Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Great Healthcare Insurance Scam

From the Center for Public Integrity: Separating myth from reality on Obamacare --- News media scare stories and website glitches hide savings for those who look at insurance alternatives.

Insurance companies are sending those letters primarily because the policies that they will no longer offer won’t provide enough coverage --- or have deductibles that are too high --- to comply with the Affordable Care Act. In many cases, however, the policyholders getting those letters are simply victims of a business practice insurers have engaged in for years: discontinuing policies because they’re no longer sufficiently profitable.

A major California insurance company (Anthem Blue Cross, a unit of WellPoint Inc.) is being sued by consumers alleging that they were tricked into dropping their health coverage when they could have remained on their preferred plans under Obamacare. (As an aside: Remember Senator Evan Bayh and his wife's ties to Wellpoint?)

Perhaps if a few thousand customers who received letters claiming their "grand-fathered" plan was cancelled were to contact the insurance commissioner's office, there might be some action on this matter.

As I earlier wrote in Important Updates on ObamaScare, according to an article in Talking Points Memo, insurance companies (all on their own) have deliberately sent out those cancellation notices, along with automatic renewals into higher rate plans before October 1st as a means of circumventing people from first shopping on the healthcare insurance exchange, thereby, finding better and cheaper plans.

According to the Washington Post, House Republicans are expected to vote on a proposal -- championed by GOP Rep. Fred Upton -- that would allow insurance companies the option of continuing all existing health plans for a year, in response to the loss of plans that has taken place, despite Obama's vow otherwise. The White House points out that this will undermine the new healthcare law.

Keeping those healthcare old plans undermines the new insurance exchanges and reforms at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. The Obama administration would much rather have people enter the new exchanges and see them take advantage of the options for comprehensive benefits with the law’s other attributes — such as no more penalties for pre-existing conditions and no more gender discrimination — intact. That has presented two additional problems: The website woes have made signing up difficult for many, and others, particularly those making too much money to qualify for subsidies, are seeing higher premiums than they had under their old plans.

Democratic aides have predicted that some of their House members will vote for the plan championed by GOP Rep. Fred Upton --- and CNN's Dana Bash stirred up chatter when she Tweeted that "lots" of House Democrats will vote for it if the White House has not put forth its own fix by the end of the week --- in effect giving the White House a deadline.

Obviously, "a lot" of Democrats voting for this proposal would constitute another major Obamacare headache. House Democratic leaders are privately warning rank and file members that a vote for this bill --- and other anti-Obamacare legislation --- could alienate leading Democratic donors heading into 2014.

From the HuffPo Hill newsletter: "Okay, why would anybody vote against this? If Obamacare provides good, affordable coverage, nobody will buy the junk plans. If it doesn't, people deserve at least a chance to buy those crappy plans if that's all they can afford. Right?"

Former President Bill Clinton recently said that the health care law should be changed if necessary to allow people to keep their health care plans that have been canceled as a result of the implementation of Obamacare. "I personally believe, even if it takes changing the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got", Clinton told OZY TV.

Clinton preceded his comments by saying that the country is better off with the Affordable Care Act. The former president also recounted a story where a man he met had his individual plan canceled because of Obamacare, and his insurer offered a plan with twice the premiums, but his co-pays and deductibles were much lower.

Despite Clinton's tempering of the criticism directed at the health care rollout, Republicans seized on his comments as an admittance of Obama's failure to fulfill his frequently-stated promised that those who like their health care plan can keep it. The White House has not said either way whether the law should be changed to allow people to keep their individual insurance plans.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have been denying health care to thousands of veterans. Thanks to Republican intransigence against Obamacare, and a conservative Supreme Court, 21 states have rejected the expansion of Medicaid created under the law, and five are still undecided. That leaves about five million people in a health coverage gap—they make too much to qualify for standard Medicaid, but not enough to receive tax credits to purchase coverage on the health insurance exchanges. Thousands of those left out of coverage are veterans.


  1. The U.S. leads the world in health care spending, but we don't live very long, and going to the doctor is so expensive that we don't do it very often. So where is the money going?

  2. Our healthcare is so insanely expensive, we do not have a Debt Problem ... We Have A Health Care Cost Problem!

  3. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on Wednesday became the second Democrat to introduce legislation that would let people with canceled insurance plans keep their coverage. Udall's bill, The Continuous Coverage Act, would let people stay with their current health plan for a full two years, through Dec. 31, 2015, regardless of whether they receive a cancellation notice.

  4. Robert Reich: Having the Backbone to Set Minimum Standards for Health Insurance - "Democrats are showing once again they have the backbones of banana slugs. The Affordable Care Act was meant to hold insurers to a higher standards. So it stands to reason that some insurers will have to cancel their lousy sub-standard policies."

    John Boehner says a "Keep Your Plan" bill as a step towards repealing Obamacare.