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Culture Healthcare Politics

Does Obama Mean What He Says?

Lately there have been lots of commentaries written and spoken about Obama’s true intentions when he uttered those promises: “If you like the health insurance you have, you can keep it. Period.”; and “If you like the doctors you have, you can keep them.”

Now we are told that there was a caveat implied in those statements. That caveat is something like, “…if the insurance hasn’t changed and if it is consistent with Obamaca…” Scuze me.. “ACA.” According to those who keep track of such things, Obama declared those promises more than 30 times with no record of any qualifying clause to lead anyone to believe that he meant anything other than what he said. “…you can keep it.”

I remember years ago when a boss I had in a company in Tulsa, Oklahoma told me something that was important for anybody in a supervisory position to know. He told me that when a “boss,” a foreman or plant superintendent, a school principal or President, or anyone in a position of authority made a statement, regardless of how casual he thought he was being, that his subordinates might just take it to be a conclusive fact. “For example,” he said, “if a boss said, ‘I’ve been thinking of making a person’s birthday one of his or her paid holidays.’ It might just be heard and passed on as “The boss is going to give us our birthday as a paid holiday.” Not, “He’s thinking about doing that,” but “He’s going to do it.” If the President misspoke more than 30 times, he certainly was careless. But then, of course, he has no experience as a manager and perhaps doesn’t realize that he needs to be careful of what he says and how he says it.

Obama has now presented a “fix” to the problem that will forestall people losing their insurance for one year. But there seems to be some significant problems with the “fix.” Are people who have already lost their insurance going to get it back? Are the insurance companies going to say, “Oh, gee, we really didn’t mean it. Here, you can have your insurance back.”? And Congress is finally looking deeply into whether a President can, with a declaration, circumvent the law. He certainly seems to have done a lot of that in the past several years. Will Congress finally challenge his Presidential declarations?

Or, is this “fix” strictly a political ploy to place the blame for the mess called Affordable Health Care on insurance companies, Republicans, or the girl from Ipanema — anywhere but on his administration that gave us this nightmare?

obama gaffeHow are we to know whether the words that come out of his mouth are the truth or whether he is speculating? Does he cock his head to the right when he tells the truth and to the left when he is “misspeaking”? (Seems appropriate, doesn’t it?) Does he tilt his head back with his chin up in a Il Duce pose when he is just saying something for effect rather than for real? Does he have certain words that he includes or omits from his public statements to indicate, “Just kidding folks”? Does his teleprompter have a secret message (“wink here”) on its screen? Are MSNBC or the New York Times privy to verbal secrets that the rest of us are not? How are we to know?

Like a lot of other folks, I am retired and my health insurance is very important to me at this stage of my life. I am in pretty good health, but I do have some issues that I depend upon my doctors to help me with. I do not need a “death panel” to tell me that I am nearing that fateful day, but I do want to keep going with reasonably good health until my health becomes unreasonable. Most of us want to believe that our President has our best interests at heart. It’s becoming harder and harder for me, at least, to believe that. I think of that wonderful old story “The Man Without a Country.” Have I become “The Man Without a President”?


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Harry Livermore

Harry Livermore spent a lifetime teaching English in high schools and junior colleges in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. He now writes for and is editor of the Valdosta Magazine. Harry and his wife Janice live in Valdosta, GA. They are members of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Valdosta. Harry has two sons, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren who live in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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