Commenters last night noticed that the blockbuster NBC story — showing Obama knew years ago that not everyone would be able to “keep” their plan as promised — had disappeared. It has now resurfaced at the same URL, but for a while, a key paragraph was missing:
That is the paragraph that showed that HHS was going out of its way to make it difficult for policies to be grandfathered. The paragraph seems to be restored now, but let’s quote that passage in normal readable font in case it mysteriously disappears again.
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.
As Morgen Richmond points out, this is actually something the administration boasted about years ago:
Q: How will the regulation help me keep my coverage if I don’t want to choose a new private plan?
A: The regulation lets health plans that existed on March 23, 2010, when the Affordable Care Act became a law, to be “grandfathered” and thus be exempt from some of the new law’s provisions. But the rule sets firm limits on how much your current coverage can be changed before it loses its grandfathered status. Compared to their policies in effect on March 23, 2010, grandfathered plans:
*Cannot significantly cut or reduce benefits – for example, if your plan covers care for people with diseases such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis or HIV/AIDS, the plan cannot eliminate coverage for those diseases;
*Cannot raise co-insurance charges – for example, it increases your share of a hospital bill from 20% to 25%;
*Cannot significantly raise co-payment charges – for example, it raises its copayment from $30 to $50 over the next 2 years;
*Cannot significantly raise deductibles – for example, it raises a $1,000 deductible by $500 over the next 2 years;
*Cannot significantly lower employer contributions by more than 5 percent – for example, it increases its workers’ share of the premium from 15% to 25%;
*Cannot add or tighten an annual limit on what the insurer pays. Some insurers cap the amount that they will pay for covered services each year. If they want to retain their status as grandfathered plans, plans cannot tighten any annual dollar limit in place as of March 23, 2010. Moreover, plans that do not have an annual dollar limit cannot add a new one unless they are replacing a lifetime dollar limit with an annual dollar limit that is at least as high as the lifetime limit (which is more protective of high-cost enrollees).
It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it — except that refusing to grandfather anything that changes even slightly means you don’t actually get to keep your plan, as promised, because premiums go up, other things change, and any little change means you get kicked into the new whatever-Democrats-like plans where seniors are paying for childbirth coverage.
What is actually happening — and it was known this would happen — is that plans are disappearing because they do not comply with the new regulations. In some cases, they are being replaced by new and more expensive plans; we have seen numerous stories about this in recent days, and commenter Kevin M. provides the letter his wife received placing the blame for the cancellation of their less expensive policy squarely on ObamaCare:
It’s OK, though: Kevin’s wife can purchase a new and more expensive plan.
Some others aren’t so lucky. Some other private plans are being cancelled outright. It’s OK — the people affected can simply go to the exchanges!
You know: the exchanges that don’t work.
So if you’re on a private plan and you are receiving expensive treatment for, say, cancer, or some other life-threatening condition, your insurance company may simply cancel your plan on the theory that the exchanges can pick up the slack — and then, when the government’s incompetence in building a simple ^%&&^*& website is not fixed in time, your treatment will be disrupted.
The government’s hubris in taking over health care insurance, and failing to provide an alternative, may actually put people’s health at risk if they don’t get this thing fixed.
And we are powerless to do anything about it. It’s enough to make you want to scream and storm the barricades — but that won’t do any good. So you just sit and fume. Because that’s what you do when government takes over and screws it up. You can’t go to the competition. You can’t vote them out because the system is rigged. So you sit and fume.
This is the problem with lack of competition, folks. There are no alternatives. That’s why it’s incredibly dangerous and stupid to turn over such an important part of the economy to the government. And make no mistake: that’s what we have done. (And by “we” I mean other people.)
I will now go scream into a pillow. What else can I do?