If the American public had a dollar for every time President Barack Obama made that same promise, perhaps some of them could afford the increase in health care costs which will result from the implementation of the president’s health care reform bill.
The fact is, one of the central themes of Obama’s rhetoric surrounding the new law [that Democrats dare not even mention in the weeks leading up to the mid-term election] was exactly that promise, but time and time again we’re seeing that, predictably, the president’s assurances just simply did not ring true.
In June, while I was mired in Bar Exam review, we learned that internal Obama administration documents leaked to the press showed that indeed more employers than not would be forced to make significant changes in the health care coverage provided to employees because of the downhill consequences of ObamaCare. At that time, Florida Republican Congressman Bill Posey said that the government analysis, which showed that 45 percent of large employers and anywhere between 66 and 80 percent of small employers would be forced to relinquish existing coverage by 2013 because it would not be grandfathered under the new regulations, showed that the arguments made by Democrats in favor of health care reform were little more than a “bait and switch.”
In August, we learned that more than three million seniors would be forced to change their Medicare prescription drug plan next year regardless of whether they liked their current plan or not. While Medicare officials dismissed the study by Avalere Health by saying that the group was “simply guessing,” the folks at Avalere insisted that they used Medicare’s own specifications in arriving at their conclusions, and that the elimination of duplicative plans like those offered by CVS-Caremark and AARP alone could result in 2,750,000 seniors being forced to change.
Last Thursday, two more stories hit the wires as examples of how the very nature of Barack Obama’s reform undermined the “keep your plan” promise he and the Democrats had been making from the start. The New York Times noted that Principal Financial would no longer be offering health insurance and the Wall Street Journal reported that McDonald’s was prepared to eliminate health coverage for approximately 30,000 hourly workers across the country, all because of ObamaCare’s facilitation of government interference in private insurers’ assessment of risk — in this case, provisions which arbitrarily cap an insurer’s medical loss ratio by mandating that at least 80 to 85 percent of revenue from premiums is earmarked for payment of benefits. The Los Angeles Times called the simultaneous narratives a “warning shot about healthcare reform.” I’d argue that those of us on the right with even a modicum of common sense have been firing warning shots for a while.
And then, just this morning the Wall Street Journal confirmed that 3M Company, manufacturer of such everyday materials as Scotch-brand adhesive tape and Post-It Notes, would begin to phase out health insurance coverage as currently offered to retirees, opting instead to provide retirees with an unspecified health reimbursement with which they could in turn use to procure privately-run health care plans. While the news certainly once again pokes holes in the president’s “keep your plan” promise, if the White House addresses it at all, expect the language in the in-house memorandum itself to be touted as a victory of sorts.
“As you know, the recently enacted health care reform law has fundamentally changed the health care insurance market,” the memo said. “Health care options in the marketplace have improved, and readily available individual insurance plans in the Medicare marketplace provide benefits more tailored to retirees’ personal needs often at lower costs than what they pay for retiree medical coverage through 3M.
“In addition, health care reform has made it more difficult for employers like 3M to provide a plan that will remain competitive,” the memo said. The White House says retiree-only plans are largely exempt from new health insurance regulations under the law.
The problem, however, is two-fold.
First, the same White House which insists that retiree-only plans will be largely exempt from new health insurance regulations also insisted that it would eliminate the income tax for seniors making less than $50,000 yearly, that it would end the practice of awarding no-bid contracts with values above $25,000, that it would permit Americans to purchase imported prescription drugs, that it would refrain from increasing any taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year, and that it would ensure that health care reform legislation negotiations were there for all to see on C-SPAN. You get the point. We see how all that, and more, turned out. This administration simply cannot be trusted.
Second, as poor as the administration’s track record on keeping its word is, that abysmal record is only augmented in this case by the very nature of the president’s new health care reform law. This is a progressive law, folks. While the far-left fringe of the Democratic Party failed in its attempt to use health care reform to implement a single-payer system now–remember the so-called “public option”?–the legislation was, by design, deliberately constructed so as to make private insurance so cost-prohibitive and the American public so uncomfortable so as to ensure that several years down the road the very same people who argued against single-payer in 2009 and 2010 would be clamoring for the government to get involved.
What we’re seeing from McDonalds and 3M and Principal Financial and CVS-Caremark is more than a simple dose of reality in the face of lofty rhetoric and empty promises from the president and his Democrats. What we’re seeing from McDonald’s and 3M and Principal Financial and CVS-Caremark, joined with what we’ve seen already from AT&T, Caterpillar, Verizon, John Deere and more and the several billion dollar hit those companies took to their bottom line, is the beginning of that inherently progressive law doing exactly what it was meant to do.
Any doubt that the slow, forced erosion of the private insurance industry anything but intentional should be nullified if you consider what President Obama himself said in June and July 2009 when asked the about his apparent pending violation of his own “keep your plan” promise.
“When I say ‘if you have your plan and you like it … or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans,’” Obama told ABC’s Tapper at a June 2009 press conference, “what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.”
A month later, when asked the same question by ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Obama stated that “I can’t pass a law that says, ‘I’m sorry, employers, you can never make changes to the health care plans that you provide your employees.’ What I can say is that the government is not going to force you to, your employer or you to join a government plan, for example. If you’re happy with it, and your employer’s happy with it, keep it.”
Barack Obama himself may not have robbed millions of seniors and hourly workers alike of the ability to keep the health care plan they currently have, but his policies have made it impracticable to do just that. Every day, like today with the news from 3M, we see that those promises not already broken by this administration are, by design, impossible to keep.