The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 12, 2013

ACA deceit claims skew issue

Here are two statements:

(1) The ACA does not require that you give up the insurance you have now.

(2) Insurance companies and employers will never be able to make any decisions that would affect the insurance coverage you have now.

President Obama said, “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.”

Those attacking the President for lying need to show that he clearly meant both (1) and (2). The evidence for (1) is clear, namely, the ACA’s grandfather clause. But the evidence that he meant (2) is non-existent. I would even say the claim that he was promising (2) is ridiculous. In context, Obama was talking about what government would do (or not do), not about what employers and insurance companies could do.

According to the Cigna Insurance website, “Plans remain grandfathered indefinitely unless companies:

Significantly reduce benefits

Increase costs to their employees, or

Reduce how much the employer pays toward benefits.”

There is another way the grandfather status disappears, namely, if employers or insurance companies decide to substitute new insurance plans for grandfathered ones — since new plans must conform to the new, required minimum standards of the ACA. As the Blue Cross website puts it, “Carriers [companies selling insurance] have the choice whether or not to continue grandfathered plans — a decision not to grandfather would mean that a plan had been modified to comply with all regulations applying to post-March 23, 2010 plans.”

If persons in the individual insurance market are receiving notices about these substitutions, this occurs because of the insurance company’s choice, not a governmental demand.

Since employers and insurance companies continually decide to make changes in insurance plans, the grandfathered plans probably will disappear over time. But the net result should be better health insurance coverage at a more affordable cost for the vast majority of people.

Can the President be accused of “bait and switch” tactics, since he knew about the likely disappearance of grandfathered plans over time?

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