(PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE) — Hundreds of thousands of health insurance cancellation notices have gone out to Americans, and with each one President Barack Obama's credibility has eroded further. Republicans determined to undermine what they call Obamacare have seized upon the moment with grim relish. They say the president is a liar.
But how fair is this to the president? And what does it really say about the Affordable Care Act?
First of all, this is a problem of the president's own making. He did repeatedly say that if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it. He was three words short of the truth. All he had to add was "in most cases."
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It's unlikely that this extra frankness would have hurt the political effort to sell the legislation. People understand that not everybody can be left unaffected by such a sweeping change, and Mr. Obama should have been careful not to embellish the assurance.
Was it a lie? He should have known the facts. By definition, a lie is a deliberate misstating of the truth; it is not simply something that was wrongly stated with good intentions, in this case perhaps, to make the complicated simple for public consumption. Those who believe the worst of this president will conclude that he lied; those who do not will be more charitable.