October 29 2013

ObamaCare: What Did He Know, and When Did He Know It?

Patrice J. Lee

Millions of Americans are receiving cancellation notices in the mail informing them that they will lose their health insurance coverage because of ObamaCare. Now, the Administration is admitting they knew this would happen several years ago when the President peddled his famous line “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan.”

The slice of insured Americans hardest hit by coverage cancellations are the 14 million people who purchase their own coverage because they don’t receive it through employers. This is no surprise to the Administration. When the architects crafted the Affordable Care Act they anticipated this would happen and strategically need this to happen to drive new entrants into the public exchange.

NBC reports on this cover-up:

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policies. And because many policies will have been changes cine the key date, “the percentage of individual marketplace policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceed the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms. Laszewski estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to buy insurance that meets requirements of the new law which generally requires a richer package of benefits than most policies today.

 

Disingenuous is the nicest way to describe the President’s words in light of this new information. One commentator called it a “bald-faced lie”.

Whatever we call it, the motive behind the Administration’s false promise was to make ObamaCare palatable enough among Americans to generate a groundswell of support to get the law passed. Once ObamaCare was implemented, Americans would have to swallow the consequences. The Administration assumed that the government-provided subsidies would be high enough to make the unaffordable plans under ObamaCare seem like attractive alternatives.

Well, as new uninsured Americans – specifically those who’ve just been notified that their plans have been cancelled- start looking into their options, they hate what they’re seeing:

George Schwab, 62, of North Carolina, said he was “perfectly happy” with his plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, which also insured his wife for a $228 monthly premium. But this past September, he was surprised to receive a letter saying his policy was no longer available. The “comparable” plan insurance company offered him carried a $1,208 monthly premium and a $5,500 deductible.

And the best option he’s found on the exchange so far offered a 415 percent jump in premium, to $948 a month.

“The deductible is less,” he said, “But the plan doesn’t meet my needs. It’s unaffordable.”

This is just the start of the cancellation horror stories as this is traditionally open enrollment season for workers to changes to their health insurance options.

Cancellations are just one of the challenges Americans face in the new ObamaCare era. For a woman who opts to look into ObamaCare options, she faces the hurdle of navigating a broken, insecure website.

As we reported last week, some of the major “glitches” were prompted by the Administration’s last-minute decision not to allow consumers to browse ObamaCare options anonymously. An individual must set up an account and have her financial information verified before she can see what plans she qualifies for and at what costs. This was a strategic decision. The Administration knew that the sticker shock of the ObamaCare plans without subsidies would send Americans running in the other direction.

Opponents of ObamaCare predicted that once people read and understood ObamaCare, they would not like what they saw. Everyday we’re seeing just how true that is.

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