The Right Prescription

A Lie From Day One

Believing in this president is proving to be a health hazard.

By 10.30.13

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From Florida to California, consumers are getting notices their health plans are cancelled. They were promised they could keep their plan if they liked it. That was a lie. They’ve been duped and dropped.

The liar is none other than the President of the United States. On June 15, 2009, President Obama told a town hall meeting that “No matter how we reform healthcare, we will keep this promise…. if you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

The fine print in his health law proves that he never intended to keep that promise.

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 IRS, Department of Labor, and 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 they were turning the president’s promise into a flim flam. They estimated that up to 69% of individual plans and 89% of small group plans would be cancelled by the end of 2013 as a result of their rules. (Federal Register, June 14, 2010.)

The president understood that Americans don’t want socialized medicine or big government poking into their healthcare. So when he campaigned to pass Obamacare, he told the public what it wanted to hear: that his plan would help the uninsured and leave everyone else alone. After all, 85% of Americans had insurance, and most were happy with it.

Obama’s pledge never matched up to the actual law. The law epitomizes “Washington knows best” paternalism. Everyone must have the one-size fits all health plan designed by “experts.” It’s like passing a law saying the only cars we are allowed to buy are four-door sedans. No hatchbacks, no convertibles. The assumption is we are too stupid to make our own choices.

Most of the policyholders dumped this month no longer had their grandfathered plans. Their current plans were cancelled because they don’t provide the “10 essential benefits.” Essential, that is, according to the experts. Fifty-year old couples must pay for maternity care. And straight arrows must pay for substance-abuse treatment.

The administration’s supporters lie about what’s causing the millions of policy cancellations. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a chief architect of the law, told Megyn Kelly on Fox News’ Kelly Files last Friday night that “it’s not the law doing it, that’s the insurance company deciding for business reasons.”

Seniors in Medicare Advantage plans are getting a similar run around when they ask about why their doctors are being axed. United Healthcare cut thousands of cardiologists and other specialists from Advantage plans in the New York metro area and Connecticut during October. So much for the promise that grandma can keep her doctor.

That was a lie from day one. Cuts to Medicare pay for over half the president’s health law. Obamacare reduces payments to Medicare Advantage plans by a whopping $156 billion over a decade. Richard Foster warned Congress on April 22, 2010, when he was chief actuary of Medicare, that the cuts would force about 7.4 million seniors to give up their plans.

Lesson: Believing the President is dangerous to your health.

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About the Author
Betsy McCaugheyis a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Analysis and author of Beating Obamacare 2014.