NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 16, 2009

It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill.  Right there on page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage.  Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:

"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.

So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised -- with, of course, exceptions, says IBD:

  • Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it.
  • Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.

From the beginning, opponents of the public option plan have warned that if the government gets into the business of offering subsidized health insurance coverage, the private insurance market will wither:

  • Drawn by a public option that will be 30 percent to 40 percent cheaper than their current premiums because taxpayers will be funding it, employers will gladly scrap their private plans and go with Washington's coverage.
  • The nonpartisan Lewin Group estimated in April that 120 million or more Americans could lose their group coverage at work and end up in such a program.
  • That would leave private carriers with 50 million or fewer customers; this could cause the market to, as Lewin Vice President John Sheils put it, "fizzle out altogether."

What wasn't known until now is that the bill itself will kill the market for private individual coverage by not letting any new policies be written after the public option becomes law, says IBD.

The legislation is also likely to finish off health savings accounts, a goal that Democrats have had for years, says IBD.  They want to crush that alternative because nothing gives individuals more control over their medical care, and the government less, than HSAs.

Source: Editorial, "It's Not An Option," Investor's Business Daily, July 15, 2009.

For text:


Browse more articles on Health Issues