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.” You’d think at some point politicians would realize they should never ever speak in absolutes. In fact, all people everywhere should refrain from speaking in absolutes. President Obama is an intelligent man but he didn’t think things through when he “promised” people could keep their health care plans after the Affordable Care Act took effect.

The Download

It’s not that politicians intend to break promises they make before or after they’re elected (in fact, most presidents keep the majority of their campaign promises or at least the spirit of those promises). It’s that they fail to remember they aren’t the sole decider in how most of this crap will play out. They can’t unilaterally defeat an enemy in battle, close a controversial detention facility, ensure the perpetuity of social security or refuse to raise taxes. Presidents forget there’s this little thing called Congress that can trip them up, and individual Congresspersons and whole political parties forget they can’t pass or defeat a bill all by their lonesome.

The President can’t control whether insurers continue offering a particular plan and he shouldn’t have painted himself into this corner. Individual health care plans are bought on an annual basis and change frequently. You don’t get to buy a plan one year and have it stay exactly the same for the rest of your life…unless you live in the rest of the developed world where health care is a right and not a privilege and even then, things change.

It stands to reason that if insurers didn’t meet the requirements set forth in the Affordable Care Act and refused to make the necessary changes over the 3.5 years since the bill’s passage into law, something had to give. If you were listening all those years ago, intelligent wonks and reasonably responsible journalists were pointing this out, saying that there was no way the President could keep a promise that every single person in the country who liked their health care plan would get to keep it forever and ever, amen.

So instead of pinning our hopes and dreams to specific promises politicians have no chance of fulfilling verbatim, I wish our elected officials would promise to listen to their constituents and each other more than they keep their own pieholes open. I wish they’d promise to remember that these jobs we’ve given them are not theirs in perpetuity; they are paving the way for those that come after them and as such should take good care of this government and its people for the time they are honored to have this awesome responsibility. And I wish I was independently wealthy and dating at least one of my celebrity pretend boyfriends (Vince Vaughn: call me).  It may seem unrelated but wishes always seem to come in threes so I’ll use two on good governance and 1.5 on me.

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Hat Tips:

TimeThe AtlanticSlatePolitifactWashington PostMarketplaceNPR, Image Credit: Flickr


  1. […] Oh, Mr. President, this hurts me more than it hurts you. With the Affordable Care Act, you’ve hand-delivered […]

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