Fun fact: If not for Cory Booker, this guy would almost certainly have spent this morning being sworn in as New Jersey’s new senator.
There are two ways Democrats can spin the “if you like your plan” debacle. One is Jon Gruber’s way: Be brutally honest that, when you’re foisting a new redistribution scheme on America, there are bound to be some losers. If everything works according to plan, which gets less likely by the day, then the number of losers will be relatively small. Emphasis on “relatively.”
The other half, however, also three per cent of the population, will have to buy a new product that complies with the A.C.A.’s more stringent requirements for individual plans. A significant portion of these roughly nine million Americans will be forced to buy a new insurance policy with higher premiums than they currently pay. The primary reason for the increased cost is that the A.C.A. bans any plan that would require a people who get sick to pay medical fees greater than six thousand dollars per year. In other words, this was a deliberate policy decision that the White House and Congress made to raise the quality—and thus the premiums—of insurance policies at the bottom end of the individual market.
“We’ve decided as a society that we don’t want people to have insurance plans that expose them to more than six thousand dollars in out-of-pocket expenses,” Gruber said. Obama obviously should have known that his blanket statement about “keeping what you have” could not apply to this class of policyholders.
Gruber summarized his stats: ninety-seven per cent of Americans are either left alone or are clear winners, while three per cent are arguably losers. “We have to as a society be able to accept that,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, that’s a shame, but no law in the history of America makes everyone better off.”
Imagine a president trying to pass the highest-priority item on the Democratic policy wishlist by telling Americans “only” nine million of them will be sure losers, with some as yet undetermined number of further losers to come once the law’s unintended consequences start flowing. Gruber can get away with the omelettes-and-broken-eggs approach because he doesn’t have to face the voters like Obama and Frank Pallone do. Which brings us to the second form of spin: Lie, lie, lie your ass off and claim that the insurance plans that have been canceled to comply with ObamaCare’s new regulations were uniformly lousy, crappy “scams.” To watch Pallone in this clip, you would think that nine million people were essentially being loan-sharked by their insurance companies and now, thanks to a benevolent Democratic administration, the thieves and fraudsters have all been put out of business. Back in reality, many of the plans that have now been non-grandfathered out of existence under the regs were being offered by the same insurers whom the White House has partnered with all along in implementing ObamaCare. That is to say, the very people who conspired with him to pass this gigantic boondoggle are now being demagogued by the White House as “bad apples” because it’s a convenient way for O to pass the buck on who’s really to blame for all the cancellations.
Here’s health-care consultant Bob Laszewski, whose own “Cadillac plan” was recently canceled due to the new O-Care rules, blowing the whistle on the “bad apples” nonsense. Does the White House actually understand how the insurance industry works?
[I]ndividual health insurance policies have been regulated for decades by the states. Every policy sold in a state has to be approved by that state’s insurance commissioner. Have you heard about the longstanding debate about over whether or not states over regulate this market with too many state health insurance coverage mandates and policy requirements?
This whole issue over whether the states regulate these policies too much has been at the heart of Republican calls for insurers to be able sell individual health insurance plans across state lines––to be able to buy individual health plans from states with fewer regulations.
In this context, it is kind of hard to argue that this is a “substandard” insurance market…
Here are some charts from a 2011 report issued by the Council For Affordable Health Insurance––an advocacy group formed in large part in opposition to the large number of state health insurance mandates that already exist. This market is so regulated there is actually an advocacy group to fight it!
Follow the last link for a table showing how many state-imposed requirements insurance plans already need to comply with or else you won’t appreciate just how Orwellian Pallone’s talking-point hard sell is. And the punchline is, this really is the best spin available to Democrats on this subject — essentially calling people who’ve just received cancellation notices and who say they want their old plans back liars. Nine million people.
As a Halloween treat, read this op-ed by a 34-year-old who’s just been pink-slipped by his insurance company as it’s surely scaring the shinola out of some Democratic press shops today. He earns slightly too much to be eligible for subsidies and his new ObamaCare-approved plan will cost him more each year out of pocket and in co-pays for individual visits — which, ironically, means he’s less inclined to seek treatment now except in emergencies. He understands the point of the new scheme — a wealth transfer from the middle class’s young and healthy to the old, sick, and poor — and he’s not happy about being placed once again on the hook for another demographic. Three percent of the population isn’t much, relatively, but it’s enough to swing close elections. Good luck, red-state Democrats.