Obama’s Health Care Bait and Switch

By David Catron
The American Spectator

During the first nine months of his Presidency, Barack Obama has accomplished the seemingly impossible: he has proven that a politician can be even less trustworthy than Bill Clinton. The broken promises of the latter were relatively conventional by Democrat standards. Clinton ran on a middle class tax cut, for example, and promptly raised taxes. Dishonest, of course, but not terribly surprising. Obama’s policy pirouettes, however, have taken us to an entirely new level of presidential perfidy. The man has reversed himself on virtually every position he espoused during last year’s campaign. And nowhere have these reversals been more brazen than in the case of health care. On a host of reform issues, including insurance mandates, taxing health benefits and patient choice, Obama has demonstrated that his campaign rhetoric was utterly disingenuous.

One of the president’s most egregious betrayals of voter trust involves the so-called “individual mandate,” a proposed federal statute that would require every American to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. During last year’s primary campaign, Obama fervently proclaimed his opposition to such a measure, saying it was unfair to penalize people for failing to buy insurance. Moreover, he repeatedly attacked Hillary Clinton for favoring such a mandate. His standard line during the Democrat debates was, “the reason people don’t have health insurance isn’t because they don’t want it, it’s because they can’t afford it.” Typically, he would go on to say that an individual mandate wouldn’t work anyway, noting that many drivers fail to buy auto insurance despite state laws requiring everyone to do so.

The Stephanopoulos interview, in addition to highlighting the president’s pirouette on mandates, also revealed that Obama adheres to a highly nuanced definition of “taxation.” Although an insurance mandate would allow the federal government to forcibly extract hard-earned money from the wallets of voters, he categorically denies it is a tax. The president no doubt relies on his finely-tuned capacity for nuance to provide the moral justification for another of his breaches of faith with the voters — his newfound willingness to consider taxing health care benefits. He famously denounced John McCain for a similar proposal during last year’s presidential election. Indeed, he ran a series of campaign ads accusing the hapless McCain of wanting to tax health care “instead of fixing it.” Nonetheless, with Olympic-class chutzpah, Obama now declares himself open to “taxing employer-sponsored health benefits.”…

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