If you like it, you can keep it

Updated: Friday, November 15, 2013
If you like it, you can keep it story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A quiet piece of legislation from a West Michigan Congressman turned Washington on its head Thursday in the ongoing debate over the Affordable Care Act.

Congressman Fred Upton's bill to hold President Barack Obama to his promise that "if you like your health care you can keep your health care," instead inspired the President today to do in a more casual way what Upton wanted to make him do by law.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it's not much of a fix.

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A politician woke up to find himself at the pearly gates, face to face with a panel of robed figures at a large table studying a set of books.

He waited until they looked up and said to him, "you've got an amazing record here. From what we can tell...just about everything you've said over the past 20 years has been a lie."

The politician smiled, looked at them with confidence, and said, "those weren't lies...that's what we call 'spin.'"

The joke doesn't inspire much of a laugh because its rooted so firmly in what we now see as a sad reality.

So when President Obama on at least 12 occasions said, "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period," you have no reason to disbelieve him, until you learn that it wasn't true.

Just not true. Millions of policy holders have been told they've been or are about to be canceled.

When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted today that five-million people have signed up for Obamacare, you have no reason to disbelieve her until you find that its not true.

Only 126,000 have done so, and only a fifth of them through the Obamacare website.

And when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the overseer of this disastrous, trust-destroying roll-out, said yesterday that the healthcare marketplace "is working," you have no reason to disbelieve her until...well...you get it.

So when Congressman Upton filed what he calls the "Keep Your Health Care Act," still scheduled for a vote in the House tomorrow, it struck fear into the heart of the Obama administration.

Because there's no spin.

This quiet little bill, forcing the President by law to keep his promise, has the potential to do what 42 Congressional efforts have so far failed to do—to knock the Obamacare train right off its tracks.

All it wants is to help the millions who don't know what to do now for replacement coverage. In the process it would provide people with an escape from Obamacare. And simply put, if people can escape Obamacare, the plan will ultimately not work.

How insurance companies reverse that they've already done isn't clear.

But that's why Obama held his news conference today—to say he was going to fix the problem administratively.

That the Upton bill wasn't necessary. The problem is an "administrative adjustment" has no force of law. It was also, by the way, an effort by the President to take the heat off a growing number of democrats who are distancing themselves from the whole mess.

In the words of former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, as reported in the Washington Post today..."It offends that a politician would lie to me when he knows that I know that he's lying—because it makes me think that he thinks that I'm a fool."

For me, personally, this debacle is particularly tragic because I believe so strongly that our nation needs a national health care plan. I've got my fingers crossed. But I'm not holding by breath.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on August 28, 2015 17:24 GMT

FED-RATES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer says that incoming economic data and market developments will likely determine whether the Fed boosts interest rates in September.

Fischer says that before the recent turbulence in financial markets, there was a "pretty strong case" for starting to hike rates in September. But he adds that the Fed is watching how events unfold following the surprise announcement by the Chinese that they plan to devalue their currency.

Fischer says that central bank officials have not made a decision yet on whether to raise rates but would be closely following data such as next week's jobs report and market moves before the Sept. 16-17 meeting.

Fischer said the plan is still to move rates up very slowly and gradually.

CONSUMER SPENDING

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumers increased their spending by a moderate amount in July, while income growth was propelled by the largest jump in wages and salaries in eight months.

The Commerce Department says spending rose 0.3 percent in July, helped by a big jump in purchases of big-ticket items such as cars. June's result was revised up to a matching 0.3 percent gain.

Incomes increased 0.4 percent. The key category of wages and salaries rose 0.5 percent, the biggest advance since last November.

The report indicates that consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, got off to a good start in the third quarter. Economists believe the economy will be fueled in the second half of this year by solid income and spending gains.

CONSUMER SENTIMENT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Plummeting stock prices have taken a toll on U.S. consumer confidence, though there are signs the setback may be temporary.

The University of Michigan says its consumer sentiment index fell to 91.9 this month from 93.1 in July. The index is still up 11.4 percent from a year ago.

The figures provide an early read of the impact on consumers from the 1,900 point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average over six days through Tuesday. Stock prices have since recovered some of those losses.

The University of Michigan surveys consumers throughout the month and so some of the responses were tallied as the stock market plunged.

Even so, the survey also found that Americans remain confident about the U.S. economy and their personal finances.

FACEBOOK-ONE BILLION A DAY

NEW YORK (AP) -- You, your mom, your grandma and elementary school buddy Lawrence might have been some of the billion people who logged in to Facebook on Monday -- the first time that has happened in a single day. That's right, one billion people, or one-seventh of the Earth's population.

It was a big symbolic milestone for the world's biggest online social network, which boasts nearly 1.5 billion users who log in at least once a month. CEO Mark Zuckerberg marked the occasion with a Facebook post.

Most of the billion people who logged in on Monday were outside the U.S. and Canada. Of Facebook's overall users, more than 83 percent come from other countries. This is also where Facebook's next billions of users will likely come from as it grows.

CHEATING WEBSITE-CEO

NEW YORK (AP) -- The CEO of adultery website Ashley Madison is stepping down in the wake of the massive breach of the company's computer systems and outing of millions of its members.

Avid Life Media Inc., Ashley Madison's parent company, says Noel Biderman's departure was a mutual decision and in the best interest of the company.

Hackers originally breached Avid Life's systems in July and then posted the information online a month later after the company didn't comply with their demands to shut down.

Ashley Madison, whose slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair," purports to have nearly 40 million members.

GOP 2016-TRUMP-TAXES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is promising to offer a plan within a month to overhaul the tax system, calling himself "king of the tax code."

He's been hinting at such a plan recently, saying that wealthy Americans should pay more.

In a phone-in interview Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show, Trump says, "I know the hedge fund guys. ... These guys don't really build anything. They shuffle papers back and forth."

Trump says he'll unveil a plan to simplify the tax code and eliminate some deductions, asserting "nobody knows the tax code better than I do."

Trump says hedge fund managers are big supporters of Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and GOP rival Jeb Bush and adds, "I will have a plan."

He says hedge fund managers won't be happy.

PENTAGON-TECHNOLOGY

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter is announcing that the Pentagon will fund a new venture to develop cutting-edge electronics and sensors that can flex and stretch and could be built into clothing or the skins of ships and aircraft.

The high-tech investment could lead to wearable health monitors that could be built into military uniforms or used to assist the elderly. Or it could foster thin, bendable sensors that could be tucked into cracks or crevices on weapons, ships or bridges where bulky wiring could never fit. The sensors could telegraph structural problems or trigger repair alerts.

Carter plans to lay out the details for the newly created high-tech innovation institute in a speech Friday in California's Silicon Valley.

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