Surprise! ‘You can keep your coverage’ is not so truthy

The most obviously false claim that President Obama made during the health-care debate — and there were many — was that, regardless of the new law he sought, you could keep your current health coverage if you were satisfied with it. It was obviously false because existing plans were still going to be made to comply with certain mandates after a grace period, and new mandates always cost something for someone — the health consumer, the employer subsidizing the coverage or, most likely, both.

Some of us were pointing out that this wasn’t true in one iteration of the health bill almost 11 months ago. But since the president kept repeating his claim (albeit with ever-evolving nuance to cover himself), I guess fresh confirmation that it isn’t so qualifies as news. From the Associated Press:

Over and over in the health care debate, President Barack Obama said people who like their current coverage would be able to keep it.

But an early draft of an administration regulation estimates that many employers will be forced to make changes to their health plans under the new law. In just three years, a majority of workers — 51 percent — will be in plans subject to new federal requirements, according to midrange projections in the draft.

Republicans said Obama broke his promise. Employer groups were divided.

The rest of the article covers the debate between those who say the president broke his promise and those who say, Eh, yeah, but don’t worry because you’ll like the new benefits.

The latter argument is a nice spin job, but it misses the point. The president didn’t say, “No one will have worse coverage after I’m done.” He said, directly and repeatedly, that he wasn’t forcing anyone into anything — a claim made to convince Americans that nothing would change for those who were already content.

His administration is now debating whether that promise has passed its expiration date. And keep in mind that its decision now will be subject to change. If the law gives the executive branch latitude to make this decision, that decision can always be reversed or modified.

In the real world, consumers have to balance the worth of new benefits against their cost. When you aren’t given the choice of accepting the new benefits or not, you’re left paying for them whether or not you like or can afford them.

It’s another way this new law makes our system more, not less, broken.

69 comments Add your comment

StJ

June 14th, 2010
11:40 am

It’s all about control…always has been, always will be.

fiff

June 14th, 2010
11:41 am

Everything out of the Neo-Comm’s mouth during his campaign was a lie. The most obvious thing, to even the most uneducated of Democrat voters, should have been that if one provider doesn’t have to make a profit (the government) then that will surely put those companies out of business that do need a profit (the private sector). How exactly is that fair???

This is the most dangerous, corrupt, dishonest, incompetent administration this nation has ever had to endure. And yes, that even includes Carter’s miserable 4 years of Communism.

The Nimbus 5000

June 14th, 2010
11:53 am

Obamoa has just killed the democrat party. Oh well.

CJ

June 14th, 2010
11:59 am

More from the same AP article:

The main issue in the 83-page regulation is how to deal with what the government calls ‘grandfathered’ health plans.

Those are plans that predated the health care law and are exempt from many, but not all, of its consumer protections. Lawmakers created the special category to deliver on Obama’s promise that people can keep the coverage they have if they like it.

But health plans change frequently. Premiums and copayments keep rising. Coverage is expanded for some services and restricted for others. Lawmakers asked regulators to spell out how much an employer can change a plan and still claim it to be grandfathered, exempting it from closer federal regulation.

Gelfand, the Chamber of Commerce expert, said the draft rules are too inflexible. Generally plans can lose their protected status by increasing copayments and deductibles above certain limits,…

In short, if insurers increase deductibles or reduce copayments on existing coverage, then they’re no longer grandfathered in such that they wouldn’t have had to comply with new consumer protections. And making health insurers comply with the new consumer protections makes Kyle’s blood boil.

Personally, I’ve never had a choice in who my health insurer is (because of pre-existing conditions, individual coverage is not offered at anything near an affordable price). My employer offers either an expensive plan or a more expensive plan. And my employer changes plans at their whim—whether I like my existing coverage or not. I’ve had three different insurers in the last five years with higher premiums and less coverage each year (in addition to our premiums, we just paid about $900 in out-of-pocket costs for outpatient surgery because Northside Hospital was dropped from the network).

The right can whine about consumer protections (as they always do) until the cows come home, but we’re going to be better off because of the Affordable Care Act. No doubt about it.

The Nimbus 5000

June 14th, 2010
12:08 pm

“but we’re going to be better off because of the Affordable Care Act. No doubt about it.”

Yeah, Europe is doing so well with it…..they’re going bankrupt…..and coming here for surgery.

“No doubt about it.”

Oh there’s plenty of doubt. Try 60% of Americans who want it repealed now.

Kyle Wingfield

June 14th, 2010
12:09 pm

So you agree, CJ, that the “keep your coverage” promise was always empty?

The Nimbus 5000

June 14th, 2010
12:18 pm

Hey Kyle, another democrat is in trouble. This time it’s in NC where a congressman assaulted a student.

http://www.breitbart.tv/congressman-assaults-student-on-washington-sidewalk/

fiff

June 14th, 2010
12:22 pm

Nimbus 5000,

The radical leftists are officially off their rockers now. They have always had a difficult time in dealing with reality, but the fact they control the White House and both halls of Congress and are fully responsible for all disaster taking place right now is causing them more mental instability than usual.

Richard

June 14th, 2010
12:26 pm

If there’s one thing the whole health care thing has taught me, it’s that there are actually people out there that like their health insurance provider. I’d never have guessed it. I used to think the providers were all a bunch of bureaucratic scum bags that made it more and more difficult to get a reimbursement every year.

Personally, if my health insurance provider goes belly up, I wouldn’t miss them. I didn’t realize I was in a minority on that. Oh and they can take my auto insurance provider with them.

The Nimbus 5000

June 14th, 2010
12:33 pm

Here is something else the demotards won’t talk about.

Fannie-Freddie Fix at $160 Billion With $1 Trillion Worst Case

The cost of fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies that last year bought or guaranteed three-quarters of all U.S. home loans, will be at least $160 billion and could grow to as much as $1 trillion after the biggest bailout in American history.

Fannie and Freddie, now 80 percent owned by U.S. taxpayers, already have drawn $145 billion from an unlimited line of government credit granted to ensure that home buyers can get loans while the private housing-finance industry is moribund. That surpasses the amount spent on rescues of American International Group Inc., General Motors Co. or Citigroup Inc., which have begun repaying their debts.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=an_hcY9YaJas&pos=10

Swami Dave

June 14th, 2010
12:37 pm

Apparently, not only does CJ agree that the “keep your coverage” promise and assurance was empty (read: spin shilled by the administration and its sycophant mouthpieces), but they are also completely ok with the deception since it will spread some of their own personal misery and problems with health care to other Americans.

It has little to do with improving care for CJ (or anyone else for that matter), but just ensuring that there is equally lower-quality, ever-increasing-cost care for all.

Ah, the net result of liberal lowest-common-denominator politics!

-SD

Dee

June 14th, 2010
12:39 pm

Richard – I have unscientifically concluded that the more contact you have with your carrier the less pleased a person tends to be with its performance. Seems that the people I know who use medical services frequently – either due to an actual continuing medical condition or just because they are the kind of folks who go the doctor for every little thing – tend to complain more about the carrier and coverage. I got into a low-premium plan this year that covers all preventive services, my employer gives me $1,000 over that and then I have to pay the next $2,500 before an 80/20 split kicks in. I am a 40yo woman and I go to the Gyno once per year and have a mammogram as well. Other than that, I eat healthy (vegetarian/vegan), keep my weight down, don’t smoke or drink and try to swim and bike regularly for exercise. My biggest vice is lack of sleep due to a very demanding career. If I get a pain I take an aspirin; if I get a cold I take some Zicam and maybe some TheraFlu to kill it. I have no bills and a nice nest egg (and home I can tap into), so if I get sick the issue of coverage is really secondary to me — do what is necessary to cure me and I will pay if the insurance doesn’t. If I had chronic health problems and/or lacked money, I would probably be complaining about the coverage…..knock on wood….all I know is that one way or another we are going to get screwed with the government involved.

Ariana Huffington: The new health car czar

June 14th, 2010
12:42 pm

As your new healt care zar, I’z will make sur eveyone has d heatl care.

CJ

June 14th, 2010
12:45 pm

Kyle “So you agree, CJ, that the ‘keep your coverage‘ promise was always empty?

No, I do not agree. Keeping the same insurer is not the same as keeping the same coverage.

If an insurer significantly modifies the coverage provided is grandfathered in under the ACA (e.g., increase deductibles, increase copayments, increase co-insurance, add limitations to coveragee, drop providers from networks,…) then the insured has not “kept their coverage”.

In my example, I indicated that I have never “kept my coverage” from one year to the next (or sometimes one month to the next when major providers are dropped from the network without notice to insureds) even when using the same insurer, because the premiums consistently increase while the coverage significantly decreases.

If an insurer changes the coverage provided, as they always do, then it’s not the fault of the new legislation.

mrs. w.

June 14th, 2010
12:48 pm

Kyle – could you please call Cynthia Tucker and tell her Obama lied to the American people. She still has not seen the light.

BAMMAR

June 14th, 2010
12:57 pm

Be careful or Cynthia Tucker will be calling you a racist for pointing out our Chosen One lying to us AGAIN!

Kyle Wingfield

June 14th, 2010
1:04 pm

Surely, CJ, the president knew that the circumstances you’ve described are a common feature of health insurance in this country. So, was he using the narrow definition of “same coverage” that you used above and trying to pass it off as applying more broadly than that? Surely, CJ, the president did not utter a refrain as often as he did this one, thinking all the while that he was speaking to as small or even non-existent a group as you suggest…

Gator Joe

June 14th, 2010
1:05 pm

Kyle,
Once again you and the Right, must be reminded of your non-existant criticism of Bush/Cheney which is why you lack credibility now. Of course there may be unintended consequences of this health care legislation, however, on balance it is far better than what Republicans did during their majority regarding healthcare, which was nothing. Don’t worry though, the Republicans will undoubtedly, once again, have their opportunity to govern in the future, and the Democrats will be waiting to clean up the mess.

Kyle Wingfield

June 14th, 2010
1:07 pm

Gator Joe: I agree that the GOP could have acted on health care when it had the majority. It didn’t, but does that mean the right should just quietly accept what the Democrats do? Even if we believe it is worse than doing nothing?

Sorry, but I don’t buy into that kind of politics and discourse.

The Nimbus 5000

June 14th, 2010
1:14 pm

“which is why you lack credibility now.”

If you think the right lacks credibility, you should check out the bozo in the White House.

“it is far better than what Republicans did during their majority regarding healthcare, which was nothing.”

That’s because the GOP doesn’t believe in government mandated health care. Neither do the majority of Americans.

“Democrats will be waiting to clean up the mess.”

Huh, if the Democrats were put in office to clean up the mess, why have they created 20 times the mess the GOP left behind?

CJ

June 14th, 2010
1:26 pm

Kyle “So, was he using the narrow definition of ’same coverage’ that you used above…

Narrow definition of coverage?

In my case, a major provider is dropped in the middle of the policy year resulting in an unexpected $900 bill. Narrow definition of coverage? Coverage for certain conditions previously provided has been dropped. Narrow definition of coverage? Annual out-of-pocket limit doubles from $5,000 to $10,000. Narrow definition of coverage? Premium increases equal to double or triple the inflation rate. Narrow definition of coverage?

Kyle, you have mastered the art of turning nothing into something (employers change insurers all the time without regard for employee wishes) and something into nothing (”narrow definition of coverage”).

Well done.

CJ

June 14th, 2010
1:27 pm

(Here it is without the obnoxious italics. Sorry.)

Kyle “So, was he using the narrow definition of ’same coverage’ that you used above…”

Narrow definition of coverage?

In my case, a major provider is dropped in the middle of the policy year resulting in an unexpected $900 bill. Narrow definition of coverage? Coverage for certain conditions previously provided has been dropped. Narrow definition of coverage? Annual out-of-pocket limit doubles from $5,000 to $10,000. Narrow definition of coverage? Premium increases equal to double or triple the inflation rate. Narrow definition of coverage?

Kyle, you have mastered the art of turning nothing into something (employers change insurers all the time without regard for employee wishes) and something into nothing (”narrow definition of coverage”).

Well done.

Malrse

June 14th, 2010
1:32 pm

Since when is acting on something a guaranteed good thing? The GOP did exactly the correct thing regarding healthcare during Bush’s 8 years, which was nothing. Just as we have painfully learned with Obama’s promise of “change,” just because you “change” or do something doesn’t always mean the results will be positive or welcomed.

wex

June 14th, 2010
1:35 pm

CT banned me for simply stating the obvious apparently. No profanity, no attacks, no insults, nothing. Unlike half the liberal goons she allows to pollute her blogs. No, I simply stated the facts and asked her engaging, challenging questions and that was enough for me to feel her wrath of the liberal version of the “Fairness” Act.

BADA BING

June 14th, 2010
1:52 pm

Cynthia banned me also. She wants nothing but yes men. I am not surprised she is single.

The Nimbus 5000

June 14th, 2010
2:01 pm

wex and BADA BING

I got banned a week ago from her blog for simply posting an article that contradicted her own stolen article from WaPost. That lady doesn’t understand that the point of an open discussion is debate. She seems to think that everyone agrees with her left wing crap. I went on her blog this morning and she banned three people for calling her article racist. She denied that she posted a column about a black teacher getting fired for racist reasons. Someone asked her if the teacher was white would she still post it. BANNED! Someone called someone else a moron. BANNED. Yet, it’s perfectly fine for left wingers to call right wingers, tea b@ggers.

And she wonders why the AJC is dissolving.

The Nimbus 5000

June 14th, 2010
2:03 pm

Oh and one more thing, Cynthia likes to point out that the Bible is full of oppression against women/slaves/black people yet she’ll quote verses to poke fun at “white christians” as she once called someone.

Democrat Blame Game

June 14th, 2010
2:15 pm

Democrats want investigation into surprise Senate primary winner

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn said Sunday that he has no plans to get behind Greene and repeated his suspicions that the Democratic nominee is “someone’s plant.”

“I know a Democratic pattern. I know a Republican pattern, and I saw in the Democratic primary elephant dung all over the place,” Clyburn, the majority whip, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/06/14/greene.south.carolina.primary/index.html?hpt=T2

Urban Republican

June 14th, 2010
2:17 pm

I blame broadcast media for not interpreting and investigating the matter. The mantra during the debate was – “if President Obama does not get the bill passed by such and such date then he will look like a failure”, I thought to myself at the time “who cares if his feelings are hurt, I will be the one dealing with public healthcare while he and his family are able to pay for “select-private care”.

The President who did not want race to be an issue during the campaign turns out to be our first “affirmative-action” president. Go figure that!!!

David Smith

June 14th, 2010
2:49 pm

I guess to clarify, “You can keep your coverage, as long as it meets the minimum standards set by the agency in charge of setting those standards. If not, the plan you have will change – FOR THE BETTER”.

David Smith

June 14th, 2010
3:02 pm

For all of you throwing the “majority don’t want the health care reform law”, you need to look into what that particular statistic is made up of. Roughly half want it repealed, just because they don’t think it is the right thing for the government to have done. THE OTHER HALF do not think it goes far enough. So, 40% want to leave it alone, 30% want it to go FARTHER, and 30% want it to go away. Sounds like just a minority, smaller as a percentage than even the number of Senators in the current Congress, want it to go away.

wun kwestyun

June 14th, 2010
3:27 pm

Are there are any rethuglican non-crybabies here? I got banned and it weren’t my fault! Loooooosers.

Road Scholar

June 14th, 2010
3:39 pm

Democrat Blame Game

June 14th, 2010
4:00 pm

“Whine on!”

That’s Obamas 2012 campaign slogan.

I got banned

June 14th, 2010
4:11 pm

just cuz I’m a lamebrain hating loser that thinks I’m a brilliant loving winner

Obama the one term president

June 14th, 2010
4:44 pm

Obama goes to the Gulf…..and eats a snow cone.

Obama highlights optimism in Gulf

President Barack Obama used a lemon-lime snow cone to show that parts of the Gulf Coast remain unaffected by the oil spill –and that he’s fully engaged in the ongoing crisis on a day and a half visit to the region.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/14/white-house-dispatch-obama-highlights-optimism-in-gulf/?fbid=lyfRRbBCAlZ

CNN-The most pointless name in news

June 14th, 2010
4:47 pm

CNN just hired a guy to replace Larry King. Trouble is, the new guy quit a newspaper in the UK for his own “Rathergate.”

Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan has been sacked after the newspaper conceded photos of British soldiers abusing an Iraqi were fake.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3716151.stm

BADA BING

June 14th, 2010
4:48 pm

I have slow dial up service, and it lets me choose between fast speed and low res pictures or vice versa. I choose the low res and high speed and, let me tell you, it makes Cynthia’s picture a lot easier to stomach.

New Obama campaign manager for 2012

June 14th, 2010
4:53 pm

Enter your comments here

New Obama campaign manager for 2012

June 14th, 2010
4:54 pm

Hi everyone,

My name is Rev. Montell Shazbat and I want to test this new Obama campaign song out on everyone.

Let me know what you all think!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyhGtKAkNTo

Road Scholar

June 14th, 2010
4:54 pm

DBG, Kyle and other Conserves: If you hadn’t noticed over the past 10 years, the terms of your health insurance coverage, if you even have it offerd anymore by your employer, have changed. Coverage has gone down while costs/amount of premium payable by the employee has gone up! Duh!

No matter what the change for this year and in coming years are, it will be blamed on the health care bill/Obama. Since repubs appear to live in a parallel universe (Bailout did nothing, stimulus was a waste, cash for clunkers not worthwhile, etc. etc. etc. ), they know for a fact that the increase is directly the result of the legislation, and, not say free market factors that would provide the same or larger increase in costs/decrease in coverage.

Kyle Wingfield

June 14th, 2010
5:03 pm

The point, Road Scholar, is that the president didn’t include an * in his comments. You know:

If you like your current coverage, you can keep it.*

(*Unless your coverage changes somewhat due to factors that may or may not be related to the health-care reform law. This offer good under participating health czars only. Void where prohibited. See DNC election campaign and Obama 2012 for details.)

Maybe there should have been fine print below his promise — all his pledges seem to come with expiration dates — but that’s not the way he presented it. And he made this promise early and often.

Rev. Montell Shazbat

June 14th, 2010
5:04 pm

Road Scholar

You’re my kinda guy! It’s great people like you that will help Obama reclaim the White House!

Obama/Biden 2012

Change we used to believe in but can’t anymore because there’s no leadership! TM

Kyle Wingfield

June 14th, 2010
5:09 pm

Bonus question, Road Scholar: What “free market factors”? The idea that we have anything resembling a free market in health insurance is another of the whoppers left over from that debate.

Bob

June 14th, 2010
5:37 pm

Road Scholar, What could possibly go wrong with heathcare that will cause repubs to blame Obo ? His bill passed so premiums will go down and coverage will be much better right ? Repubs will be quiet because they said the opposite would happen and will not want that subject brought up. I five years when everyone sees what a great bill this was, nobody will ever listen to the right again. Unless you know something the rest of us don’t their will never be any reason to complain about greedy doctors or insurance companies again.

Bob

June 14th, 2010
5:41 pm

Road, if the repubs were wrong about the stimulus, why have we had a second jobs bill and now another 50 Billion jobs bill ? And was it repubs that said the stimulus would keep unemployment under 8% ?

booger

June 14th, 2010
5:56 pm

Road,

My company never said over and over again there would be no changes. In fact all our literature tells employees that they have a right to change or discontinue at any time.

The issue here is misrepresenting the truth, not whether it will change.

CJ

June 14th, 2010
7:23 pm

The idea that we have anything resembling a free market in health insurance is another of the whoppers left over from that debate.

Of course not. Because in a free market, if people don’t like the product or service, a decision not to purchase is a reasonable option. Not true with health care/health insurance.

F. Sinkwich

June 14th, 2010
7:32 pm

Kyle,

I offer some unsolicited advice which may be worth only what you’re paying for it.

First of all, no thinking individual who followed the Obamacare fiasco last year ever believed that canard about “keeping your coverage.” Blogging now that is was untrue is like saying there was actually gambling going on at Rick’s in the movie “Casablanca.” Stop the presses!

Also, since you’re kind of new around here, everyone in this metropolitan area knows that the city of Atlanta is governed by a cesspool of liberal patronage democrat politicians. They don’t care about improving anything except their bank accounts and getting elected the next go-around.

So any blog posts you make about the corruption there is a big ho-hum to everyone. 80% of people in the metro area don’t live there (I am thankful for sure); we pretty much accept Atlanta corruption as a way of life, Decalb too. No news there, so if you want to get hits, avoid this topic.

Bookman and to a lesser degree Tucker get big hits because they focus more on national issues. Tucker likes racial angles but Bookman blogs a lot about how he perceives conservatives as hypocrites because Bush this or that so what why not support Obama and his socialist policies?

I suggest you blog more about the hypocrisy that is Obama.

For example, you had a good start with a blog quite awhile ago about the business experience Obama’s Cabinet appointees had — virtually zero. But you needed to go deeper.

For example, Obama said he fervently believed in the capitalist system, or something close to that. Where is the evidence? Who was his capitalist mentor? Where did he learn about capitalism? Rverend Wright? Ayers? He said in his biography he sought out Marxists at college. Did he search out capitalists?

Just some thoughts, Kyle. I want you to succeed here because we very much need an influential conservative columnist in this town.

Willie

June 14th, 2010
8:07 pm

We are going to learn a great deal about the errors and “surprises” in the health care bill. Obamacare was strong armed to the congress and the people don’t like it. As the months go by we will learn more and more. None of it will be good for the officials who voted for it.