Fact, Opinion and Annoyance

And the confusion starts . . .
July 17, 2009, 9:23 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I read at editorial at Investor’s Business Daily yesterday

It’s Not an Option

It implies that the health-care bill in the House will make private insurance illegal.

“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.”

Media Matters is reporting that it is a lie

Conservative media run with false IBD claim that health bill outlaw private coverage

“In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, the provision to which the editorial referred establishes the conditions under which existing private plans would be exempted from the requirement that they participate in the Health Insurance Exchange. Individual health insurance plans that do not meet the “grandfather” conditions would still be available for purchase, but only through the Exchange and subject to those regulations.”

OK, so you can still get private insurance, but only through the Health Insurance Exchange.  So it’s not illegal.  Except that I actually looked at the Health Insurance Exchange.

“Recognizing that many businesses want to continue providing their own health coverage as they do today, business participation in the Exchange is simply a new option for those that are eligible – no business is required to enter.”

The Health Insurance Exchange is a new bureaucracy which will impose strict new regulations on insurance plans.  The information form from the House Ways and Means Committee implies that participation is voluntary – but apparently that’s as long as a business makes no changes to their coverage.  The company my husband works for renegotiates insurance plans every year.  Every year, what’s covered and what it costs changes.  Does it fall under “grandfathered” status or not?  Think a government agency would give you a clear yes or no answer on that?

So while the bill might not outlaw private insurance outright, it certainly does the opposite of opening up the market to competition.  Any new policies must play by government rules, which of course are open to renegotiation at any time.  And the government policy they are competing with has the advantage of being subsidized by taxpayers (first the rich, then everyone else) so it doesn’t allow for a true market competition.  It makes the following paragraph from the IBD editorial particularly prescient:

“The public option won’t be an option for many, but rather a mandate for buying government care. A free people should be outraged at this advance of soft tyranny.”
The point of all of this is to make it so confusing that you can’t figure it out, so you throw your hands up in disgust.  Let me try a real-world example.  Remember that kid at the playground who would start a game, but keep changing the rules.  Every time you get close to winning, he adds a new rule.  Every time he gets close to losing, he adds a new rule.  Eventually, you realize the point is for you to lose and for him to win – nothing else will satisfy him.  So you quit and he replies, “Well, if you quit, then I win!”

Unfortunately with government – you can’t quit.  You’re stuck following their rules.

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