Though ideologically, I have often disagreed with him, there was a time when I thought Lamar Alexander was a statesman, but it seems that in his desire to assume a leadership position in the Senate and his party’s hierarchy, he has sold his soul to the devil and become just another political hack.
Yesterday, in his opening statement at the White House health policy conference he declared, "for millions of Americans, premiums will go up" under the Obama plan. He knows, as well as anyone, that a half-truth is not only deceitful, it is a lie.
He knew when he composed his opening statement and when he opened his mouth and uttered it that it was intentionally misleading. He knew that though the premiums for millions of Americans may go up, for millions of others, premiums will go down and for those who may face higher costs they will be receiving better coverage than they do now.
Not once did he veer from his party’s hostile and obstructionist script. And, he delivered the talking-points of that script with passion and without shame.
Fortunately, President Obama did not allow the false claims of Lamar and his “loyal opposition” to go unchallenged. The President quickly and sharply disputed Alexander’s assertion, quoting from the Congressional Budget Office’s report, the President insisted that the facts were on his side:
Lamar . . . that's just not the case, according to the Congressional Budget Office . . . it's not factually accurate . . . Here's what the Congressional Budget Office says: The costs for families for the same type of coverage that they're currently receiving would go down 14 percent to 20 percent. What the Congressional Budget Office says is that because now they've got a better deal, because policies are cheaper, they may choose to buy better coverage than they have right now, and that might be 10 percent to 13 percent more expensive than the bad insurance that they had previously.Giving a much fairer and accurate summary of what the CBO analysis found, the President offered important context that Senator Alexander had intentionally left out.
Though the analysis estimated that average premiums for people buying insurance individually may be higher in 2016 under the Senate bill, as Alexander had claimed, their individual policies would actually cover more, while over half the people would be receiving substantial government subsidies to defray the additional costs.
As the President pointed out, even without subsidies, the policies offered today, if offered in 2016, would be considerably less expensive under the Senate plan because many more healthy young people would be signing up for the coverage because insurance would become mandatory, moderating costs for all of us.
Though the Senate bill sets minimum levels of coverage, requiring some people to pay for better insurance than they have now, the CBO analysis anticipated that nearly 60 percent of the people covered under individual policies would qualify for subsidies, bringing their own costs down by more than half from what they pay now.
As Representative Anthony Weiner said yesterday on the House floor, “Make no mistake about it, every single Republican I have every met in my entire life is a wholly own subsidiary of the Insurance Industry!”
Even Lamar Alexander!
"You are entitled to your opinion, but not your own facts"