- - Sunday, November 10, 2013

Apologies are inexpensive, even when delivered with a lollipop. President Obama says he’s “sorry” about the Obamacare fiasco, but what he’s mostly sorry about is the damage done to his credibility. Mr. Obama acknowledged, belatedly, that the health care takeover with his name on it has caused millions to lose their insurance coverage despite his ironclad assurances that they never would.

The promise, delivered dozens of times with no qualifiers, that “you can keep your coverage, period” will be remembered as one of the great presidential dead letters. Even the president’s acolytes in the commentariat have joined the noisy Bronx cheer for the president and his scheme. But redemption is at hand if the president wants it. He has chastised Republicans for doing nothing to help, and Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan has come to Mr. Obama’s aid with his Keep Your Health Plan bill. The legislation by Mr. Upton, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would instruct the Department of Health and Human Services to honor the president’s promise, to no longer refuse to “grandfather” existing insurance plans when the annual premium is increased by $1 a year or more. It’s scheduled for a vote on Friday.

We’re not holding our breath. This legislation strikes at the heart of the president’s deception. When Mr. Obama said “you can keep your health plan,” he obviously didn’t mean “you can keep your health plan if you like it,” but “you can keep your insurance if I like it.” He particularly doesn’t want anyone to have insurance that doesn’t pay for the abortions and birth-control paraphernalia of others.

The president’s response to this legislation will say a lot about his true intentions. If his apology is sincere, he’ll sign the Upton bill the minute it reaches his desk. If he was not sincere, he’ll dispatch Harry Reid with his muddy shovel to bury the apology in the Senate graveyard.

Obamacare was designed to pander to voters in key demographic groups. One of the highly touted features of Obamacare forbids insurance companies to charge women more than men for coverage. This sounds like promoting equality between the sexes. Who could be against equality? But it’s not that at all.

Insurance companies don’t discriminate against women; they charge what the market demands. Women pay up to 20 percent less than men for automobile-liability insurance, for example, and not because the insurance companies are making war on men. Women drive less and are involved in fewer traffic accidents, and consequently file fewer claims. So they’re entitled to pay less.

The reverse is true with health insurance. According to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women on average visit their physician 33 percent more often than men. During the childbearing years between 25 and 44, women go to the doctor more than twice as often as men of that age group. Women pay more for health insurance because they’re more expensive to insure. The president surely knows the arithmetic. But redemption is not what the president seeks. He seeks relief from the anger, wrath and high dudgeon of the people he deceived. If his apology accomplishes that, he figures it’s cheap at the price.