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.
President 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.