Obama does Sgt. Schultz

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on July 21, 2009

The classic TV show “Hogan’s Heroes” featured a stocky Sgt. Schultz who could be counted on at least once an episode to unequivocally state: “I know nothing. Nooothinnngg!”

In a conference call with liberal bloggers this morning, Obama revealed that he’s “not familiar” with the House version of the health care reform bill he’s been urging Congress to pass post haste.

During the call, a blogger from Maine said he kept running into an Investors Business Daily article that claimed Section 102 of the House health legislation would outlaw private insurance. He asked: “Is this true? Will people be able to keep their insurance and will insurers be able to write new policies even though H.R. 3200 is passed?” President Obama replied: “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.” (quote begins at 17:10)

This is a truly disturbing admission by the President, especially considering that later in the call, Obama promises yet again: “If you have health insurance, and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period.” How can Obama keep making this promise if he is not familiar with the health legislation that is being written in Congress? Details matter.

It would be one thing if this were some conservative blogger picking out an obscure section of the 1,000-page-plus bill. But this is a provision that’s been featured on the editorial page of an influential newspaper and a number of conservative Web sites.

If this bill is as important as Obama believes it to be – and he’s scheduled a prime time news conference for the subject Wednesday night – then what’s he been spending his time doing if it isn’t getting into the weeds on what is in these bills and whether or not the language in the bills matches the claims he’s been making about them.

We are familiar with the passage IBD sites, and as we wrote last week, the House bill does not outright outlaw private individual health insurance, but it does effectively regulate it out of existence. The House bill does allow private insurance to be sold, but only “Exchange-participating health benefits plans.” In order to qualify as an “Exchange-participating health benefits plan,” all health insurance plans must conform to a slew of new regulations, including community rating and guaranteed issue. These will all send the cost of private individual health insurance skyrocketing. Furthermore, all these new regulations would not apply just to individual insurance plans, but to all insurance plans. So the House bill will also drive up the cost of your existing employer coverage as well. Until, of course, it becomes so expensive that your company makes the perfectly economical decision to dump you into the government plan.

Will Obama get grilled on this tomorrow night? Maybe if he calls on ABC News’ Jake Tapper.


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July 2009



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