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Obamacare Trojan Horse: Is White House Muzzling Insurance Companies?

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 31, 2013 9:30 AM |

Classics scholars are familiar with Virgil’s legendary warning, “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes,” i.e. “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

Just as the Greeks on the mainland would have been well served to be leery of what the Trojans were hiding in their “gift,” the American public may also want to be very careful as to what lies deeply within the administration’s newly released horse, aka Obamacare.

If transparency is indeed the great disinfectant, then there is seemingly a lot that might smell in the Obamacare stable. Put on the heavy boots and let’s navigate.

Our President and his minions would like the American public to believe that it is “only” 5 per cent of the population that are experiencing the cancellation of “junk” insurance policies purchased on the individual market. They make that arrogant assertion contrary to the endless number of personal stories indicating otherwise. (e.g. Los Angeles Times commentary Obamacare: Unfair to the Young Middle Class, Punished Enough Already)

The administration maintains that if not for this seemingly small percentage of people, then we might believe the President should still be regarded as genuine, honest, and honorable in stating, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.”

Do you hear a heavy naying sound in the background?

Let’s dig a little deeper through the dung to reveal that it is not merely 15 million people who are poised to have or already have had their policies cancelled.

Forbes provides meaningful transparency on the Obamacare Trojan Horse (now we understand what Ms. Pelosi meant in stating, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it”) in writing, Obama Officials in 2010: 93 Million Americans Will Be Unable To Keep Their Health Care Plans Under Obamacare:

On Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney attempted to minimize the disruption issue, arguing that it only affected people who buy insurance on their own. “That’s the universe we’re talking about, 5 percent of the population,” said Carney. “In some of the coverage of this issue in the last several days, you would think that you were talking about 75 percent or 80 percent or 60 percent of the American population.” (5 percent of the population happens to be 15 million people, no small number, but let’s leave that aside.)

But Carney’s dismissal of the media’s concerns was wrong, on several fronts. Contrary to the reporting of NBC, the administration’s commentary in the Federal Register did not only refer to the individual market, but also the market for employer-sponsored health insurance.

Section 1251 of the Affordable Care Act contains what’s called a “grandfather” provision that, in theory, allows people to keep their existing plans if they like them. But subsequent regulations from the Obama administration interpreted that provision so narrowly as to prevent most plans from gaining this protection.

Subsequent regulations? As in the administration changed the legislation ex post facto? Sniff, sniff, sniff . . . digging deeper through the manure we uncover:

“The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,” wrote the administration on page 34552. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their “grandfather status” and get canceled. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 156 million Americans—more than half the population—was covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2013.

How many people are exposed to these problems? 60 percent of Americans have private-sector health insurance—precisely the number that Jay Carney dismissed. As to the number of people facing cancellations, 51 percent of the employer-based market plus 53.5 percent of the non-group market (the middle of the administration’s range) amounts to 93 million Americans.

How might the White House keep under muzzle the fact that Obama’s signature legislation was changed after the fact, and that 93 millions will likely have their healthcare plans cancelled? Compel the insurance companies to STFU.

Is that right? Listen to this 3-minute delivery on CNN to learn more,

How much do you trust and believe what is being put forth by the White House and others on this largest gift horse running wild across the American economic landscape? I mean regardless of your political leaning, who does not believe that President Obama intentionally misrepresented — er, lied — to the American public in his oft-referenced statement about keeping your plan.

The real question now is not did Obama lie in the past, but did he lie once again just yesterday in stating that it is only a small percentage of people who would have their plans cancelled.

Yes indeed, transparency is the great disinfectant.

Navigate accordingly.

I thank our regular reader Ray who linked to video clip yesterday in his comment.

Larry Doyle

Please pre-order a copy of my book, In Bed with Wall Street: The Conspiracy Crippling Our Global Economy, that will be published by Palgrave Macmillan on January 7, 2014.

For those reading this via a syndicated outlet or receiving it via e-mail or another delivery, please visit the blog to view the embedded video clip and to comment on this piece of ‘sense on cents.’

Please subscribe to all my work via e-mail, an RSS feed, on Twitter, or Facebook.

I have no business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Always Learning

    Democrats Scramble to Distance Themselves from Obamacare

    Other Democrats now say they agree with Republicans that a delay of the individual mandate may be the only way to salvage the disaster and save face.

    Oh really? The delay that would have been the compromise to avoid a government shutdown? That delay? So who caused the shutdown? What hypocrites.

  • LD

    Florida Blue canceled policies for 300,000 Floridians, Kaiser Permanente dropped 160,000 individual plan holders in California, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina mailed out 160,000 cancellation notices.

    It’s happening nearly everywhere. People were promised they could keep their health insurance plan. That was a lie. They were duped and dropped.

    The liar is none other than the president of the United States. On June 15, 2009, President Obama told a town hall meeting: “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise … if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

    The fine print in his health law proves that he never intended to keep that promise.

    Sec. 1251(a)(1) of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) says that no one can be required to give up a plan in effect on March 23, 2010, when the law was passed. Those plans are “grandfathered.” But following that guarantee is a list of costly requirements that made it difficult for insurers to keep offering your plan.

    It gets worse. Union plans were “grandfathered” with none of those fine-print tricks and exceptions. Sec. 1251(d).
    The law also left open the possibility that the president could impose additional requirements on grandfathered plans (except union plans). Two months after ObamaCare was passed, the IRS, Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services – all reporting to the president – churned out hundreds of additional rules to make it even harder for grandfathered plans to survive.

    The rule makers knew that they were turning the president’s promise into a flimflam. They estimated that up to 69% of individual plans and 89% of small-group plans would be canceled by the end of 2013 as a result of their rules (Federal Register, June 14, 2010).

    Obama’s Health Care Reform Has Been A Lie From Day One

    • Kathleen

      I was wondering why the unions had suddenly stopped complaining. So, they received special grandfathering status. All of Obama’s friends are getting treats on Halloween, but the rest of us were tricked. Many of us, however, were not really tricked. We knew all along he was lying.

      Who is going to put an end to Obama’s ACA sweetheart deals, which go against the law?

      The favors to his friends are at the expense of the rest of us who have to pick up the tab.

  • Ted

    Maybe Wilson was prescient.

  • Peter Scannell

    Where is the discussion from either party concerning the exorbitant cost of medical care in the U.S., never mind our access to affordable individual medical coverage?

    How can any insurance coverage for exorbitant care be made affordable?

    Why are our medical care costs in the U.S. through the roof as compared with other industrialized countries?

    Tort reform anyone?

  • Peter Scannell

    The $1 Million Dollar Mistake: Becoming A Doctor

  • Krauthammer

    Every disaster has its moment of clarity. Physicist Richard Feynman dunks an O-ring into ice water and everyone understands instantly why the shuttle Challenger exploded. This week, the Obamacare O-ring froze for all the world to see: Hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters went out to people who had been assured a dozen times by the president that “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.”

    The cancellations lay bare three pillars of Obamacare: (a) mendacity, (b) paternalism and (c) subterfuge.

    (a) Those letters are irrefutable evidence that President Obama’s repeated you-keep-your-coverage claim was false. Why were they sent out? Because Obamacare renders illegal (with exceedingly narrow “grandfathered” exceptions) the continuation of any insurance plan deemed by Washington regulators not to meet their arbitrary standards for adequacy. Example: No maternity care? You are terminated.

    So a law designed to cover the uninsured is now throwing far more people off their insurance than it can possibly be signing up on the nonfunctioning insurance exchanges. Indeed, most of the 19 million people with individual insurance will have to find new and likely more expensive coverage. And that doesn’t even include the additional millions who are sure to lose their employer-provided coverage. That’s a lot of people. That’s a pretty big lie.

    But perhaps Obama didn’t know. Maybe the bystander president was as surprised by this as he claims to have been by the IRS scandal, the Associated Press and James Rosen phone logs, the failure of the Obamacare Web site, the premeditation of the Benghazi attacks, the tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone — i.e., the workings of the federal government of which he is the nominal head.

    I’m skeptical. It’s not as if the Obamacare plan-dropping is an obscure regulation. It’s at the heart of Obama’s idea of federally regulated and standardized national health insurance.

    Still, how could he imagine getting away with a claim sure to be exposed as factually false?

    The same way he maintained for two weeks that false narrative about Benghazi. He figured he’d get away with it.

    And he did. Simple formula: Delay, stonewall and wait for a supine and protective press to turn spectacularly incurious.

    Look at how the New York Times covered his “keep your plan” whopper — buried on page 17 with a headline calling the cancellations a “prime target.” As if this is a partisan issue and not a brazen falsehood clear to any outside observer — say, The Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler, who gave the president’s claim four Pinocchios. Noses don’t come any longer.

    (b) Beyond mendacity, there is liberal paternalism, of which these forced cancellations are a classic case. We canceled your plan, explained presidential spokesman Jay Carney, because it was substandard. We have a better idea.

    Translation: Sure, you freely chose the policy, paid for the policy, renewed the policy, liked the policy. But you’re too primitive to know what you need. We do. Your policy is hereby canceled.

    Because what you really need is what our experts have determined must be in every plan. So a couple in their 60s must buy maternity care. A teetotaler must buy substance abuse treatment. And a healthy 28-year-old with perfectly appropriate catastrophic insurance must pay for bells and whistles for which he has no use.

    It’s Halloween. There is a knock at your door. You hear: “We’re the government and we’re here to help.”

    You hide.

    (c) As for subterfuge, these required bells and whistles aren’t just there to festoon the health-care Christmas tree with voter-pleasing freebies. The planners knew all along that if you force insurance buyers to overpay for stuff they don’t need, that money can subsidize other people.

    Obamacare is the largest transfer of wealth in recent American history. But you can’t say that openly lest you lose elections. So you do it by subterfuge: hidden taxes, penalties, mandates and coverage requirements that yield a surplus of overpayments.

    So that your president can promise to cover 30 million uninsured without costing the government a dime. Which from the beginning was the biggest falsehood of them all. And yet the free lunch is the essence of modern liberalism. Free mammograms, free preventative care, free contraceptives for Sandra Fluke. Come and get it.

    And then when you find your policy canceled, your premium raised and your deductible outrageously increased, you’ve learned the real meaning of “free” in the liberal lexicon: something paid for by your neighbor — best, by subterfuge.

    Obamacare Laid Bare

  • Small BD

    Insurers have always adjusted their plans to accommodate new regulations, patterns of use, healthcare inflation, etc. Certain things, such as pre-existing conditions allowances, need to be priced in. Perhaps Obama, who did not rise through the insurance industry, used badly worded political salesmanship. But all of this “you lied” business is hateful and, in a way, immoral. More to the point- why are you stirring up all this hatred?

  • Small BD

    Not to mention the spitefulness of all those States refusing to expand their Medicaid programs. Who benefits from that?

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