No one's saying we won't get our hair mussed ...
As the brouhaha over Obama's slightly misleading "If you like it you can keep it" assurance developed, I kept wondering why the fallout is limited to people in the "individual market." I think every story or blog post I've read about it adds that qualifier: it's only people who bought their own, now non-compliant insurance on the "individual market" who are affected, and most of them had crappy plans anyway so what's your damage, hippie? Surely, though, many employers must have non-compliant plans. Why aren't those affected?
[A] report in 2010 said that as many as 69 percent of certain employer-based insurance plans would lose that protection, meaning as many as 41 million people could lose their plans even if they wanted to keep them and would be forced into other plans. Another 11 million who bought their own insurance also could lose their plans. Combined, as many as 52 million Americans could lose or have lost old insurance plans.
McClatchy, the newspaper chain that in its previous Knight-Ridder incarnation provided damn near the only rational coverage of the Bush administration's determination to invade Iraq, now seems to be performing a somewhat similar service regarding Obamacare, at least with respect to this particular issue.
Obama insisted anew Thursday that the problem is limited to people who buy their own insurance. “We’re talking about 5 percent of the population who are in what’s called the individual market. They’re out there buying health insurance on their own,” he told NBC.
But a closer examination finds that the number of people who have plans changing, or have already changed, could be between 34 million to 52 million. That’s because many employer-provided insurance plans also could change, not just individually purchased insurance plans
Administration officials decline to say how many employer-sponsored plans could change. But those numbers could be between 23 million to 41 million, based on a McClatchy analysis of estimates offered by the Department of Health and Human Services in June 2010.
That's a lot of people, isn't it?
Participants in employer-based plans aren't eligible for subsidies until their portion of the premiums is no longer affordable according to the law, so most of them probably won't be faced with the prospect of buying on their own through the exchanges. And insurance plan changes aren't uncommon for people who get their insurance through work. But they may well find their plans either costing more or offering more narrow choices of physicians and other health care providers, as the exchange plans do. Also looming for people who get insurance through work is the imposition of the hefty tax on so-called "cadillac plans," which in the real world we call "decent coverage."
To escape having to provide the new law’s minimum required benefits, plans would have to largely maintain the co-pays, premiums and out-of-pocket limits that existed prior to March 2010. Already this year, only 36 percent of employer plans were pre-2010 plans, compared with 56 percent in 2011, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a leading health care research organization. That means that millions of people’s plans already had changed or were canceled in the three and a half years since the law was enacted in March 2010.
Bit of a difference between the five percent cited by the president, and the 60+ percent who may actually be affected — which will eventually become 100%. It seems that the President is still not quite at the point of telling the whole truth.
"Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed."
"You're talking about mass murder, General, not war!"
"Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks."