As the first wave of Americans are discovering that they can't keep heath insurance plans they like, the impression that President Obama lied to them is seeping into public awareness. Analysts predict that as many as 90 million will ultimately be forced off their current plans.
A desperate Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney strove to deflect the impression that Obama lied about the impact the Affordable Care Act would have on policyholders. “The President didn't lie to anyone in any meaningful sense,” Carney insisted. “While it's true that a few who were satisfied with inferior plans will now be required to select new conforming plans, they need to realize that this is for their own good.”
Carney likened President Obama's assurances to those that a parent gives a child. “There are times when a father or mother will offer to let a child choose a toy,” Carney said. “However, the parent reserves the right to veto the child's choice if it would result in the purchase of a defective or dangerous product. All the Affordable Care Act is doing is vetoing the selection of defective and dangerous insurance policies.”
One of the “defects” of the policies that many would like to keep is the failure to provide mandated coverages like maternity benefits. As Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius explained to an incredulous Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC), “just because a man is single doesn't mean he can't father a child, in which case he'll be glad he has maternity coverage.”
After an off-microphone whispered conversation with a member of her staff, Sebelius revised her statement. “I am told that the example I just gave is incorrect, that the pregnant woman's insurance would cover maternity costs,” Sebelius admitted. “But, since the Affordable Care Act covers sex-change surgery a person that starts out as a single man could become a woman and then benefit from maternity coverage.”
A second whispered consultation produced yet another revised statement. “My staff tells me it is not possible for a male undergoing a sex-change operation to become a mother,” Sebelius said. “Well, we are going to look into that and see if the Act can be amended to overcome this limitation. The President is committed to making this law work and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
In related news, new research by scientists at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (MRC CBSU) and the University of Cambridge has shown that some patients declared to be in an irreversible vegetative state are actually more aware of their surroundings than thought. Whether this would change the currently approve protocol of removing life support from such patients “would be a matter for the Independent Payment Advisory Board to make,” said Sebelius. “We don't have an unlimited amount of money to work with. If keeping these patients alive means we'd have to cut back on the number of abortions we can fund, well, that would be a decision for the Board to make. The needs of the few shouldn't be allowed to trample the needs of the many.”
Democrats Fear Obamacare Election Disaster
The problems with the Obamacare website, the waves of policy cancellations, and the ensuing “sticker shock” of higher insurance premiums for conforming Affordable Care Act plans has Democrats facing reelection in 2014 in a state of high anxiety.
“I'm seeing a lot of sympathy for the poor schmucks that can't log onto the website or are getting cancellation notices,” Senator Al Franken (D-Minn) observed. “I don't see anyone showing much concern about how this will affect us next November. I didn't muck up the website. I didn't send out any cancellation notices. But it looks like voters could take out their anger on me. How is that fair?”
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was similarly concerned. “We trusted the President and Secretary Sebelius to do this thing right,” Shaheen remembered. “We didn't poke or pry into the process. We didn't even read the bill before we passed it. We had total faith they'd handle it. Now that everything is falling apart the President is saying that no one told him it was a mess. That may be well and good for him, but we're the ones exposed to voter retaliation next year. What's he going to do about that?”
Investment guru and Obama supporter Warren Buffett advised the President to “blow the whole thing up and start over. With a reported 500 million lines of code behind the website there's no way to rescue this monster. The President has already used his discretion to exempt employers and unions from complying with the new regulations. He should just exempt everyone else until a completely new system is developed and tested.”
Whether Buffett's suggestion is feasible is dubious. On the one hand, the exemptions the President has been handing out conflict with the contents of the Affordable Care Act and are clearly illegal. On the other hand, issuing more exemptions will still leave the damage already done by the law unaffected. Since Obama seems determined to impose his vision of health care on largely unwilling consumers, any so-called new system that meets with his approval would inevitably repeat the errors that plague the current fiasco.
Purge of Military Is Commander-in-Chief's Prerogative, Says Hagel
So far this year President Obama has removed nine “flag officers” from their posts. Three of these firings are linked to last year's attack on the US Consular facility in Benghazi.
US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel defended the moves as “the prerogative of the nation's Commander-in-Chief. The President must have men he can trust to carry out his orders.”
U.S. Army General Carter Ham, who commanded U.S. African Command when the consulate was attacked, lost President Obama's trust when he contradicted his assertion that no forces were available to rescue Ambassador Stevens. Ham contends that reinforcements could have been sent in time.
Similarly dismissed was Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette, commander of the Mediterranean Carrier Strike Group, for saying that aircraft could've been sent to aid those under fire from the terrorists assaulting the facility.
Hagel emphasized that “whether or not these officers' assessment of the situation was correct is not the point. Their open disagreement with their commanding officer is. President Obama needs to feel secure in the knowledge that the officers under his command have his back. By contradicting the official story on Benghazi these men left the President vulnerable to attack from his enemies in Congress and the media. Disloyalty of this magnitude is a dereliction of duty that we cannot, in good conscience, let slide.”
In related news, James Clapper, the retired lieutenant general now serving as the Obama Administration's Director of National Intelligence made a bid to join the ranks of purged military men when he challenged President Obama's plea of ignorance about the National Security Agency’s overseas eavesdropping on phone calls made by various European heads of state.
“In the first place, anyone with any brains has got to know that all governments spy on other governments—friend and foe, alike,” Clapper said. “On top of this, President Obama was explicitly informed of these activities on numerous occasions. The NSA isn't some rogue entity carrying out nefarious actions on its own. Everything we do is at the direction of the President.”
Administration Warned of Benghazi Attack in Advance
CBS News reports that the Obama Administration was warned before al-Qaeda attacked the Consulate in Benghazi. Al-Qaeda had posted its three top targets in Libya on its website. These targets were the Red Cross, the British, and then the Americans in Benghazi.
By July of 2012 the first two targets had already been hit. In the summer of 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, one of the top American security officials in Libya, warned both Ambassador Stevens and the State Department that Benghazi would be next.
The CBS revelations were dismissed as “Monday morning quarterbacking” by Secretary of State John Kerry. “Look, FDR was also warned that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor before they did,” Kerry pointed out. “But without a complete report on the day, time, and magnitude of the assault he felt there was little he could do to prepare. Yet, do we blame him today? No, he's the hero of World War II who brought home victory. There's still time for President Obama to be a hero. It would be premature to focus on who's to blame for an attack on Benghazi that cost a us lot fewer casualties than Pearl Harbor did in 1941.”
In related news, the State Department rejected Senator Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) demand that more of its employees be allowed to testify on the Benghazi attack. Department spokesperson Jen Psaki contends that “everyone is too busy to testify. The crucial work of State cannot be deferred while Congress goes on some witch hunt. The needs of the present surely outweigh the desire to revisit the past. I would've thought that former Secretary Clinton has already made it quite clear that anything Congress might discover now would make no difference at this late date.”
Actor Advises President to Commit Ted Cruz
Left-wing actor Sean Penn urged President Obama to “use his executive authority to have Senator Cruz committed to a mental hospital. Obviously, the man is not happy. Our Constitution guarantees a person's right to happiness. I believe that Cruz would truly be happier if he were confined and medicated. I know I would.”
“Since he won't go of his own free will it falls on the President to take action to protect the Senator's happiness by compelling him to enter treatment for his own good,” Penn argued. “The highest obligation of a ruler is the happiness of his people. Going outside the boundaries other say confine his powers is the kind of courage we have come to respect from Obama.”