White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer appears to be the administration’s “short straw” mouthpiece. With some regularity, he is handed the duty of defending the president on Sunday morning chat shows on the heels of particularly bruising news weeks. Perhaps his most memorable performance came last spring, when he bungled a series of interviews on Benghazi and the IRS targeting scandal — repeatedly swatting down questions as “irrelevant.” In one exchange, he actually uttered this sentence: “The law is irrelevant.” Pfeiffer was up to bat on Meet the Press yesterday, where he turned in a typically poor outing. Pressed by David Gregory about the president’s broken “keep your doctor” promise, Pfeiffer insisted that this betrayal isn’t Obamacare’s fault. Blame the insurers, he said.
This answer is rubbish. First of all, the question of who or what is specifically to blame for people losing their doctors is, as Pfeiffer might put it, irrelevant. President Obama made a sweeping, comprehensive promise to the American people in selling Obamacare. Watch the very first clip from the video we released on Friday.
“No matter how we reform healthcare, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.”
No wiggle room, no ambiguity. Everyone who liked their doctor could keep them. Period, end of story. But that is not the case for millions of people now that the law is in effect. Second, these major and widespread disruptions to insurance networks and plans have been precipitated by the healthcare law. Everyone understands that. To pretend that Obamacare has nothing to do with the upheaval it mandates is laughable. Finally, the White House’s own internal estimates predicted that more than 90 million Americans’ prior plans would lose grandfathered status under Obamacare. They knew that tens of millions of people in the individual, small group and large employer markets would be unable to maintain the coverage they had.