MYTH AND FACT: ORGANIZING FOR AMERICA MISINFORMATION ON HEALTH CARE BILL

March 16, 2010

On March 10th David Plouffe, President Obama's former campaign manager and current White House advisor, sent out an e-mail with a set of facts on behalf of Organizing for America about the "President's Proposal" for health reform.  In actuality, it is a proposal for the House to pass the same bill that the Senate passed on Christmas Eve, and then for the Senate to pass a "fixer" bill using the nuclear option -- budget reconciliation -- with 51 votes.  The e-mail contains a number of claims about this proposal, many of which are questionable at best, says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

For instance, Organizing for America claims that if you have health insurance through your employer and like your plan, you can keep it.  This claim was debatably true in the Senate bill, but the President's own proposal document lays out on page three why this is false in the section labeled, "Extend Consumer Protections against Health Insurer Practices," says the Chamber: 

  • The proposal would effectively end the ability to "grandfather" plans and keep them in operation after the bill is enacted, instead forcing an exhaustive and onerous list of new mandates on all plans, including employer and "grandfathered" plans.
  • These include forcing all plans to cover "children" up to the age of 26, prohibiting rescissions (withdrawing coverage when customers mislead an insurer on their enrollment forms), mandating a new appeals process, mandatory state and federal annual rate reviews, banning annual and lifetime limits, banning all pre-existing condition exclusions, banning plan differences for highly compensated employees, and forcing all plans to cover government-designated preventative services with no cost-sharing.  

Further: 

  • While most group health plans do not practice rescissions or have preexisting condition exclusions, the new government mandates will lead to reduced plan flexibility and higher costs.
  • All of these policies will increase the costs of a plan, and while some of these changes may have merit, it is undeniable that forcing these changes will cause many plans to change and some to cease operation. 

Source: James Gelfand, "Myth and Fact: Organizing for America Misinformation on Health Care Bill," U.S. Chamber of Commerce, March 13, 2010. 

 

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