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.

=====================

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 October 01, 2014 07:31 GMT

EBOLA TREATMENTS-MOVER

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of companies that are studying potential vaccines for Ebola have been climbing in aftermarket trading after federal officials announced that the first case of the disease has been diagnosed in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a patient being treated at a hospital in Dallas tested positive for the disease.

Ebola is believed to have sickened more than 6,500 people in West Africa, and more than 3,000 people have died. Symptoms can start as much as 21 days after exposure, and the disease isn't contagious until symptoms begin. It takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread the disease.

The World Health Organization has worked to speed up the use of some experimental vaccines and companies are ramping up testing.

OBAMA-ECONOMY

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will deliver an economic address this week seeking to promote the recovery as the campaign season heads into its final weeks before midterm congressional elections.

Obama plans to deliver a speech tomorrow at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois, drawing attention to economic advances since he took office. The White House says he will also press for additional steps that the government can undertake to create jobs and improve wages.

The speech comes amid polls that still show the economy is the top issue with voters and that a majority of voters disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy. The speech marks a shift from Obama's recent attention to international crises, particularly the start of a new bombing campaign against Islamic extremists.

TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT-BANKRUPTCY

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A Delaware bankruptcy judge will hold a hearing tomorrow on a request by Trump Entertainment Resorts to be relieved of its pension obligations under a collective bargaining agreement with workers at the Taj Mahal casino.

The judge had previously scheduled a mid-October hearing on Trump's request for permission to terminate the labor agreement as part of an effort to reorganize and avoid closing the casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

But company attorneys have been unable to persuade the union to agree to replace the pension plan with a 401(k) plan. They said yesterday that they need a quick decision on the pension liability because it could torpedo efforts to reorganize.

Union attorneys argue that the pension question can't be separated from the larger issue of the collective bargaining agreement.

PLASTIC BAG BAN-THINGS TO KNOW

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The American Progressive Bag Alliance, a coalition of plastic bag manufacturers, says it will seek a voter referendum to overturn California's law banning single-use shopping bags, signaling the fight between environmentalists and manufacturers is not over. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide ban on the bags yesterday, following the lead of more than 100 California cities and counties.

The group has three months to gather more than 500,000 valid signatures, the number needed to place a referendum on the November 2016 ballot. The group says it will push to make sure the law does not take effect until voters have a say.

LEGALIZING POT-COLORADO COMPETITION

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado's new marijuana industry is in for a brand new element today -- competition.

The state gave medical marijuana dispensaries and growers a nine-month exclusive on the new recreational pot business, fearing an unmanageable explosion of new businesses.

The grandfathering period expires today, meaning pot shops and growers who weren't in business before voters approved recreational pot in 2012 are just now able to enter the market.

"There's going to a price war coming. It's inevitable," predicted Toni Fox, a marijuana grower and owner of a Denver pot shop. Fox has received a license for a second shop opening today in Salida (suh-LY'-duh).

Colorado is issuing licenses for 46 more pot shops, in addition to about 200 already in place. Colorado is also licensing 37 more growing facilities and 13 new product manufacturers who make marijuana-infused products.

The expansion means pot prices for consumers could soon drop. Recreational marijuana in Colorado currently wholesales for about $1,800 to $2,500 a pound, depending on quality. The addition of new growers starting today could push the price below $1,000 a pound once those plants mature.

FILM-NETFLIX'S GAMBIT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hollywood's carefully controlled system of movie rollouts is officially under siege.

Windowing -- the practice of opening a movie first in theaters and then in other stages of home video, streaming and television release -- has been under increasing pressure as smaller screens fight against the prominence of the theatrical big screen. Now, Netflix has fired the most notable missive across the bow of windowing, announcing plans to release a sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" on the day it hits Imax theaters next August.

The film, produced by the Weinstein Co., isn't a studio production, so it's in many ways only marginally more significant than the plethora of independent films regularly released on video-on-demand. But the announcement constitutes the biggest move yet by a major digital outlet to blow up Hollywood's traditional release pattern.

"This is a very unique opportunity for somebody from the outside coming in to shake up what appears to be an increasingly antiquated release strategy," says Rich Greenfield, a media analyst for BTIG Research. "They had to get into the movie business to reduce windowing, and I think this is an important Step 1 for Netflix."

Exhibitors, in tandem with the major studios, have long sought to guard the theatrical window. Yesterday two of the country's largest theater chains, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark, which both have some Imax theaters, promptly refused to carry the film.

REDSKINS NAME-FCC

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The head of the Federal Communications Commission says the agency will consider a petition to ban the Washington Redskins nickname from the public airwaves.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said yesterday that the commission "will be dealing with that issue on the merits, and we'll be responding accordingly."

A law professor has challenged the use of the name on broadcast television, saying it violates FCC rules against indecent content. Native American and other groups have demanded the name be changed, calling it a racial slur.

Wheeler did not offer a timetable for a ruling on the matter. He has previously said he finds the name "offensive and derogatory," but that he hoped Redskins owner Dan Snyder would change it without any formal action.

Snyder has vowed never to change the name.

advertisement
Washington Times
advertisement