You Can Keep Your Health Insurance: Was Obama Lying, or Ignorant?

Here is my health insurance cancellation letter, cancelling the insurance I was very happy with.  Click on any of the below to enlarge

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Here was roughly what I was paying for a family of four (this is from the renewal 18 months ago but it is about the same now).  We had a couple of minor pre-existing conditions so this was rated up from the lowest possible price of $525.85, or about a 6.6% increase.

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Here are the features of this plan.  It has a high deductible, but once the deductible is met, it covers 100% in network, and the network is very good.   The deductible amounts may be high to some.  I asked myself, "what level of unexpected medical cost could I handle in a year." and set the limits there.  It is NOT pre-paid medical care, which I do not believe in.

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To the question of "was Obama lying or was he ignorant", I cannot get inside his head but I can say that many people, including me, who were not involved in the process saw this coming even in 2009 in his draft legislation.  It is hard to believe that if random folks like myself understand this, that the person actually sponsoring the legislation did not.

Many folks are arguing it has to have been an out-and-out lie.

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date -- the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example -- the policy would not be grandfathered. 

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 policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds 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.

Enter the lies:

Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

“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.

Next step for me, I get to experience the exchange.  I recognized a bunch of business losses last year, so my income was less than zero (I have a s-corp which passes earnings through to my individual tax statement).  It will be interesting to see if I get offered a subsidy.  Heck, they may offer to enroll me in Medicare.

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  • HenryBowman419

    Heck, they may offer to enroll me in Medicare.

    I suspect you meant to write "Medicaid." Anyway, Obama's lying now, and has been lying about everything all along. I actually don't think he knows how to tell the truth.

  • Maymount

    I think this is just the latest variant of the maxim that governments ALWAYS lie about projects. They understate the costs and time involved to get the projects approved, and then mysteriously the projects are always late and over-budget. In addition, when they're talking about transit projects they always over-estimate the ridership.

    The politicians do this knowing that it will be difficult to stop the project once it has been started...

    Here's a study I found pretty quickly: http://flyvbjerg.plan.aau.dk/JAPAASPUBLISHED.pdf (I don't have time to actually validate the whole thing, so caveat emptor).

    Here's a news article: http://seattletimes.com/html/dannywestneat/2009123442_danny26.html?syndication=rss

  • Matthew Slyfield

    I don't think he would recognize the truth if it reached up and bit him in the ass.

  • panzersage

    A very close friend of mine works whatever jobs he can get, mostly substitute teaching for different districts, at Texas Stadium selling hot dogs and beer in the stands, working as a temporary librarian, etc. (He has a masters in library science)
    He went onto the exchanges the other night (he had tried earlier but hadn't been able to get through) only to find that he made too little money to qualify for the subsidies.
    What he was told was that even though he wants private insurance he makes too little to actually reach the minimum floor for subsidies. This puts all of the plans out of his reach as they have gone up in price and his BCBS catastrophic insurance plan is going to be canceled.
    That was one piece of information I hadn't been aware of either. People who earn below a certain threshold get no subsidy, only those between 100%-400% of the poverty line qualify for a subsidy.
    So here's something I was wondering; if he chooses not to take Medicaid does he still have to pay a fine for not having health insurance?

    To add a little information: He is 35, lives in Dallas, has a master in Library science, and lives with his parents. He has had a lot of trouble finding work as there is such a glut of educators and librarians so it is extremely competitive.

  • obloodyhell

    Be fun to try and start a class action lawsuit against this administration for outright fraud and false advertising. I'd suspect it'd get thrown out but it would be fun either way. Anyone wants to try it, LMK, I'm in!

  • obloodyhell

    Perhaps he should go back to school and try to get an actually useful degree this time... :-/

    But yeah, the notion that you can make too little to qualify for subsidies is just absurd.

  • obloodyhell

    Of course not. He's got his head so far up his ass, how would he know what happened? You can't see... well, ok, you CAN see shit with your head that far up your ass... but that's about all you can see.

  • norse

    Well, there are two components as far as I can tell: the belief that you can plan and ordain economic change (we'll tell the companies/customers what to do and that'll work because our job consists of talking people into things) and the acceptance of the sheer incompetence of folks involved in politics (think "we have to pass it to see what's in it" - the belief that you cannot set up systems to do what you want without just plowing ahead and institutionalizing them followed by tweaking and adjustments)

  • Cathy

    The old line was "if you like your health insurance, you can keep it."
    The new line, which we are already starting to see from types like Jay Carney, is "You may have thought you liked your old insurance but in fact you did not; we know better than you about what you should or shouldn't like."

  • panzersage

    It turns out that you can actually make a lot of money as a corporate librarian if you can get Shell or a large company to pick you up. However he graduated right at the height of the recession and now his not working in a stable/real job so long is hurting him.
    I have suggested he go back to school (something this blog has commented on several times) to ride it out and hope things are better with a new degree in a couple of years.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Same here. Fraudulent misrepresentation.

  • mlhouse

    Great line.

  • lynnd

    me too..and we are not alone: nearly 16 MILLION
    will lose their health insurance – so much for dumbutts “if you you’re your
    plan you can keep it:http://healthpolicyandmarket.blogspot.com/2013/10/week-two-of-obamacare-federal-health.html#more

  • c_andrew

    This should be wrapped around Obama's neck like the stinking albatross that it is. Funny how George HW Bush got strung up by repeating his false promise ONCE! This guy goes on and on and on and it's like the press has retrograde amnesia or something. Maybe they were the ones who got a street beating with Sebelius! Complete with Head Injury.

  • Todd Ramsey

    Please take any offered subsidies. 1. It's not ideologically inconsistent to accept benefits from a program that you abhor; you are forced to support programs you abhor all the time. It's the is/ought problem. 2. That a person of your means receives benefits will make a great story.