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November 18, 2013

The 5 Percent Lie

Unexpectedly (!), all those unexpected and unforeseeable problems with ObamaCare turn out to have been expected all along:

Unable to deny that millions of Americans have lost the coverage he vowed they could keep, Obama and other Democrats are now peddling what we might call the “5 percent” con job. The president asserts that these victims, whom he feels so terribly about, nevertheless constitute a tiny, insignificant minority in the greater scheme of things (“scheme” is used advisedly). They are limited, he maintains, to consumers in the individual health-insurance market, as opposed to the vastly greater number of Americans who get insurance through their employers. According to Obama, these individual-market consumers whose policies are being canceled make up only 5 percent of all health-insurance consumers.

Even this 5 percent figure is a deception. As Avik Roy points out, the individual market actually accounts for 8 percent of health-insurance consumers. Obama can’t help himself: He even minimizes his minimizations. So, if Obama were telling the truth in rationalizing that his broken promises affect only consumers in the individual-insurance market, we’d still be talking about up to 25 million Americans. While the president shrugs these victims off, 25 million exceeds the number of Americans who do not have health insurance because of poverty or preexisting conditions (as opposed to those who could, but choose not to, purchase insurance). Of course, far from cavalierly shrugging off that smaller number of people, Obama and Democrats used them to justify nationalizing a sixth of the U.S. economy.

But that’s not the half of it. Obama’s claim that unwelcome cancellations are confined to the individual-insurance market is another brazen lie. In the weekend column, I link to the excellent work of Powerline’s John Hinderaker, who has demonstrated that, for over three years, the Obama administration’s internal estimates have shown that most Americans who are covered by “employer plans” will also lose their coverage under Obamacare. Mind you, 156 million Americans get health coverage through their jobs.

John cites the Federal Register, dated June 17, 2010, beginning at page 34,552 (Vol. 75, No. 116). It includes a chart that outlines the Obama administration’s projections. The chart indicates that somewhere between 39 and 69 percent of employer plans would lose their “grandfather” protection by 2013. In fact, for small-business employers, the high-end estimate is a staggering 80 percent (and even on the low end, it’s just a shade under half — 49 percent).

That is to say: During all these years, while Obama was repeatedly assuring Americans, “If you like your health-insurance plan, you can keep your health-insurance plan,” he actually expected as many as seven out of every ten Americans covered by employer plans to lose their coverage. For small business, he expected at least one out of every two Americans, or as many as four out of every five, to lose their coverage.

...while the president has been telling us that, under the vaunted grandfathering provision, all Americans who like their health-insurance plans will be able to keep them, “period,” his administration has been representing in federal court that most health plans would lose their “grandfather status” by the end of this year. Not just the “5 percent” of individual-market consumers, but close to all consumers — including well over 100 million American workers who get coverage through their jobs — have been expected by the president swiftly to “transition to the requirements under the [Obamacare] regulations.” That is, their health-insurance plans would be eliminated. They would be forced into Obamacare-compliant plans, with all the prohibitive price hikes and coercive mandates that “transition” portends.

A million here, a million there. After a while, all these isolated millions start affecting someone who matters.

Posted by Cassandra at November 18, 2013 07:44 AM

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Comments

5% con job! That's short shrift for the greatest hoax ever perpetrated. The man would be in over his head running a roadside museum on Route 66. And no sob steeped only in theory is fit to be anything more than head of Quixotic Studies at the local learning annex. As for the lies – that's what makes the man be all he can be – a grifter. 5% indeed.

Posted by: George Pal at November 18, 2013 09:48 AM

Even the employer plans are starting to feel it if my experience is representative. We had two on offer. The first was a minimum ACA compliant "value"plan and the other was the "comprehensive" plan analogous to what we already have today. The "value" plan was an 18% increase over our existing plan and to keep our existing plan it is going to be a 47% increase. Not as bad as the individual market, but it ain't peanuts either.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 18, 2013 11:04 AM

Even the employer plans are starting to feel it if my experience is representative.

We used to have a PPO plan with a cost to the employee of about $12 per paycheck. A few months ago when plans were renewed, the choices changed substantially. $12 per paycheck now gets you an HMO plan with a much smaller provider network. Coverage comparable to the old plan (they call it a "POS" plan...no joke!) was still available, but at about 4x the cost. I bit the bullet at the time and went with the more-expensive plan in case my wife's cancer got bad enough that she had to quit working and go on my insurance, as her oncologist was available through the POS plan, but not the HMO. (She passed away only a couple weeks after her last day on the job. :-( At some point, I might switch to the HMO...don't particularly care for how they work, but I'm healthy enough that the ~$70 per month difference could be better spent elsewhere.)

Posted by: Scott Alfter at November 18, 2013 11:24 AM

Yes, but he meant well!

Actually, I think all is going according to plan. The Chaos, the lost coverage, the deception.

Of course, all you mouth breathers in flyover country had substandard plans all along and now you are finding out that you needed this plan.

I think that the number given in the CFR is low. I think it will be closer to 95% of plans will be "substandard" and will not be "grandfathered" in.

This was, in fact, the hard truth that existed all along.

If only there was some sort of organization or group of organizations in this country that was concerned with informing the populace of what the government does, and what it actually publishes in its documents.

If only.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 18, 2013 12:12 PM

We finally had the meeting re: open enrollment Thursday last week. Our existing plan, we were previously told, is ACA-compliant (they didn't say anything about "grandfathered"). Overall, it's only going up 13%, but that was negotiated down from a 22% increase (after our company insurance agent went "shopping around"). Thankfully, my employer picks up most of that increase. We have the "basic", which is what I've been on, but I wonder about switching over to the "buy-up" plan - it would be worth it if the husband & I get pregnant next year. But (even though we're in the "I'm not getting any younger" category), we aren't sure we can afford to get pregnant (beyond the cost of the health care related costs) right now... I have until December 5th to make my elections... And, still wondering "what happens next year...?".

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 18, 2013 01:26 PM

Scott, my deepest condolences on the loss of your wife.
I can't help but wonder, though, who in your employer's business heirarchy thought the acronym POS was not going to be the butt of several jokes.
Unless you work for a gov't entity, of course, then no explanation is necessary.

Posted by: DL Sly at November 18, 2013 03:08 PM

Scott, I'm so sorry to hear about your wife's passing.

As I've said before, I'm pretty sure my employer's plan will be heavily taxed as a "Cadillac" plan, which implies more changes and less coverage going forward.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 18, 2013 03:09 PM

Of course it's all going along as planned, Don. And if *only* we had that group of organizations that you talked about, we would have known about it before Nov 4, 2008. Although, sadly, I'm of the mind that too many melaninally-challenged with "questionable guilt issues" and LIV's would have put Xerxes, Lord of the Lies, in office anyway.
*sigh*

Posted by: DL Sly at November 18, 2013 03:18 PM

Scott, how awful. That must make it hard to concentrate on any of this crazy stuff. A good reminder that insurance is about worries over the future, but we have to remember to count our blessings in the present, while we have them--a sentiment that I know probably rings very hollow to you just now. I'm so sorry.

Posted by: Texan99 at November 19, 2013 10:53 AM

Deepest sympathy for your loss Scott.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at November 20, 2013 02:12 AM