Apparently in the future I will have two health plan choices -- my current plan or the government plan. And the only reason I will be able to keep my current plan is that is will be grandfathered in. A few years ago I switched plans, to get one with a better price and mix of benefits for my family. I will never be allowed to do this again under the new health care bill:
It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.
When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee.
It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:
"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.
So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised "” with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers....
Wow, even for this cynical libertarian, this is a new low of technically complying with a promise while in substance completely violating the spirit of that promise.
By the way, how long will my current insurer even be able to offer me my plan given that it cannot generate any new business (I use Assurant, who specializes in individual policies for self-employed people like myself).
This is a great example of what I have been saying all along - regulation always helps large companies more than small. Everything in this legislation is tailor-made to help large companies who already have health plans and pound small companies and the self-employed. This is in part because the large companies have the lobbying muscle to get themselves a seat at the table as the bill is crafted. But it is more than just neglect, it is an outright attack. Large companies most fear competition from smaller, lower cost competitors. Anything to make the life of small business more expensive and difficult helps cement the big guys market position.
Update: Here is a scary thought -- what will it do to entrepeneurship in this country when a decision to leave a large company and go into business for oneself bascially means giving up private health insurance and going on Medicare?
Update #2: For readers, as well as a place for me to find it in the future, here is a link to all 1000+ pages of the bill. Enjoy.