Amazing stuff via Mediaite. The “Keep Your Plan Act” is Fred Upton’s bill, which Jay Carney spent a few minutes attacking at today’s press briefing because it would make canceled plans available to all consumers, not just the ones who’d been enrolled in those plans before. That would be a disaster for the insurance industry. Healthy people would flee the new, more expensive plans for the resurrected cheaper ones, leaving no one in the new risk pool except sick people with very expensive treatments. That means either heavy losses for insurers, steep premium hikes next year to make up the difference, or some sort of federal bailout (congrats, red-state Democrats!) — or maybe a little of all three. You’ll have the same problem, though, albeit to a lesser extent, even if Upton’s bill is amended so that it applies only to people who’d been enrolled in a particular plan before it was cancelled. You can’t run a two-tiered healthy/sick insurance system. If the risk pools aren’t merged, replete with higher rates for the former, you can’t pay for the latter.
I understand why the GOP would back Upton’s bill. It’s a slam dunk politically, grinding Obama’s face in the consequences of his lie. This is the Democrats’ mess; Reid and the Senate can/will kill the bill if they like. I can’t understand why House Democrats, aware of the adverse selection problem that’s lurking here — and the political humiliation for the White House — would sign on, unless they’ve already reached a point of such pure terror over the “if you like your plan” backlash that they’re willing to kneecap ObamaCare six weeks out of the gate. Did they … not understand that millions of people were going to face cancellations and higher premiums under the law’s redistributive scheme? Of course they did. Steny Hoyer, number two in the Democratic caucus admitted it on October 29th. Fast forward two weeks and here’s where Hoyer is now:
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do on the Upton bill,” the Maryland Democrat said at a Tuesday briefing with reporters when discussing legislation sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.
Hoyer noted that he was “inclined not to be for the Upton bill at this time,” but he emphasized that he was “not closed to the option,” and would “reserve judgment” until he had seen the legislative text, which is reportedly undergoing some tweaks.
“I agree that people who purchased their policies prior to [the law’s enactment date] ought to be able to keep their policies,” he said.
If he agrees that they should be able to keep their policies, why did he vote for ObamaCare? The whole point of the law is that healthy middle-class people shouldn’t be allowed to keep policies that have relatively low premiums. We need to gouge those suckers with higher premiums for new “comprehensive” plans so that we can pay for the preexisting conditions of the sick. It’s like voting for immigration reform and then feigning surprise in five years when the newly “secure” border hasn’t halted illegal immigration. It’s not supposed to do that. That’s something you tell the hoi polloi in order to give Congress enough cover to vote for it.
The vote on Upton’s bill is set for Friday, which, per CNN’s source on the Hill, means the White House has 48 hours or so to come up with its own proposal for letting people keep their plans — adverse selection problem or not — before Democrats head for the lifeboats. Greg Sargent claims that the Democratic leadership is now warning the rank and file that rich liberal donors won’t look kindly at them if they abandon The One on his big “accomplishment.” I’ll leave you with this, just to show that the fear isn’t limited to Dems in red states. After a million cancellations, even DiFi’s nervous:
Feinstein: "I have decided to cosponsor Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) legislation: Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act."
— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 12, 2013