Guest Post: The Noble Lie Of Government Healthcare

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by James E. Miller of The Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada,

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

These words, spoken by U.S. President Barack Obama in various forms and iterations, have become a running joke amidst the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. All across the country, hundreds of thousands of citizens are receiving cancellation notices in the mail. The stringent requirements for insurance plans under the new edict are curtailing many individual policies. A simpleton can grasp the economics: you prohibit something, it goes away. And yet, for years prior, the White House ignored the oncoming train and is now slowly inching away from the wreckage.

This was not the unforeseen consequence of good-intentioned legislation. According to an investigative report from NBC, the Obama Administration was fully aware of the result its health care bill would have on the marketplace for insurance. A provision written in the original version of the law would have allowed for the grandfathering of existing plans that did not meet the new standards. However, the Department of Health and Human Services rewrote the stipulation to radically narrow the rule, so that an estimated “40 to 67 percent of customers will not be able to keep their policy.” Not one to be a wet blanket, President Obama continued to assuage the public and reassure everyone that their preferred insurance policy would not being going away.

This was a lie. And not one kept close-to-the-chest by a few high-level officials. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer admitted that many in his party knew “there would be some policies that would not qualify and therefore people would be required to get more extensive coverage.” A presidential election and a litany of Senate seats were won based on the falsehood that America’s health insurance market would not be totally disturbed.

The admission of guilt may have ramifications for supporters of big government. In the short term, it undermines the President and the promises he makes going into the future. But voters are fickle and have a memory prone to lapses. When the subsidies start flowing, they will begin to smile again. The balancing act will be whether the boost in tax benefits outweighs being forced to pay a higher cost for what was once a cheaper product. Those who are net beneficiaries will be content while the losers may sulk but will ultimately accept the “new normal.”

The deceit behind ObamaCare is nothing new in the practice of governing. The state’s monopoly power makes it a natural target of suspicion. Even the most ardent worshiper of socialism is still wary that his nation’s controllers will turn on him. He keeps an ear out for fiction spun by his rulers but will not question larger injustice as long as he is fed well enough. Even with the preponderance of lies, there is still the naive hope “good folks” will soon come along who have a deep aversion to dishonesty. The white knight never arrives, but optimism prevails.

The happy voter is the one who refuses to grasp the obvious point that government serves as a vehicle for the worst in society to play out their violent fantasies. As Hayek put it, “the unscrupulous and uninhibited are likely to be more successful” in operating the machinery of total intimidation. It is always from the throne of authority that the worst deeds are accomplished. This includes mass aggression against property as well as the truth. The productive capacity of society is decimated enough by government’s necessarily parasitical operation; the public’s concept of verity is challenged by the various ministries of agitprop that disguise their actions as beneficial rather than schemes of plunder.

The false characterization needed to sustain Obama’s signature piece of legislation was another variation of Plato’s noble lie. In his widely heralded Republic, the classical philosopher wrote on the necessity of the few lording over the many to achieve harmonious social relationships. These “philosopher-kings” could govern best by spreading falsities that would have the “good effect” of making the underlings “more inclined to care for the state and one another.” One could call this a textbook lesson in the art of ruling over a dim and detached populace.

Perhaps the best exponent of the noble lie was the late, neoconservative king Irving Kristol, who held political theorist Leo Strauss as a strong intellectual influence. Kristol affirmed what many thinkers before him found when it comes to truth:

There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn’t work.”

In many ways, this statement is completely accurate. In a democracy, the people must be corralled. They must get behind measures that ordinarily wouldn’t receive a lick of support outside of a few special interests. The naked, unvarnished truth is a dangerous weapon against tyranny. So it must be distorted to fit the agenda of collectivists, statists, dictators, and despots. Anything will do to assure for maximum support with minimum resistance.

Had President Obama been upfront about the full ramifications of his health care edict, the public may have turned. It’s one thing to apply for and receive a subsidy. It’s another to disrupt lives and force people to take action they otherwise wouldn’t. Outside disturbances are a nuisance to common folks trying to make the best go at their lives. Like a dog with its tail between its legs, the Administration is now backtracking on its own selling point. In a recent press hearing, White House spokesman Jay Carney, the quivering apparatchik of social democracy, was quick to ignore past statements and highlight the benefits of the health care bill. He told Fox News correspondent Ed Henry,

Well, let’s just be clear, what the President said and what everybody said all along was that there were going to be changes under brought about by the Affordable Care Act that create minimum standards of coverage — minimum services that every insurance plan has to provide.

So goes the guarantee of “if you like it, you can keep it.” As progressive columnist Clarence Page admitted to radio host Hugh Hewitt, it was “one of those political lies, you know.” The promise will eventually find itself lodged somewhere in the memory hole along with the guarantee of liberty in a security state. The state itself is a great lie. It purports to be the great savior of mankind. The political class likens itself to the great deliverance from struggle and despair. The reality ends up not as rosy.

Kristol was right on one thing: not everyone accepts the truth. They will self-deceive to feel comfortable in their own skin. It is this weakness the politician will manipulate for his own aggrandizement. Honesty and truth are always a virtue. And that’s why they are wholly absent from the halls of power.

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quasimodo's picture

"You lie!"

Turns out the guy was correct

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

He should have said it more than once.

He should not have bothered to apologize.

johnQpublic's picture

my wife was actually looking at the ACA site like she cared

turns out, even at age fifty with no uterus, she would still have to carry maternity coverage

Skateboarder's picture

Dad must have left the damn TV on all night, cuz when I walked by and turned it off this morning (CNN on mute), the news being reported was that those who couldn't keep their plans are being called "Obamacare's losers."

The media is worse than Grima Wormtongue.

GetZeeGold's picture



He lies all the time.....PERIOD!

Manthong's picture

“Read My Lips, no new taxes”..

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

“I want to say one thing to the American people.
I want you to listen me, I will say this again.
I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

None of those bald-faced liars have been held to account, they just got richer.

spine001's picture

My current individual health care plan BCBS, just announced that they are dropping me as of 30th June 2014!

James-Morrison's picture

The sleazier lie is that your current policy is being replaced by a better, more compressive Obamacare policy.

My "better" Obamacare policy has a higher deductible, a higher total out of pocket threshold, horrible out-of-network coverage and excludes most of the convienient and speciality hospitals (cancer and critical care) that were included in my "bad apple" current policy.

My obamacare policy is crap and costs 150% more than my current plan.

That is a more damning lie.

TeamDepends's picture

If you like your genitals, you can keep your genitals.

This just in's picture

Unless, of course, your genitals don't meet the standards set forth.

TeamDepends's picture

Set forth by me, Barry Choom Ruler of the Universe, and my main man Reggie "The Body" Love, bitchez!

macholatte's picture


horrible out-of-network coverage


Isn't it a federal program/tax policed by federal Gestapo? How can you be out-of-network?


duo's picture

Don't travel more than 50 miles from home or you're fucked if you get sick (bankrupt, really).

Maybe this is how they keep the sheep from moving around the country.

macholatte's picture


A simpleton can grasp the economics: you prohibit something, it goes away. And yet, for years prior, the White House ignored the oncoming train and is now slowly inching away from the wreckage.


So tell us something that wasn't obvious years ago.   Or is it now fashionable to whine about Obamacare.  

The best thing that has happened for the sheeple is the crash of the web site.  Had that not happened, there likely would be silence from most of the so called "out spoken" talking heads.

Blano's picture

Why are you so shocked????

sessinpo's picture

Anything related to Obama = disaster.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

''None of those bald-faced liars have been held to account, they just got richer.''

serving corporate interests..........

booboo's picture

"Serving corporate interest" or said another way, doing what government does best.

sessinpo's picture

Manthong    “Read My Lips, no new taxes”..

My comment: Writing a check that can't be cashed

Manthong  “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

My comment: Lying for to the people for one's own ideology.

Manthong   "I want you to listen me, I will say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

My comment: Lying to save one's reputation.

Bush was held to account. Bush lost re-election. Clinton went through impeachment and was disbarred. Obama has yet to be played out.

 dick cheneys ghost  "serving corporate interests......."

My comment. They serve themselves. Two of the examples are politicians talking politically (lying) to help themselves at the current time to either get elected or avoid legal problems. The other politician lied for ideological purposes. to deceive the public (we know this now because of released information indicating that this President knew his comment necessarily correct).

joego1's picture

And the wife of one of them is most likely going to be the next Pres. God help us!

Everybodys All American's picture

“Read My Lips, no new taxes”..

That fabrication/lie was not even close to the same lie as Obama stated as far as impact this will have on Americans. Obama won an election based on this lie being repeated and the government was able to take over 20% of the American economy on that lie. Obama's transformation from a market economy to a centralized planned economy is formed off of this lie. The idea of socializing the rest of the country's assets can't be far behind if this is not stopped in it's tracks.

Finally, Nixon resigned the presidency on lies from Watergate that had far less of an impact.

dunce's picture

One of those liars was held to account. The first Bush got only one term and was sent packing.

mofreedom's picture

Nah, no one told him he's been president these five years.  Why you think he's been playing so much golf, been to so many b-ball games and concerts at that big white house.

tsx500's picture

speaking of the media...NYT this weekend claims President Stompyfeet simply 'misspoke' all those times that he claimed we could keep our favorite plan....

Ancona's picture

It would be cheaper for me to buy a new fucking house than to provide an insurance poliscy for teh three people in my household. I get no subsidy, and even with a large deductible for a silver plan, I'm getting raped hard.

Thanks Obama!

odatruf's picture

Sure, sure.  Question is, as it is for us all, what are you going to do about it?

AlaricBalth's picture

Sebelius will be resigning soon. It will be a good start.

Blano's picture

Like that'll change anything.

RSloane's picture

Yup. A friend of mine age 52 had her 'inferior' insurance dropped because of no prenatal and maternity coverage. She ended up buying new insurance outside of the exchanges. 

mofreedom's picture

What keeps us from lying?  Why are we so good?

Status quo politicians all touch little chilren and i have the photos to back it up!

Everybodys All American's picture

If he had any sense he'd be on tv every day claiming his just deserts on that statement.

keating's picture

I don't think any of this is an error, it is all deliberate. If 90+ million will lose their insurance, and if folks are offered 'temporary' medicare until the system is fixed and reliable, Obama has reached his stated goal, everyone signing up for single payer. This could happen in January 2014 during budget talks. The GOP needs to come up with something now to prevent a mass migration to Medicare, what Obama really wants.

orangegeek's picture

"the ends justify the means" is the spin to save those without healthcare


the reality is rapid expansion of union membership that will generate cash to feed the Dems for decades


government run healthcare rations and kills

q99x2's picture

File the impeachment proceedings already. WTF

RichardP's picture

Impeach the President for what?  Obamacare?  Congress is the body that created the ACA legislation, not Obama.  Shall we impeach them?

Hongcha's picture

This is a low ebb, gentlemen.  The sole remaining hope for the good people in this country is their right to bear arms; which is why they want so very badly to take that right away.

MrBoompi's picture

Obamacare is not "government healthcare". It's a lame attempt to force as many people as possible into the private healthcare system. A system which allows monopolies, cartels, price gouging, collusion, and poor performance. Let's give true government healthcare, aka single payer, a try before you criticize it.

Urban Roman's picture

The Republican solution: "Healtcare? You don't need no  stinkin' healthcare!"

And that, my friends, is the Death Panel you were looking for.

Hobbleknee's picture

You've been here 3 years and still think there is a difference between the red team and the blue team?

James-Morrison's picture

This is the republican plan.

James-Morrison's picture

Who the fuck are the 10 dickheads that don't understand that the RED and BLUE teams are connected to the same body.

C'mon boys.  Man-up, or go back to grade school and re-read Dr. Suess' "The Cat in the Hat."

Then, come back here and tell me who the hell you think "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" were portraying in this classic childrens story.   

Please crawl before you post. 

Obamacare really was tested and proven to fool the most sheeple by Romney.  (And recommended by a RED team think tank -- aka Heritage Foundation). 



TBT or not TBT's picture

Actually, their plan was to ncrease competition in the health insurance market, by allowing a nationwide market for it, rather than the current corrupt, state by state hyper regulated shit we had before Obamacare. They also mooted taxing employer based healthcare as an income, which it absolutely is, or tax equalizing somehow for individuals and self employed folks buying their insurance. The employer based insurance system being a legacy of control freak democrats during WWII, when they were enjoying a pretty totalitarian ride, by american standards.

DaveA's picture

Please let's do that, I'm serious. Free health care for everyone, no signup required. The rich could still pay top dollar for expert care, while the Obama-voting masses wait in line, describe their symptoms to a nursing assistant, and receive a bottle of generic antibiotics or painkillers with a "come back in three days if these don't work".