Everybody Gets Health Insurance! Everybody Gets Health Insurance!
The eagle-eyed sleuths at Investor’s Business Daily recently dug up a nefarious provision in the House’s 1,018-page health care bill that prohibits you from keeping your current private insurance if any changes are made to it.
On p. 16.
This, in a bill whose table of contents and “general definitions” run to p. 14. So the House has written a bill whose key, most egregious proviso is hidden so poorly that the authors apparently assumed the public couldn’t be bothered to click two pages to get to it.
Evidently this was too much work for President Obama, whose response during a news conference on Monday at Children’s Hospital to a concerned caller from Maine asking if he was interpreting the stipulation correctly was, “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.” What part of the bill is Obama familiar with—the cover?
But don’t worry—Obama says, “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.” He sure doesn’t know any differently!
In Section 102—that is, the second part of the first section, two pages into the bill—ironically titled, “Protecting the Choice to Keep Current Coverage,” the bill puts the following limitation on those who wish to eschew government-approved options and keep their own coverage: “[T]he individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage [must] not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.”
So it turns out that if you like your health plan, you can keep it—as long as you don’t start liking your health plan on or after the first day of Y1!
The subsequent clause, which discusses dependents, helpfully notes that if you’re sick of your current individual plan and want to switch to a different plan, you still can’t—but the government will be nice enough to let you enroll new dependents under that plan you hate!
Following this is a clause that graciously requires that after five years, “an employment-based health plan in operation as of the day before the first day of Y1 must meet the same requirements as apply to a qualified health benefits plan.”
So we’ve unearthed yet another loophole in the first 1% of the bill: if you like the health plan you have, and you happen to get it from your employer, which includes 62% of the population under 65, you can keep it—except that after five years, you can’t!
But don’t expect Obama to be familiar with that provision, either—after all, it’s buried deep into the third page of text in the bill.
After you burrow your way through the labyrinthine textual warrens of pages 17-19, you’ll learn that “qualified” plans may not exclude anyone on the basis of preexisting condition. On p. 21, the bill mandates that premiums may not vary at all, except by age, state, and family size; and that the highest-to-lowest premium ratio by age group may not be more than 2-to-1.
According to these conditions, a 40-year-old who has chosen to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day his whole life and has contracted lung cancer could end up being charged as little as half the rate of a perfectly healthy non-smoking 60-year-old, just because the 60-year-old is older and has chosen not to smoke. “Health Choices Act” indeed!
Several years ago, when it was revealed that audience members in Oprah Winfrey’s infamous Great Car Giveaway would have to fork over $7,000 each in taxes, the winners at least had the option to sell the car to pay the taxes and keep the difference—or forfeit the car altogether.
H.R. 3200 isn’t so generous—according to the bill, those who are not in a health plan the government finds acceptable will be fined the full cost of the average plan for their family size. In other words, you can’t refuse to pay for government-approved health insurance for you and your family, whether you even want or receive it or not.
Rasmussen recently reported that Democrats’ perceived trust advantage over Republicans in the area of health care plummeted from 18 percentage points in May to 4 points in June. No wonder Obama is racing to get this legislation through Congress before they go to August recess: at the current rate, Republicans will be leading on health care by 38 points come September.
In his speech at Children’s Hospital, Obama intoned, “There are some in this town who are content to perpetuate the status quo, are in fact fighting reform on behalf of powerful special interests.”
There are some around this country who are fighting “reform” on behalf of liberty.