As presidential lies go, this is the biggest, and it’s one that our president has uttered hundreds of times. “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.” We now know, and it’s documented, that the president and his staff have known for years that was not true. They lied to us.
On page 34,552 of the Federal Register for 2010, an entry by the administration says their “mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013.” That represents over 51 million people who will lose their health insurance, because of provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Let’s make sure we understand all of this. Section 1251 of the ACA refers to a “grandfather” provision that allowed people to keep their existing plans if so desired. But subsequent regulations by the administration interpreted that key section so narrowly that it would be virtually impossible to retain plans that were in place in 2010, unless the firm or organization had a waiver from implementation.
One of those subsequent regulatory changes was that if a plan that had been grandfathered per Section 1251 of the ACA were to make any changes after 2010, they would no longer be grandfathered. It’s inconceivable that any health insurance plans could’ve gone through the last three years of massive premium inflation with no changes! And not just in premiums, but changes in coverage, deductibles, or maximum out-of-pocket costs.
Declaring policies in effect in 2010 grandfathered as long as they made no adjustments the past three years would be tantamount to the administration saying that we could use the freeway for our travel needs for as long as we like, as long as we never change our speed or direction!
The Congressional Budget Office indicates that 156 million of us are covered under employer-sponsored plans. There are also another 25 million who, again according to the CBO, have “non-group and other” insurance coverage, in other words, most of those buy their own insurance. Again, it’s totally inconceivable that there are any plans that, based on the administration’s narrow interpretation of the grandfather clause, have not had any changes since 2010. In short, that means there are no grandfathered insurance plans! Yet the president has the temerity to claim we’re losing our insurance because of our carriers!
That’s not to say that everyone will lose their current coverage. Many of those plans have likely adjusted to accommodate the new requirements of mandated coverage as defined in the ACA. Mandated coverage now includes maternity care, gestational diabetes screening for pregnant women, FDA-approved contraceptive methods, contraceptive education and counseling, breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling, sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women, and HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.
Isn’t it wonderful that all of us over age 40, and single men, get to pay for all of those services that we’ll never use? The freedom and flexibility of the ACA just never ceases to amaze me! I guess that explains in part why there were so many (6, officially) Americans who signed up on the first day!
Here are some other lies told by the President, and his Democrat allies in congress about the ACA. We’ve been promised that, if we like our doctor, we can keep him. In all likelihood, we can’t, since that doctor may be out of the network for our new plan that we were forced to buy.
He said our premiums would go down, that the ACA “will bend the cost curve down.” “The average family will pay $2,500 less for their insurance premiums.” Instead, they’ve gone up, $2,581 higher, according to Kaiser Health.
He said it would reduce the amount of healthcare spending in the country, that’s obviously not true. He said it would not add a dime to the deficit, yet it borrows $600 billion from Medicare, which is going broke, and at the current enrollment rate, the entire cost will add to the deficit.
He said he would not raise taxes a dime on anyone making under $250K, yet the bill is partially funded by taxes on insurance companies, drug companies, medical device companies, and health care providers. All those costs are going to be passed on to the patients, most of whom make far below $250K per year.
The further into the implementation of the ACA we get, the more convinced I am that deception, distortion, extortion, and outright lies are the very foundation of it. Even the notion that it was going to provide insurance coverage for everyone is a lie, since according to the Congressional Budget Office, even after 10 years of implementation, there will still be 31 million Americans without coverage. So we’ll have spent $1.93 trillion failing to achieve the primary objective of the Act, and literally destroying the coverage that the rest of us get.
We received our insurance cancellation letter from my wife’s employer the first of October. We were already paying an exorbitant premium that had increased over 25%, for a high $2,500 deductible. As we study our options on the Idaho ACA website, the policies within our capability to pay have deductibles of $8,000. And to make matters worse, we will still be paying up to 50% of our health care expenses after the deductible is met. I guess it’s meant to assuage our concerns that our maximum out-of-pocket expenses per year are capped at $12,700. We will be paying more for a new policy that will exact from us five times as much in out-of-pocket costs. This is not affordable care; this is highway robbery!
And the real kicker is that the administration knew all along what would happen to us all, as evidenced by their own words in the Federal Register. What’s different about this lie, though, is the mainstream media didn’t ignore it like they have all the others. NBC actually had the audacity to run with the story. For those of us who’ve been wondering where the media has been for the past five years, this actually provides a little glimmer of hope. Perhaps they’ll actually start doing their job now.
These lies, continuously uttered by our president, are much more significant than some of the others that have landed presidents in hot water. Certainly more significant than, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” and “I am not a crook,” and “No new taxes.” These lies adversely affect all of us.
It’s no wonder that even though the ACA passed in 2009, they made no attempt to start collecting the taxes or implementing the mandates until after the 2012 election. If this had been implemented within two years after passage, in a logical world, there would be no Democrats left in congress today, for they were the only ones who voted for it.
This entire package was sold to us based on lies. And as destructive as the ACA is to the nation, to jobs, to the economy, to health insurance, and to family budgets, no one who supported and pushed for its passage should ever hold elected office again. It’s time to start holding politicians accountable, not for their intentions, but for their actions!
Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].