Should Obama Be Held to a Campaign Promise About Premiums?

President Obama promised that his health care plan would reduce annual insurance premiums by $2,500 a family by the end of his first term. That has not happened. According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, the average family premium for people getting insurance at work is nearly $3,000 higher than it was when the President took office.

– Sen. John Barrasso

Here is what The Washington Post Fact Checker has to say:

Obama referred to this $2,500 promise at least 19 times during the 2008 campaign, according to an interesting video supplied by Barrasso’s office…

Obama’s pledge was silly and worthy of Pinocchios, in part because the fine print showed there was much less to the pledge that he suggested in his speeches. But the White House has not disavowed it — and Obama will face the consequences if the American people feel misled by his language.

Even laying that aside, [Sen.] Barrasso can’t suggest that the rise in premiums since Obama took office is the result of a health care law that largely has not yet taken effect. By using raw numbers, the senator also glosses over the fact that the rate of increase has actually slowed significantly during Obama’s presidency.

Comments (12)

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  1. VN says:

    “As we noted, however, any regular reader of fact checks would have known not to put much stake in Obama’s $2,500 pledge.”

    Leave it to the Washington Post to take a repeated lie by Obama, dismiss it as just “silly,” and then suggest that people should not have listened to it anyway.

  2. CBrady says:

    Yes, Obama should be held accountable. All politicians should.

  3. Charlotte V. says:

    Well, if that’s going to make him do what he says, then he should probably be held to a campaign promise about everything he talks about!

  4. Steve says:

    Of course!!!!!

  5. Shay says:

    This isn’t just a campaign promise; it’s a substantive statement about what the benefits of his policies would be. Yes, he should be held to it. It’s not like he made some vague statement about how America would be “more prosperous.”

  6. Kelly says:

    “Obama will face the consequences if the American people feel misled by his language.”

    Seems like this could take care of itself.

  7. Jennifer says:

    The fast news cycle makes campaign promises a no-strings proposition. By the time you need to deliver, it’s old news. No one remembers.

  8. Elaine says:

    I disagree, Jennifer. I think promises have a lot of import — take Syria. Obama deflected criticism of his non-interventionist stance by promising a redline. When his inaction made him look like a hypocrite, he eventually caved to pressure to enforce his previous statement rather than look like a hypocrite. I think this illustrates that people do pay attention and there are credibility consequences if it doesn’t happen.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Maybe, Elaine, but domestic policy doesn’t have the same cache. I think promises like these attract almost no attention and even less within a week or so.

  10. LeeAnn says:

    Elaine is right. I’m sorry, but the domestic/foreign distinction is meaningless. The deciding factor is more whether or activists hold him to his promises and keep unfulfilled ones in the news cycle. If he’s not held to this, we’re not doing our jobs. Plain and simple.

  11. Greg Scandlen says:

    The drop in the rate of increase in health care costs began in 2002, well before Obama even though about running for president. Only Glenn Kessler would give him credit for it.

  12. Adam says:

    Of course! Everyone should be held accountable for their promises.