Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Good Point

John Cole at Balloon Juice:

I find this whole “Obama lied” about keeping your plan nonsense to be quite distressing. The only reason people are not able to keep their plans is that insurance companies no longer offer them. This may because the companies have decided they needed to alter the plans to be more competitive with other plans, or if the plan was so shitty that it covered nothing and the ACA requires the plan to actually do something. That’s it. Obama isn’t running around kicking people off their insurance for shits and giggles, it’s that people can’t keep their insurance plan because the companies ARE NO LONGER OFFERING IT.

There are actually people who would rather have a terrible insurance policy than Obamacare, but fortunately that kind of medical problem is covered under the new law.

5 barks and woofs on “Good Point

  1. I’ve been working for the same company for at least ten years and covered by the health insurance plan they offer. In the last five years the cost of the plan has increased both to employer and employee. However the coverage benefits have decreased while co-payments have increased. When I really needed health insurance, seven years ago, it covered everything to the point that I don’t come out of pocket more then a couple of hundred dollars. Today, I can’t sneeze without it costing me a $35.00 co-pay. Its not the Affordable Health Care Program (Obamacare as the teaparty and republicans like to call it) that is to blame, nor the President for trying to bring legislation forward. The fault lies with our congressional leaders for not leading in the best interest of our country, insurance Companies, lobbiest and the special interest groups who’s prime concern is thier pocket.

  2. Not a great point. (And did you see Leonard Pitts’s commentary this morning?) The President made a promise he couldn’t keep and shouldn’t have made. With politicians, who lie for a living, it’s often difficult to discern evil from ignorance, but when Obama tried to wriggle out from under this one, then apologized, the lie was exposed for what it is. Ultimately he will prevail — assuming his tech clowns get the system right — but this episode taints the entire endeavor.

    • The whole argument is over the wrong half of the quote. Everyone is whinging about the “you can keep your insurance” half, and not the “if you like your insurance, then…” half. I’m still confused how an insurance “policy” that doesn’t cover anything substantial, comes with horrific co-pays and coverage limits, and leaves more conditions and procedures uncovered than a swimwear model’s bikini could still be something that any consumer would like.

      [Disclaimer: both I and family members have been in the individual market, and been as dissatisfied with it as can be measured. I’d have to dig out the policy documents to get actual numbers, but I remember premiums in the $2000/mo range, copays in the $50-100/item range, and a list of uncovered items that looks like Tolstoi and reads like a Chekov-Kafka collaboration: and that was six years ago. This for fairly healthy people. Not especially likeable from where I stand.]

      To me, this whole thing says a lot more about most people’s – the President included – ignorance of the individual health insurance market. With so many people either covered by an employer or able to afford (and have afforded) decent coverage, the number of people who who are consigned to that segment is remarkably low, and most of them (until recently most of us) fall well under median income so have weaker voices than the rest. Add to that the lack of recognition that the uninsured mostly weren’t making some deliberate choice to go without just because – but were choosing between health insurance and housing and food: health insurance premiums for healthy under-40 individuals fell somewhere just above rent for a flat on Central Park West, and pre-existing conditions and other factors drove those numbers even higher. Never mind the working poor: anyone making less than six figures would face that choice. The employed may be whining about their copays, but they’re not facing the whole bill (employers still pay the bulk of that if not all of it) – and without that awareness there’s no opportunity for sympathy for the folks facing @2-5K/mo in premiums alone which buy little more than the opportunity to hear “[your procedure/condition] is not covered, and you still owe [insert mind-bending sum here]…”.

      It’s like going into a Ford dealer and demanding a brand new Model T like Grandpa used to have: sure the assembly line could potentially still produce it, but in this age of side impact beams, air bags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, navigation systems and air conditioning, who would want it? (Note I’m speaking of a brand new Model T: I get why someone would want an antique one).

  3. I had a somewhat similar experience with cell phone service. Yeah, I know cell phones and health insurance are not the same thing, but hear me out. (Can you hear me now?)

    When I moved to Miami from Albuquerque in 2001, I had a Uniden bag phone in my car. It was my cell phone and it was all I needed at the time. Verizon in New Mexico assured me up and down that I could move to Miami and get a new number for my cell phone: No problem, I was told; just go to the Verizon store and sign up. Okay, so the day after I arrived in Miami I went to the Verizon store and told them I wanted to switch my service to a Florida number. The guy took one look at my 1991 bag phone and said, “Sorry, that’s analog and we don’t offer that service any more. You need a new phone and digital service.” So that’s what I had to do. It cost a few bucks more, but I had a hand-held phone with a 305 area code instead of a bag sitting on the transmission tunnel of my Pontiac.

    Did Verizon in New Mexico lie to me by not telling me that I would have to give up my old phone that plugged into the cigarette lighter and go digital?

    By the way, I still have the bag phone. It’s in the Pontiac as a part of the “antique” car schtick. It doesn’t work, but it’s a kitschy accessory for a car from 1988.

    • Pretty parallel. A salesman with no genuine data or information told you what he needed to get you out of the store. POTUS should conduct himself more responsibly than that. As I noted, when evaluating the words of prodigious liars it’s tough to separate the evil from the ignorant. Boatboy (above) suggests Obama’s statement stemmed from ignorance, which while possible, is inexcusable, which is why I suppose he apologized….I very much want ACA to work. It will relieve me from my crappy and costly ($2500/month) policy. Obama’s mishandling of his signature legislation is an appalling failure I take personally.

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