Friday, July 17, 2009

Forget that Obama promise on keeping your own health insurance plan

Betsy McCaughey has been reading through the House and Senate health insurance proposals and found out proof that, if these bills go through, President Obama will have broken his promise that those of us who are satisfied with our health plans will be able to keep them.
Under either, a new government bureaucracy will select health plans that it considers in your best interest, and you will have to enroll in one of these "qualified plans." If you now get your plan through work, your employer has a five-year "grace period" to switch you into a qualified plan. If you buy your own insurance, you'll have less time.

And as soon as anything changes in your contract -- such as a change in copays or deductibles, which many insurers change every year -- you'll have to move into a qualified plan instead (House bill, p. 16-17).

When you file your taxes, if you can't prove to the IRS that you are in a qualified plan, you'll be fined thousands of dollars -- as much as the average cost of a health plan for your family size -- and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan (House bill, p. 167-168).

It's one thing to require that people getting government assistance tolerate managed care, but the legislation limits you to a managed-care plan even if you and your employer are footing the bill (Senate bill, p. 57-58). The goal is to reduce everyone's consumption of health care and to ensure that people have the same health-care experience, regardless of ability to pay.
Of course, by the time that this all becomes clear to the American people, it would be too late to go back and redeem that promise about being able to keep your own health care plan. Add in the likelihood that the only way the Democrats are going to be able to pass any semblance of these bills is to add in taxes on the middle class, the health care bill will represent two broken promises in one.