If you like your healthcare, you can(‘t) keep it, part II

Well, I’m sure most people will be able to keep their healthcare, right?  I mean, what’s a million or so people on those lower premium limited benefit plans?  After all, most people get their health insurance through their workplace, right?  Yeah, I’ll just keep doing that. 

Or will you?  (via Instapundit)

Under interim regulations, current employer-based coverage would not be grandfathered and hence subject to the health care laws’ consumer provisions if:

* The plan eliminates benefits related to diagnosis or treatment of a particular condition.

* The plan increases the percentage of a cost-sharing requirement (such as co-insurance) above the level at which it was on March 23, 2010.

* The plan increases the fixed amount of cost sharing such as deductibles or out-of-pocket limits by a total percentage measured from March 23, 2010, that is more than the sum of medical inflation plus 15 percentage points.

* The plan increases co-payments as a total percentage measured from March 23, 2010, that is more than the sum of medical inflation plus 15 percentage points or medical inflation plus $5.

* The employer’s share of the premium decreases more than 5 percentage points below what the share was on March 23, 2010.

According to the report, by 2013 51% of all employers — 66% of small employers (3-99 employees) and 45% of large employers — would have to relinquish current coverage. In a worst-case scenario, 69% of firms would lose their grandfathered status.

So, if you like your health insurance, and you are part of a lucky minority, you can keep it.  Well, that’s basically what Obama said.


If you like your healthcare plan, you can(‘t) keep it

We’ve all come to understand that everything that President Obama says has an expiration date  (Jim Geragahty has a great list here, BTW).  However, I’m starting to understand that everything Obama says has an asterisk, too.  For example, remember this:

At the same time — I just want to be completely clear about this; I keep on saying this but somehow folks aren’t listening — if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan.  Nobody is going to force you to leave your health care plan.  If you like your doctor, you keep seeing your doctor.  I don’t want government bureaucrats meddling in your health care.

And you know that was important, because of how completely clear he was.  Of course, fortunately, he was only being completely clear, and not absolutely completely, unqualifiedly clear.  If he had been, he would have included this:

Part of the health care overhaul due to kick in this September could strip more than 1 million people of their insurance coverage, violating a key goal of President Barack Obama’s reforms. 

 Under the provision, insurance companies will no longer be able to apply broad annual caps on the amount of money they pay out on health policies. Employer groups say the ban could essentially wipe out a niche insurance market that many part-time workers and retail and restaurant employees have come to rely on.

This market’s limited-benefit plans, also called mini-med plans, are priced low because they can, among other things, restrict the number of covered doctor visits or impose a maximum on insurance payouts in a year. The plans are commonly offered by retail or restaurant companies to low-wage workers who cannot afford more expensive, comprehensive coverage. 

 Depending on how strictly the administration implements the provision, the ban could in effect outlaw the plans or make them so restrictive that insurance companies would raise rates to the point they become unaffordable. 

 Choice and competition?  Anyone?

Those lying teabaggers, talking about rationing!

How dare they accuse us of planning rationing, when we really plan to ration with our eyes open!  From CNSNews:

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicare, is a strong supporter of the government-run health care system in Britain, who said in a 2009 interview about Comparative Effectiveness Research: “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care–the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”  

The $787-billion stimulus law signed by President Obama created a Federal Coordinating council for Comparative Effectiveness research in health care that some critics argue was a step toward rationing of health care in the United States. 
Donald Berwick, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the head of the non-profit Institute for Healthcare Improvement, was nominated by Obama on April 19, 2010.
In choosing Berwick, the Obama administration is implicitly admitting that the health care law passed by the Democrats in March will lead to the rationing of health care, said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) in a May 19 press release.

But don’t worry, this system (of rationing) will be transparent:

Concerning Berwick’s 2009 comment about the rationing of health care, the White House released a statement to several news organizations in which spokesman Reid Cherlin said the following:
“No one is surprised that Republicans plan to use this confirmation process to trot out the same arguments and scare tactics they hoped would block health insurance reform. The fact is, rationing is rampant in the system today, as insurers make arbitrary decisions about who can get the care they need. Don Berwick wants to see a system in which those decisions are transparent– and that the people who make them are held accountable.”
The White House statement, according to Roberts, seemed to acknowledge that the new health care law would simply ration care in a transparent way.

And you know that you can trust that, based on the past history of the “most transparent  administration in history“!

Apparently, the Tea Partiers were right about Obamacare

Now that the debate is mostly over, the “neutral” organizations can tell us that the president and his supporters were dead wrong about most of their promises

The ink was barely dry on President Barack Obama’s signature before the RAND Corp. released a report concluding that, not only would the hard-won health care package fail to curb health insurance premium increases, but the bill itself would drive premiums for young people up as much as 17 percent.

This should not have been a surprise: the Congressional Budget Office had already warned that the plan would do almost nothing to reduce premium hikes. And when New York implemented the same type of insurance reforms in the 1980s, it led to an increase of nearly $500 per year for young people. But somehow, the media didn’t pay much attention.

And, of course, during the health care debate, no presidential speech was complete without a promise that “if you have health insurance today, and you like it, you can keep it.” But the Congressional Budget Office now says that as many as 10 million workers will lose their current insurance under Obamacare. Some of those workers will have to buy new insurance through the government-run exchanges. Millions more will be thrown onto Medicaid.

In addition, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies reports that half of seniors currently enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program will lose their coverage under that program and be forced back onto traditional Medicare.

And how many times did President Obama criticize the United States for having the highest health care spending in the world? Well, late last month the government’s chief actuary released his report on the bill, showing that the bill will actually increase health care spending by $311 billion over 10 years.

At the same time, the report warned that promised future spending cuts, particularly those for Medicare, are unlikely to occur. “The longer-term viability of the Medicare reductions is doubtful,” wrote Richard Foster, chief actuary of the Medicare and Medicaid systems. What cuts do occur could have a severe impact on the quality of health care. As many as 15 percent of hospitals and other institutions could be forced out of business, according to the report, “possibly jeopardizing access to care” for millions of Americans.

There’s more- read the whole thing. 

Update: Via Nealz Nuze, the CBO announces that healthcare reform will likely cost $115 billion more than projected.  Got that, folks?  $115 Billion dollars more than promised. 

Want Limited Government? Limit the Bills

A tax change that will harm the ability of employers to keep their retirees off Medicare.  No protection for children with pre-existing conditions.  An individual mandate with no means of enforcement

It seems that nobody read and understood the full workings of the “historic” healthcare bill that was voted in last week.  New and unexpected provisions that failed to get consideration before the law was made are still coming to light.  And many of them are so complicated that no one can even agree on what they really mean.  That’s no surprise, considering the bill was just shy of 2000 pages long and loaded with non sequiturs.  Has anyone credibly explained what student loans have to do with healthcare, anyway?   

In Tennessee, we have a system that is far different from the federal government’s.  Article II, Section 17 of the Tennessee State Constitution states:

No bill shall become a law which embraces more than one subject, that subject to be expressed in the title. All acts which repeal, revive or amend former laws, shall recite in their caption, or otherwise, the title or substance of the law repealed, revived or amended.

In other words, in Tennessee, a healthcare bill would have to be about . . . healthcare.  Not healthcare and student loans, not healthcare and Louisiana purchases, not healthcare and cornhusker kickbacks.  Just healthcare.  In fact, healthcare being such a broad category in itself, each act would likely be limited to being about only one part of healthcare. 

Imagine this rule as applied to the federal government: we could read the bills, and know what was in them, in a matter of minutes, not grueling days.  Changes would be easy to spot and report on.  There would be no “discoveries” days later that no one so much as had the chance to comment on.  No congressperson could be rewarded by sprinkling the bill with district-specific special favors in exchange for a vote. 

Each law would be about what it was about.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The U.S. could benefit from following Tennessee’s lead.

How many great lines are there in this Mark Steyn peice?

My opinion-writing hero Mark Steyn somehow manages to tie California porn regulations to the health care bill, and it’s just awesome. 

the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to set up a committee to examine whether condoms should be required on all pornographic film shoots within the Golden State. California has run out of money, but it hasn’t yet run out of things to regulate.  …….

 In the future, if a porn actress finds 75 men waiting for her on the set, they’ll be bureaucrats from Sacramento’s Condom Enforcement Squad. ……

If you’ve ever been in the filthy, infected wards of Britain’s National Health Service, it may make more sense after the passage of Obamacare to require hospitals to bring themselves up to the same hygiene standards as the average Bangkok porn shoot……

That’s 16,500 new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, who’ll be needed to check whether you – yes, you, Mr. and Mrs. Hopendope of 27 Hopeychangey Gardens – are in compliance with the 15 tax increases and dozens of new federal mandates ……..

 Mr. Obama is government, and government is Mr. Obama. That’s all he knows and all he’s ever known. ……

 If you have children, they’ll live in smaller homes, drive smaller cars, live smaller lives. If you don’t have children, you had better hope your neighbors do, because someone needs to spawn a working population large enough to pay for the unsustainable entitlements the Obama party has suckered you into thinking you’re entitled to. ……..

If we could “spread the wealth around” in relation to Mr. Steyn’s talent, we’d all be geniuses.

“Fantasy in, fantasy out”

The New York Times (I know, right?) discusses the real costs of the Healthcare Bill:

The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.

In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.

Read the whole thing for the details; there are far too many to excerpt here. 

We really need a new tort: legislative malpractice.  One possible way to get there would be  obscenely dishonest misrepresentations like this.