Obama Shouldn’t Be the Only One Apologizing for Misleading Statements About the ACA

During an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd, President Obama apologized to Americans who are receiving cancellation notices from their health insurance providers. I suppose it’s the grown-up thing to do or something like that, but two things here: 1) Like the tea party, Fox News and talk radio, the people who are truly pissed off at the president will continue to be pissed off irrespective of anything he says or does because he’s, you know, Barack Obama, and 2) He really didn’t have to apologize.

Additional apologies should come from the health insurance companies that are actively bilking customers to the tune of thousands upon thousands of dollars. It’s the ascendancy of Obama to the presidency and his against-his-own-advisers effort to pass comprehensive healthcare reform that’s given us a chance to have better, more affordable insurance policies, loaded with consumer protections and relatively inexpensive medical care, in spite of the nefarious deeds of the pre-ACA health insurance industry. You might not love everything this president has accomplished during his first five years — hell, you might not have voted for him in either election. But if you’re getting better health insurance, guaranteeing that you won’t go bankrupt (or anything resembling it) when you’re sick or injured, you should be thanking the president and the Democrats who made the Affordable Care Act possible — not demanding an apology.

Seriously, who are we? What kind of entitled, petulant, ignorant nonsense is this? Anyone who thinks the president should apologize for merely repeating in simplified terms something that’s actually in the law needs to seriously re-evaluate their priorities, especially if they’ve either wittingly or unwittingly danced in the “Obamacare Horror Story” disinformation conga-line.

And what about these so-called horror story victims? Media Matters‘ Justin Berrier summarized several of the cases and determined that while complaining about the president’s alleged “lie” regarding “keeping your plan if you like it,” these victims were far from honest about their own predicaments.

–Edie Sundby, who I wrote about the other day, claimed the ACA was responsible for her policy cancellation. It wasn’t. UnitedHealthcare made a business decision to get out of the individual market in order to pad its profit margin.

–On Hannity, business owners Paul and Michelle Cox said they’d have to cut back on fulltime employees because of Obamacare. That’s a lie. Eric Stern from Salon.com discovered that the couple’s business only employed four people. Four! That’s 46 employees below the 50 employee threshold for the ACA mandate. They could hire 45 more fulltime employees and still remain below the floor of the mandate.

–Also on Hannity, Allison and Curt De Nijs said their policy was canceled and their new ACA premiums would double. Another lie. Allison and Curt never even looked at the ACA premiums, which, in reality, will provide better coverage at a considerable 60 percent savings!

–Once again, Sean Hannity hosted Robbie and Tina Robinson who said their premiums would increase by upwards of 72 percent. Lie. The Robinsons will pay 63 percent less with a comparable ACA policy.

–During a segment of CBS’ This Morning, Florida resident Dianne Barette’s junk policy with its $54 monthly premium was being canceled. But she never mentioned, nor did CBS report, that her policy didn’t cover hospitalization. In other words, one serious injury or illness would’ve bankrupted Barette. On the other hand, Joshua Holland discovered that Barette could sign up for a $97 bronze plan via the ACA that covers hospitalization and much more.

–Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher debunked a CNN Newsroom report claiming that low-income residents of Wisconsin were having trouble finding affordable ACA coverage. Not mentioned in the CNN’s report was Governor Scott Walker’s refusal to expand Medicaid per the ACA, while tossing thousands out of the existing Medicaid program there. And CNN also failed to note that one of its case studies, a mother of three children, could attain a policy from Healthcare.gov for as low as $32 per month.

If the president has to apologize, there ought to be a line of people behind him prepared to ‘fess up.

For every griping, scowling guest on Hannity, making vague, specious claims about their personal horror story, there were hundreds of actual horror stories prior to the ACA — stories that can’t happen any more due to the this law. And many of the people receiving cancellation notices were paying for insurance plans that reflected what the pre-ACA landscape looked like. These are policies festooned with awfulness like lifetime and annual limits, no protections against unfair premium hikes, punitively high deductibles and no protections from arbitrary cancellations due to typographical errors and the like.

Not unlike our contradictory incumbent problem whereby too many voters bitch and howl about politicians and then turn around and re-elect the same gang of doofs every two years, these people, who are paying through the nose for junk policies, are desperately clinging to their crapola insurance like comfy but totally useless security blankets.

Bob Cesca is the managing editor for The Daily Banter, the editor of BobCesca.com, the host of the Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and a Huffington Post contributor.

Bob Cesca is the host of the Bob Cesca Show podcast, a twice weekly political talk show. He’s also a contributor to Salon.com. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.