Obama no Promise Keeper: WaPo
posted at 9:28 am on August 18, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Barack Obama continues to promise that his health-care reform won’t change anything for the 83% of people already satisfied with their current coverage. In every appearance, Barack Obama uses some form of this quote:“Under the reform we’re proposing, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” USA Today fact-checked that in a sidebar last week among other claims, but yesterday the Washington Post devoted an entire article on just this one promise — and concludes that Obama can’t keep that promise:
In the marketplace, called an exchange or gateway, employees could end up with more and better options, analysts say. Even a top Republican staffer to the Senate committee, who is not authorized to speak for the record, agrees with that assessment. But Democratic legislative aides said there is no assurance that any of the options offered in the exchange would be the same as employees’ current coverage.
Because coverage offered through an exchange would have to comply with new requirements, it could easily be different.
At a minimum, the exchanges would be open to small employers, but government officials would have the discretion to open the exchanges to larger employers. …
In a campaign to dispel alleged myths about health reform, the White House has posted a “Reality Check” on its Web site. “You can keep your own insurance,” it declares.
Obama’s promise is not just at odds with legislative proposals — it is also at odds with reality.
The CBO predicted that millions of people would get tossed out of their current, employer-based coverage, and that will happen for at least two reasons. On what the White House would consider a more positive note, current plans that do not meet the mandates required for coverage to be offered through the exchanges would be dropped either immediately or within a short period of time, and employers would have to choose a plan that did meet the mandates. That means that people who were satisfied with their coverage would lose it because the government was dissatisfied with the plan, although ObamaCare backers insist that would improve the coverage — without explaining how.
The second and more likely scenario is that employers will realize that paying the fine/tax for not providing health-care coverage for their employees is cheaper than paying for the coverage in the new system. When that threshold gets met, employers will dump people out of their existing plans in droves, paying the fine/tax and forcing their employees to buy plans from the exchanges. A mass exodus would cause the insurers to receive a big shock to their risk pools, and many will leave the market altogether — leaving people will few choices but the public plan and ObamaCare.
Nothing in ObamaCare guarantees that people satisfied with their current coverage will be able to keep it. In fact, all of the incentives in ObamaCare align in the opposite direction. Obama wants to overhaul the entire system, which means that the status quo will disappear across a wide swath of the US. The 85% of people who have coverage now will certainly get impacted heavily in such a radical makeover, and Obama is flat-out lying when he insists that his overhaul will mean a maintenance of the status quo.