Opinion
A busy screen is shown on the laptop of a Certified Application Counselor as he attempted to enroll an interested person for Affordable Care Act insurance, known as Obamacare, at the Borinquen Medical Center in Miami, Florida October 2, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Skipper A busy screen is shown on the laptop of a Certified Application Counselor as he attempted to enroll an interested person for Affordable Care Act insurance, known as Obamacare, at the Borinquen Medical Center in Miami, Florida October 2, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Skipper  

A lie from day one

Photo of Betsy McCaughey
Betsy McCaughey
Author, "Beating Obamacare"

From Florida to California, consumers are getting notices their health plans are cancelled. They were promised they could keep their plan if they liked it. That was a lie. They’ve been duped and dropped.

The liar is none other than the President of the United States. On June 15, 2009 President Obama told a town hall meeting that “No matter how we reform healthcare, we will keep this promise … if you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

The fine print in his health law proves that he never intended to keep that promise.

Sec. 1251(a)(1) of the Affordable Care Act says that no one can be required to give up a plan in effect on March 23, 2010, when the law was passed. Those plans are “grandfathered.” But following that guarantee is a list of costly requirements that made it difficult for insurers to keep offering your plan.

It gets worse. Union plans were “grandfathered” with none of those fine print tricks and exceptions. (Sec. 1251(d))

The law also left open the possibility that the president could impose additional requirements on grandfathered plans (except union plans.) Two months after Obamacare was passed, the IRS, Deptartment of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services – all reporting to the president – churned out hundreds of additional rules to make it even harder for grandfathered plans to survive.

The rule makers knew that they were turning the president’s promise into a flim flam. They estimated that up to 69 percent of individual plans and 89 percent of small group plans would be cancelled by the end of 2013 as a result of their rules. (Federal Register, June 14, 2010).

The president understood that Americans don’t want socialized medicine or big government poking into their healthcare. So when he campaigned to pass Obamacare, he told the public what they wanted to hear: that his plan would help the uninsured and leave everyone else alone. After all, 85 percent of Americans had insurance, and most were happy with it.

Obama’s pledge never matched up to the actual law. The law epitomizes “Washington knows best” paternalism. Everyone must have the one-size fits all health plan designed by “experts.” It’s like passing a law saying the only cars we are allowed to buy are four door sedans. No hatchbacks, no convertibles. The assumption is we are too stupid to make our own choices.

Most of the policyholders dumped this month no longer had their grandfathered plans. Their current plans were cancelled because they don’t provide the “10 essential benefits.” Essential, that is, according to the experts. Fifty year old couples must pay for maternity care. And straight arrows must pay for substance abuse treatment.