ObamaCare Built On Foundation Of Lies And Falsehoods

Commentary by Devon Herrick

Source: Investor’s Business Daily

Conservative activist James O'Keefe recently embarrassed the Obama administration when his hidden camera crew filmed health exchange navigators advising an applicant to lie in order to get a better deal.

An individual, he explained, could conceal occasional cigarette smoking and understate income — lies that could reduce a person's premiums by more than $1,000 a year.

The navigators' employer, the Urban League of Greater Dallas, suspended the navigators suspected of wrongdoing and fired another employee who advised the applicant to lie. But, in retrospect, the Urban League employees were merely following the example set by the Obama administration.

It was Obama and his minions who established the precedent that it was OK to misrepresent the facts, to tell people what they wanted to hear and to help people avoid uncomfortable choices by foisting costs onto others — if that's what it took to amass support for health reform.

A falsehood advanced by the president himself was "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan." Other members of Congress echoed this bogus claim, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The assurance that Americans could keep their health plan if they preferred it over the more costly ObamaCare health coverage was clearly disingenuous. Writing for Slate.com, Washington-based columnist Matthew Yglesias called this "an irresponsible promise, a cowardly cave-in to focus-group findings that it was what Americans wanted to hear."

The president reiterated his claim recently, but this time the promise came with an expiration date. To prevent insurers from canceling millions of insurance policies before the health insurance exchanges function correctly, the administration is willing to allow Americans to keep their old health plans — but only until October 2014.

A letter sent to state insurance commissioners by the Obama administration hinted at the real reason for the delay, saying:

"Some of them are finding that such coverage would be more expensive than their current coverage, and thus they may be dissuaded from immediately transitioning to such coverage."

In other words, it's not the poorly designed exchange website that's stopping people from enrolling in ObamaCare, it's the sticker shock consumers experience when they see the price tag.

In reality, the architects of the Affordable Care Act never intended to allow consumers to keep their coveted low-cost health plans. The ACA allows employers to retain "grandfathered" plans — assuming almost nothing about the plan changes.

The administration undoubtedly knew it is not uncommon for employers to change insurance carriers from one year to the next to get a better deal. Thus, the likelihood of an employer keeping a health plan year after year was almost zero.

Where the promise allowing consumers to keep their preferred health plan really makes a difference is in the individual market. Yet, almost none of the pre-ObamaCare individual policies are in compliance with the ACA.

By law, most people who want to keep their individual coverage cannot legally keep what they have. Nor can insurers continually renew these policies after ObamaCare goes into effect.

The reason ACA proponents don't want you to keep your old health plan is because healthy enrollees with individual coverage are expected to pay higher premiums for ObamaCare policies so older, less-healthy enrollees can get coverage at a bargain. This would not be possible unless those already covered by low-cost plans are forced to enroll in more expensive ObamaCare exchange policies.

Another implicit lie proponents told to gain support for health reform was that Americans would get something for nothing. Voters were assured ObamaCare would save families at least $2,500 annually in lower premiums and that the ACA would even reduce the deficit.

These rosy projections assumed the cost of ObamaCare would be paid for by others, including future taxpayers who cannot yet vote and doctors who treat Medicare patients, and by taxes on medical devices, over-the-counter drugs, health plans and new taxes on the rich.

Strangely, most of these taxes actually boost the cost of medical care, which ultimately raises the cost of health coverage.

In addition, a former Medicare chief actuary stated that the Medicare cuts would reduce seniors' access to care, and are therefore unlikely to take place. This lost revenue has to be made up from somewhere — probably from higher taxes on our grandchildren.

It's beginning to look like health reform was built on a foundation of lies, falsehoods, distortions, misrepresentations, half-truths and gross-exaggerations. What Congress and the president must do to make good on the president's original promise is to repeal those ACA provisions that strictly regulate health plan benefits and mandated coverage levels.

Only by repealing these strict limits would insurers be allowed legally to continue providing the coverage many Americans enjoy. This would allow individuals to keep the plan they already have — or purchase a similar policy from another willing insurer.