Thursday, November 7, 2013

On Obama's Pledge on Keeping One's Policy

There has been a lot of discussion about whether President Obama lied or not concerning his pledge that no one who liked their policy would lose it.  It not a lie, it certainly was disingenuous.  I have seen Robert Reich quoted as, "The Affordable Health Care Act allow insures to continue offering their old plans, but many insurers are choosing not to. I other words, the Act isn't the culprit; the insures are. Obama is being skewered for failing to warn Americans what they should already have known: that the market for private insurance is totally unreliable."

Washington Post "fact checker", Glenn Kessler, traces out the history of the claims.  See here.  He shows that the statement would not be true for anyone who obtained their policy after the Act passed, yet the pledge continued.  The rules of the Act were written so as to encourage insurance companies to drop the policies--any change, no matter how small--to a "substandard" (and cheap) policy would eliminate it status as grandfathered in.  Further, new policies like it would not be permissible so insurers have every reason to end the policies.  The writing of the Act was done in a way to strongly discourage any policies remaining for long that did not meet the standards of the Act.

It is a little like when I joined the Navy after completing college.  It was voluntary and my decision. Of course, there was also a draft and I would have been drafted into the Army. So, while technically true that the government did not force me into the Navy, it would be disingenuous to claim that the government didn't coerce me into entering military service.

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