Video: WH argued in court that majority of group plans would end despite grandfathering

posted at 4:01 pm on November 19, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

We actually saw this three weeks ago from Avik Roy at Forbes, who perused the federal register and discovered that HHS noted quietly that the new mandates from ObamaCare wouldn’t just impact the individual market.  They estimated that as many as 93 million Americans will lose their existing group plans provided through their employers, making mince meat of the “you can keep your plan” promise from Barack Obama — made repeatedly even after the HHS commentary.  Andrew McCarthy upped the ante by finding a brief filed by the Department of Justice in Priests for Life v HHS that not only acknowledged that reality, but argued it in court:

It gets worse. My friends at the American Freedom Law Center (on whose advisory board I sit) are representing Priests for Life, a group aggrieved by Obamacare’s denial of religious liberty — specifically, the ACA’s mandate that believers, despite their faith-based objections, provide their employees with coverage for the use of abortifacients and contraceptives. On October 17, the Obama Department of Health and Human Services, represented by the Obama Justice Department, submitted a brief to the federal district court in Washington, opposing Priests for Life’s summary judgment motion. On page 27 of its brief, the Justice Department makes the following remarkable assertion:

The [ACA’s] grandfathering provision’s incremental transition does not undermine the government’s interests in a significant way. [Citing, among other sources, the Federal Register.] Even under the grandfathering provision, it is projected that more group health plans will transition to the requirements under the regulations as time goes on. Defendants have estimated that a majority of group health plans will have lost their grandfather status by the end of 2013.

HHS and the Justice Department cite the same section of the Federal Register referred to by John Hinderaker, as well as an annual survey on “Employer Health Benefits” compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2012.

So, while the president has been telling us that, under the vaunted grandfathering provision, all Americans who like their health-insurance plans will be able to keep them, “period,” his administration has been representing in federal court that most health plans would lose their “grandfather status” by the end of this year. Not just the “5 percent” of individual-market consumers, but close to all consumers — including well over 100 million American workers who get coverage through their jobs — have been expected by the president swiftly to “transition to the requirements under the [Obamacare] regulations.” That is, their health-insurance plans would be eliminated. They would be forced into Obamacare-compliant plans, with all the prohibitive price hikes and coercive mandates that “transition” portends.

Obamacare is a massive fraudulent scheme. A criminal investigation should be opened. Obviously, the Obama Justice Department will not do that, but the House of Representatives should commence hearings into the offenses that have been committed in the president’s deception of the American people.

Last night on The Kelly File, McCarthy called this deception “about as insidious as it gets”:

As I wrote at the time, this shows that the real damage from the ObamaCare rollout has yet to arrive.  Thanks to the delay in the employer mandate, those plans won’t change until 2015 — but that means insurers have to force people out of their existing plans by the time open enrollment for 2015 starts, which is October 2014.  That will just be a few weeks before the midterm elections, and the resultant outrage over the disruption of existing coverage will make the last few weeks look like a minor kerfuffle.


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