The latest Democratic chanting point on the Affordable Care Act has been that President Obama didn’t really break his promise that you could keep your health insurance plan if you liked it. The chanting point has become that the policies getting canceled were substandard policies that insurance companies foisted on unsuspecting dupes (you). That’s certainly the message Henry Aaron is peddling in this article:

Of late, numerous reports have told of people surprised by letters telling them that insurance plans they now have will not be renewed. Many are puzzled. Weren’t they told that if they like their insurance they could keep it? Opponents of health reform in general are seizing on the fact and asking in an accusatorial manner: “Isn’t this a betrayal of trust?”

No. To see why, imagine a new law enacted to promote food purity. As it is being debated, you are told: “If you like what you eat, you can keep on eating it.” The new law takes effect, and one day, you find that the market no longer carries certain foods you have been buying. As it happens, those products included elements found to be bad for your health. The pure food act barred their use.

There’s a huge flaw with this logic. They’re called Cadillac health insurance policies. Last night on Megyn Kelly’s show, a woman talked about how she had such a plan. When her husband got cancer that eventually killed him, the policy saved her family from huge expenses. The treatments cost over $300,000. Thanks to their health insurance policy, their out-of-pocket expenses came to $1,500. That’s in addition to the premiums they paid.

When the policy wasn’t offered anymore, this woman chose to continue this coverage, paying the premiums out of her own pocket. She did the right thing. She wasn’t putting a burden on society. She didn’t complain about not getting her policy subsidized. She just paid the premiums.

This fall, she got a notice that her policy was canceled thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s penalty on Cadillac plans. That’s right. The Affordable Care Act is making Cadillac plans obsolete. That’s why the unions are upset. All these years, they’ve settled for smaller wage increases, which are taxed, in exchange for premium quality health insurance policies, which aren’t taxed.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, these union workers won’t have the option of a Cadillac plan plus they’re stuck with the lower pay increases that they negotiated.

It’s difficult to see how Cadillac plans are the equivalent of “products [that] included elements found to be bad for your health.” The full name of the Affordable Care Act is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One of the Democrats’ first chanting points was the PPACA would protect families from medical bankruptcies. This lady’s Cadillac health insurance policy did that and then some.

It’s insulting that Mr. Aaron insists that the canceled policies are sub-standard policies. It’s insulting on multiple levels, starting with the fact that those policies can’t be sold if they aren’t first approved by that state’s insurance commissioner.

Early in her political career, Ms. Sebelius was Kansas’ insurance commissioner. Is she now admitting that the policies she approved were sub-standard? When President Obama called these insurance plans sub-standard, he essentially accused the 50 state insurance commissioners incompetent.

Second, in many places, competition among insurers will lower premiums. Bloomberg Government has reported that the more plans offered in an exchange, the lower the premiums.

In Minnesota, a state recognized as a leader in health insurance innovation and access, most rural cities have few options. In fact, many of these places have a single option in terms of insurance providers competing.

Third, people can hold down premiums by selecting plans with comparatively high deductibles.

That option isn’t brought to us by the Affordable Care Act. That was available to clients who had health savings accounts and a catastrophic policy, both of which are illegal under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

The problem was a misdiagnosis of the situation in 2009. The US health care system needed extensive work. It didn’t need to put an incompetent administration in charge of a complex industry. Democrats didn’t need to give bureaucrats the authority of who could keep the health insurance plans they liked. Democrats didn’t need to tell people what insurance policies were “sub-standard” and which ones were government-approved.

What Democrats should’ve done is get out of the way so innovators couls’ve put together a package of real reforms.

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4 Responses to “Liberal foolishness”

  • walter hanson says:


    Lets remember why the plans are substandard. There were people who didn’t ask for maternity care coverage, drug abuse coverage, mental counciling, or plans that in case of a bad illeness my horrible medical costs will be covered then and I will cover routine trips to the hospital.

    The reason why they are substand in order to cover things that they wanted cover (see items I just mentioned) everyone has to pay extra on their preiums for that coverage.

    Why is my plan substandard if I’m a man who isn’t dating let alone having sex with a woman if I don’t want a maternity care option on my insurance?

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Shoebox says:

    The plans weren’t “substandard” in a generally competitive market place but were deemed “substandard” in a government controlled market place….the problem is obvious. There is not a market place anywhere where the government is involved, there are more choices. Government always limits choices via their requirements or mandates.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Shoe, Did you mean to say that where gov’t is involved, people have fewer choices?

  • shoebox says:

    Yup. Insert a “that” after the last comma.

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