A Republican proposal that would allow people to keep their current health insurance plan does more to shift the blame for the fiasco created by Obamacare – under which millions of Americans are losing their coverage – than to solve the problem.
That’s according to an analysis by Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens.
Several Republicans, and even some Democrats, have started working on plans to allow consumers to keep their existing policies.
An estimated 4 million Americans who have individual policies already have received policy cancellation notices from insurance companies. Experts expect the same problem a year from now for those who get health insurance through their employer as Obamacare will require policies to have certain minimal standards.
As a solution, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., has proposed a plan called “If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It,” which purportedly would allow Americans to stay with their current insurance.
Mehrens blasted that idea out of the water, calling it “both bad policy and bad politics.”
“The proposal is bad policy because it does not reflect the reality of shifting insurance pools due to the imposition of Obamacare and provides a false expectation among customers,” he said.
“Congress waving a magic wand and declaring that insurers can now offer existing insurance plans for another year that may or may not have the necessary customer base to support it does not solve the underlying problem caused by Obamacare,” said Mehrens.
“Worse, it allows those very members of Congress who are responsible for the Obamacare disaster to blame the health insurers for cancellations while offering false hope that Congress has taken a meaningful action,” he continued. “In the ‘brave new world’ of the politics of the possible, it is likely that shifting blame while not taking real action to stop the Obamacare train wreck, will be a popular solution.”
He called the effort “political gamesmanship” and said it doesn’t help in the effort toward a “real solution of repealing, defunding or delaying” the law.
Americans for Limited Government is urging a no vote on the Upton ‘Don’t Blame Us’ legislation.
“It doesn’t solve the problem of Obamacare-caused health insurance cancellations, while crassly allowing Congress to point their fingers at the private health insurance industry for cancellations caused by the president’s health care law,” Mehrens said.
Millions of people in the individual health insurance market now already have been informed their policies are being canceled because they don’t meet the minimum demands of Obamacare.
The reason that the number isn’t tens of millions, or more, is that the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate for a year.
Mehrens may be among the most vocal, but he’s not the only one raising objections to Upton’s measure.
The left-leaning Think Progress noted that Upton’s plan “would exempt insurers from the new minimum benefits established by health care reform,” it doesn’t “prevent companies from changing their policies voluntarily or dropping coverage.”
Think Progress cited Washington & Lee professor Tim Jost, who said the amendment would apparently permit insurers to continue to renew substandard insurance policies through 2014.
“It would not require them to do so, however, and it is likely that many insurers, having set their rates based on their anticipated 2014 risk pool and benefits would not go back and redo all of their rates,’” Jost Said.
Among others, House Democratic whip Rep. Steny Hoyer conceded this week that top Democrats knew Obamacare would force people off their plans, even as President Obama continued to issue his promise, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan”.”
National Review said that besides the “shift blame” criticism, the delay could be manipulated by Obama to his advantage.
“One Machiavellian take on that impact of delaying the individual mandate is that, from the anti-Obamacare perspective, it could be a feature, not a bug, in that it increases the impetus for reform and could prompt the so-called death spiral in which prices keep rising, exacerbating the health-insurance problem while forcing all but the sickest people out of the plans. Two counterarguments are offered. Such a plan is tantamount to harming people on purpose. Second, as some on the right caution, creating an outcry for reform doesn’t necessarily mean the resulting reform would be conservative. For instance, Obama could blame the GOP and seize on the dysfunction to push for single-payer health care.”
At Slate, John Dickerson wrote about the underlying quicksand in Obamacare.
“White House senior adviser Valeria Jarrett tweeted Monday night: ‘FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.’ Of course the insurance companies wouldn’t have had to change plans if it hadn’t been for Obamacare,” he wrote.
He quoted Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who saw in 2009 precisely what was coming.
“On the stump,” Price said four years ago, “the president regularly tells Americans that ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.’ But if you read the bill, that just isn’t so. For starters, within five years, every health care plan will have to meet a new federal definition for coverage – one that your current plan might not match, even if you like it.”
At Town Hall, Guy Benson noted Democrats now are getting frantic over the problems with Obamacare, mainly because they will soon be up for re-election.
He pointed out a benefit for the GOP, however, if such a “keep your plan” law is approved in Congress.
“If it passes, Obama will be in the excruciatingly awkward position of being forced to veto a proposal that’s literally named after the most famous promise of his presidency,” he wrote.