A Politically Necessary Mistake

 Posted by at 12:05 am  Politics
Nov 162013

I had an insurance plan that I liked, and all of a sudden I found myself with the choice of losing my insurance or opting for a plan that cost me almost twice as much, had higher co-pays, and covered less.  Of course that happened because of ObamaCare, and I should blame it on the Democrats, right?  WRONG!  The year was 2004, and the insurance was my company health plan.  When Barack Obama promised that, if you like your insurance, you can keep it, he was not thinking about situations like mine.  That was a mistake on his part, and his fix for it is also a mistake.  Sadly, it is a politically necessary mistake.

1116ObamaCareFixPresident Obama, trying to quell a growing furor over the rollout of his health care law, bowed to bipartisan pressure on Thursday and announced a policy reversal that would allow insurance companies to temporarily keep people on health plans that were to be canceled under the new law because they did not meet minimum standards.

The decision to allow the policies to remain in effect for a year without penalties represented the Obama administration’s hurriedly developed effort to address one of the major complaints about the beleaguered health care law. It seemed for the moment to calm rising anger and fear of a political backlash among congressional Democrats who had been threatening to support various legislative solutions opposed by the White House because of their potential to undermine the law.

Senate Democratic leaders said they did not see the need for an immediate legislative fix — a victory for White House officials worried that momentum was building toward consideration of a measure to force the change.

The Republican-controlled House is still set to vote Friday on a bill by Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, that would allow Americans to keep their existing health coverage through 2014 without penalties — as well as allow new people to continue to buy the plans, something the White House said would gut the Affordable Care Act… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Lawrence O’Donnell discussed Obama’s Plan with Steve Kornacki and Eugene Robinson.  (I was unable to find this video in a format available to international viewers.  The piece is entitled President Obama: ‘I Fumbled’.  Hopefully you can find it the time this is posted.)


Note that the individual market is only 5%. For 95% of us, there are no surprises, except good ones.  The vast majority of those whose policies are really being cancelled  because of ObamaCare are paying for insurance that will disappear, when they need it.  Most would get better coverage for the same or less money under ObamaCare, when including the subsidies.  The problem is that Obama cannot prove it until the exchange is working.  He was wrong not to have provided more oversight. He also should have considered that Big Insurance would use it to cancel plans that would qualify, blame ObamaCare, and try to scam their customers into high prices policies.

Obama’s fix makes good his promise and makes it possible to prove that Big Insurance dishonesty and consumer gullibility, not Obama, ObamaCare or Democrats, are to blame for most of this crisis. That is why it is politically necessary.

The reason it is a mistake is that some people, who are now in policies that do not qualify, will stay there for a year longer.  Republicans will use some, whose own gullibility and stupidity will be at fault, to blame ObamaCare for not protecting them.  At the same time, those who stay in substandard insurance, because they are young and healthy, will make the exchange pools older and more expensive than they would otherwise have been.

It would be better to leave the ACA alone and to investigate the insurance scams, but there’s no way that most of the media will pass on these boring details, when the nice juicy scandal will sell so much more soap.


  27 Responses to “A Politically Necessary Mistake”

  1. I think it's a big mistake to extend the cancelled policies for another year. I'd be willing to bet that some companies won't agree to that either. It's like a game of poker to the Big-Wigs. they want to see who will fold first. i only wish Pres. Obama hadn't. More ammunition for the RepubliCanTs.

  2. I am really, really tediously tired of stupid, willfully dumbass people who apparently love to be duped, used and spit out and still blame everyone else but themselves for having been so damn gullible in the first place. They don't want to have to — OMG — use what little brain matter they have to actually find a BETTER policy that COVERS more and costs them LESS. Noooooooooooo that would be what? Logical…..practical maybe…..INTELLIGENT perhaps….but no, they rather remain human mushrooms being kept in the willful dark and fed bullshit. I am so damn tired of it. Obama will fold, because in the end, he's not a dyed in the bone Democrat and never has been. He is a moderate Rethuglifascist trying to tread softly in both camps. Damn, where is FDR when one needs him……..oh, right, he's dead. Sigh

  3. I'm old so health care doesn't affect me – not on food stamps so that doesn't affect me either – not gay so those laws don't affect me.  However, the whining, the obstructionists, the constantly putting personal agenda over country – all that does affect me and I'm sick of it.  The GOP has done nothing to make ACA better – they could have let it start and THEN picked at it but no…. can't allow anything this President does even appear to be good.
    If the GOP put half the energy into improving the country that they put into destroying it, we'd all be much better off.  

    As you point out, Tom, insurance  companies are notorious for selling ineffective policies that magically disappear when needed.  Doesn't refer only to health care either – flood insurance, car insurance, house insurance – rates go up, coverage goes down.  But gosh, let's blame Obama for that, too….I admire the man's patience because my tendency would be to just say "bite me".

  4. First, if one actually does go to the site, dental, optical and hearing are an option, just as they always have been. Every insurance I have had through work has changed the plan and increased prices each year. Each has increased the co-pay, and decreased benefits. All from the time we began down the rocky road of HMO's have been offered as "cafeteria" plans, or choose the one that best fits your needs. The republicans know this, as do their brain mashed followers. I have zero danger of having prostate cancer, though it has been covered in every policy I have purchased. Women have no need of that coverage, but single men just might find themselves married and expecting a child within any given year.

    I'm not even surprised buy the phony outrage over these plans, say it loud enough, repeat it often enough and the fools will follow along.

    Second, I do not ever again want to hear that the media is left wing. If that were true than at least MsNBC would have made some effort to educate the public. They, like every "news" program other than Al Jazeera, have hopped on the bash Obama train. Frankly, even those whining about insurance being canceled have not bothered to learn why or what is available to replace the lousy policy they owned. As it turns out many were not insurance but discount programs, minimal discounts at that.

    Yes, by extending the crap policies for a year Obama did the politically expedient thing, but he did no favors for those who think they have insurance.

    Another thing – when this web-site was being constructed, it was to be nothing more than a backup for the each site by each state. Other than to be contrary there is no logical reason for this to not be the fact.
    Unlike many president's in our past Obama is scandal free. The IRS a hoax, Benghazi a hoax, health care failures another hoax created to some how make the republicans look like the hero of we the little people. Anyone that buys into this seriously needs to check out getting a brain transplant.

    We are Americans, and if you know anything about history we are procrastinators. If we know a law will be effective on January 1, we will not sign up before mid-December. For those that are changing companies that makes sense. Why pay for two policies?

    One very good way to fix all of this quickly is bring back House Bill 676. Medicare for all.

    Thanks TC, it is good to know you are feeling better and on the mend.

    • misskitty, you are so right!

    • Aman Kitty, Kitty!!

      Remember that even with MSNBC, their morning programming is largely right wing, and CNBC and NBC are right wing.  The few lefties they do have, while excellent,  don't make up for all that.

  5. Thanks TC.  Terrie you made me snort with laughter – I feel the same way – before he was elected President Obama said so many good things (like banning or labelling GMOs) which he has then gone back on – we do need FDR!  I know a lot of things have been made impossible for him by the rank insanity and sedition by the GOP/TP, but how I yearn for FDR!

  6. I have been reluctant to comment on Obamacare because I am in a privileged position so that it does not affect me.  But I do feel qualified to comment on this.  Having worked many years in insurance (though not in life and health, there are junk policies all across insurance – state minimum auto policies,  I'm looking at you), if I had called my health insurance company and been told my policy was being cancelled because it did not meet Obamacare requirements, I would not be complaining, I would be doing everything I could to prevent anyone I know from finding out I had been suckered into a junk policy.  That said, I think your words, TC, are right on: "That was a mistake on his part, and his fix for it is also a mistake. Sadly, it is a politically necessary mistake."

    • Jo, there is nothing wrong with being privileged.  What matters is what you do with it, and you are doing the opposite of Republican class-warriors.

      I agee.  I would be mortified.

      • Health insurance is about the only area where I am privileged, but I am fortunate enough to have an employer retiree plan that replaces both a Plan B supplement and Plan D (and no donut hole), for very little a month, prepaid out of my (very small but more than enough to cover it) pension.  So, not having walked a mile in the moccasins of those trying to sign up for Obamacare, I'm keeping quiet (trying to be supportive, though).

  7. DeFazio voted yes to the house bill. Surprising to say the least. However, I believe he wanted to push this house bill into the Senate where Landrieu and our own Jeff Merkley are cosponsering a bill that removes the House bill's more right-wing aspects (like the same junk policies sold to new suckers over the next year).

    I met up with both Peter and Jeff last weekend, and I'm sure their votes will be under the heading "Damage Control."

  8. ~~It has been like a second language around here "It's all Obama fault" I so tried of hearing that. It is just like Obama said "What we have now is not something we should be fighting for If healthcare was easy we would have already done it"

     I agree 100% Tom "That was a mistake on his part, and his fix for it is also a mistake. Sadly, it is a politically necessary mistake" But to vote with the republican/Tea party well we should get that rope they have been holding over Obama for yrs and sting them up

     Our ins is BCBS and yes have seen some changes. But I have always believed that it is my kids who will get fruits of "Obama Care" I would never stab Obama(much less anyone) in the back to jumb in the pit with the GOP


  9. I am very lucky to have earned my Health Care via Vietman War however, I have waged this battle for working poor Americans to have access to see a Doctor for decades now… I will just leave it at that… 🙄

  10. "

    "I had an insurance plan that I liked, and all of a sudden I found myself with the choice of losing my insurance or opting for a plan that cost me almost twice as much, had higher co-pays, and covered less"

    i'd like to believe you but anecdotal claims like your's have mostly been debunked.  if not then i am so happy that you must be making over 400% of poverty level and do not qualify for any subsidies.  i'd also bet you are not quite truthful in saying you were required to shop for another policy.  if you were cancelled then it was because you were throwing your money down a rat hole by buying a junk policy.

    • Welcome Nubwaxer. 🙁

      If you had taken the time to read my article instead of posting a knee-jerk reaction to my first sentence, you would have discovered that I was using my own experience from 2004 as a way to debunk such anecdotal claims about ObamaCare.  I also went on to say that we need to consider the subsidy.

      May I respectfully suggest that yoiu are doing the left no favors.  If we make accusations, based on assumption only, how can people tell us from Republicans?

  11. I am retired and on Medicare and employer sponsored insurance.  My employer has changed my plan to a Medicare advantage plan this year, so now, instead of Medicare paying, and my insurer paying what Medicare does not, only Medicare is paying.  I am paying more in co pays and deductibles.  My insurere was also fined by the state of Ky, $65,000.00 for giving false info to its customers.  I am grateful to have insurance, but I agree with those who say we should have a single payer plan for everyone.  Pres. Obama was called a socialist for starting ACA,  now he is becoming a waffler, swaying with the wind.  Someone dropped the ball by letting the website go on line in such a mess.

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