Healthcare Plans and Lying

by JOHN C. WOHLSTETTER November 8, 2013

"O" lie?  Depends upon the meaning of "good plan"....

What lies at the root of Team Obama's defense of "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.  Period."?  In essence, Team Obama channels Bill Clinton's famous line (0:05) during l'affaire Monica, "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is', is."  Yet one estimate is that up to 129 million Americans may lose existing coverage.  Many will wind up paying more money for less in benefits.

Comparing TV exchanges involving voters losing their policy versus the argument of ObamaCare architect Ezekiel Emanuel, one sees two sharply conflicting definitions of what a "good" insurance plan is: Voters view the question solely from a personal criterion: what they consider a good plan for themselves and their families; Team Obama applies a social criterion, that of paying a surcharge to cover what they consider to be the needs of others.

Team Obama further argues that such mandated subsidies are often repaid later when voters fall ill.  In response to questioning by host Chris Wallace,  Emanuel said on Fox News Sunday that while a 59-year old may pay for someone else's maternity care that she herself does not need, she may get cancer or a stroke later, and in such event her financial costs will be largely subsidized by others

Team Obama's key device for stripping away existing insurance coverage was theObamaCare "grandfather" rule establishing stringent criteria for qualifying plans--any more than $5 co-pay increase made plans ineligible--under ObamaCare (one of which is coverage for pre-existing conditions, an economic loser for all firms unless subsidized or reimbursed); these criteria Team Obama knew most plans would not meet

Betsy McCaughey, co-slayer of HillaryCare (see links below), explains the deception and also how unions were exempted from the onerous grandfather rules:

Sec. 1251(a) (1) of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) says that no one can be required to give up a plan in effect on March 23, 2010, when the law was passed. Those plans are "grandfathered." But following that guarantee is a list of costly requirements that made it difficult for insurers to keep offering your plan.

It gets worse. Union plans were "grandfathered" with none of those fine print tricks and exceptions. Sec. 1251(d).

The law also left open the possibility that the president could impose additional requirements on grandfathered plans (except union plans.) Two months after Obamacare was passed, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services - all reporting to the president - churned out hundreds of additional rules to make it even harder for grandfathered plans to survive.

The rule makers knew that they were turning the president's promise into a flimflam. According to the Federal Register, they estimated that up to 69 percent of individual plans and 89 percent of small group plans would be cancelled by the end of 2013 as a result of their rules.

In 2010 Senate Republicans introduced an amendment that would have nullified the grandfather rule; it was voted down on a pure party-line vote.  Insurance firms that publicly explain policy cancellations as being due to the new rules werepublicly pressured by Sebelius & her allies in Congress, to silence and discredit the firms.

Such clandestine forced wealth distribution is at the heart of ObamaCare.

BUT: THE PRESIDENT DELIBERATELY DID NOT MAKE THIS CLEAR IN A WAY THAT MOST VOTERS, OFTEN DISTRACTED, COULD GRASP.  THESE VOTERS SURELY WOULD--AND CLEARLY DID--MISS THIS.

We know this to be true because White House advisers debated whether to make clear that many plans would fail to qualify.  The political aides prevailed, and this crucial prospect was kept in background.  Notably, Hillary Clinton had seen her health care plan defeated because she tried to ram it through unchanged; Hillary was open about tossing existing coverage, and it killed her plan (with a big assist from policy maven Betsy McCaughey).

What of Emanuel's FNS-aired excuse that the law itself does not force insurance companies to cancel coverage; rather, the insurance companies did it on their own?  On the show AEI's James Capretta answered by noting that the reason for such policy cancellations was financial incentives created by ObamaCare's mandating broader coverage.  He added that ObamaCare advisers anticipated that many insurers would regard the newly-imposed costs as rendering many existing policies uneconomic to maintain under the new rules.

Oh, and despite Obama's other explicit promise on being able to keep your doctor, guess again: you cannot count on keeping your doctor, even if it is a matter of life & death.  And Team Obama lies about security vulnerabilitiestoo.

Bottom Line.  The president sold his plan by the narrowest of margins, along purely partisan lines and by cliffhanger votes in the House & Senate.  Had voters clearly understood that many plans would not meet post-passage criteria mandated by ObamaCare, surely many would not have supported ObamaCare.  Put simply, the president's political advisers were right: unless voters were misled they would put added pressure on legislators and likely sink the plan.

Mr. Wohlstetter is the author of "Sleepwalking With the Bomb" (Discovery Institute Press, 2012). Follow John on twitter at @JohnWohlstetter 


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