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Tangled Web: “You Can Keep Your Healthcare Plan.”

Written by Gary North on October 30, 2013

“O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott

American Presidents sometimes utter memorable phrases that come back to bite them. Richard Nixon’s was this: “I am not a crook.” (This trumped his statement to the press after his 1962 defeat for Governor of California: “You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more.”)

George H. W. Bush’s was this: “Read my lips. No new taxes.” Then he raised taxes.

Bill Clinton’s was this: “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

Barack Obama’s is probably going to turn out to be this: “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your plan.” He said this repeatedly. Here is a video with selections of this promise.

Here is another.

A story has hit the news media. The President knew that this would not be the case from the very beginning. Millions of Americans have received or will receive “Dear John” letters from their insurance companies: they will lose their coverage. In short: “Go fish.”

But where will they fish? The www.Healthcare.gov site does not work.

For most of those shoppers who find a policy, premiums will be higher.

Here was the lead paragraph for NBC’s version of the story of the “keep your plan” story.

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

That puts it starkly. But is this really true? The story continues.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

So, the policies will cost more. The President has promised subsidies to reduce the cost of premiums for most Americans, paid for by the taxpayers. But it turns out that this subsidy is not in the law as written, at least not for anyone buying health insurance from the federal government’s program, only the states’ exchanges. A federal judge will now decide whether the federal government can legally offer such subsidies. Fear will now spread. “What if he says that there will be no subsidies?”

This raises these two questions: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” That was Senator Howard Baker’s repeated question during the Watergate hearings. The answer — on audiotape — eventually brought down Nixon.

What did Obama know, and when did he know it?

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

Millions of people will be hit.

“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms. Laszewski estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to buy insurance that meets requirements of the new law, which generally requires a richer package of benefits than most policies today.

The White House does not dispute that many in the individual market will lose their current coverage, but argues they will be offered better coverage in its place, and that many will get tax subsidies that would offset any increased costs.

But will they get these subsidies? That is for the federal courts to say, or maybe the Supreme Court.

President Obama will be remembered, above all, by what happens to ObamaCare. If the courts say “no subsidies for policies bought on the federal government’s list,” he will not be remembered fondly.

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35 thoughts on “Tangled Web: “You Can Keep Your Healthcare Plan.”

  1. niggy nigoya says:


  2. However you want to look at it, it is all just a big scam for insurance company's to profit. Why is it we are not talking about the real problem here….the actual cost of the health care we receive. We don't even need the middle man insurance company if the cost were inline with what they really cost…..give me a break….I had a trip to the ER for a kidney stone…..X-ray, laid in a bed for about 2 hours as the pain meds kicked in, then released…..over $5000!!!! What a scam rip off….I wasn't even seen by an MD!!!! This is the problem….for profit hospitals…..just as everything has become in our society run by the corporations!!! Wake up people…..revolt now!!!! Please throw out all incumbents of both parties….they are all beholding!!!!! Our once proud country is swirling the bowl!!!!

  3. bless2live says:

    America, still in hostage state being held from the enemy within!!

  4. Not only did the President know this as he was telling the public that we could "keep it", the press was aware of this as well. It is hypocritical for the press to point their fingers and scream, "LIAR!" when their own pants are on fire as well. Corruption and self-serving has contaminated everything. Diogenese won't be able to find any honest men (or women) in government or the press today. Where has all the integrity gone?

  5. I sympathize with Michael about his costly hospital visit. Some healthcare costs could have been addressed in the new law if the lawmakers had been smarter. Specifically the cost of a medical education and the expense of litigation insurance. Controlling both of these expenses would have delivered a message that healthcare was not about just managing the source of insurance.

  6. It’s all a “process.” One that will keep moving inexorably toward socialized medicine. The Community Organizer-in-chief may be ignorant but he’s not stupid.

  7. The profit mechanism is what allows our economy to function.

  8. Embattled MD says:

    It is telling that you weren't even seen by an MD. The doctors take home something like 5-7% of all money spent on health care in the United States (back in 2007 it was about 10%– see http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/do-d… for an example reference). Yet the administration, drug companies, device companies, insurance companies, malpractice insurers, malpractice attorneys, hospitals, and more all point the finger at "rich doctors."

    I am a physician, and I am actively working towards getting the hell off this sinking ship.

  9. What the voters want to hear is " If you do not like your president, you can impeach it."

  10. Are there any state governors discussing plans to nullify this law just as has been done to block bad law from the Real ID Act to the Run Away Slave Act?

  11. A mugger who takes money on the threat of pain or violence also "profits". Let's not conflate such "profit" or Crony Capitalism with gains acquired through voluntary bargaining and honest presentation of a deal.

  12. Let's not confuse the color of his skin or his ethnic features with his lack of character.

    As far as "White Guilt" – people who harbor bad thoughts feel guilty about them.

  13. The Community Organizer in Chief may be quite intelligent but he is also conceited…. and that will be his downfall.

  14. Wait a minute!! Seems to me that the very people who went to Washington to work for the people who voted for them are the Tea Party Reps. ! Why vote them out? They are working for YOU! and you didn't even vote for them. Personally I want to keep the Representatives that work for me, not the Thieves that keep stealing from us, how about you?

  15. don't forget nixon's we will never have wage and price controls (and raised implemented them the next day)

  16. Respectfully Michael, I must take issue with your general demonization of corporations. The real problems in health care in this country have been caused by government intervention. Now, with the biggest intervention of all in the form of Obamacare, we are seeing a nightmare unfold. Yes, it is true that insurance companies were playing a huge role in determining health care and the outcomes. However, now the government will be assuming that role under AHCA. The question is; Do we really want our health care determined by individuals who cannot even produce a working website?

  17. The main reasons you can't keep your current individual plan is that:

    1. your out-of-pocket annual maximums are higher than allowed under Obamacare ($6350)

    2. your plan has a limit on mental health benefits.

    The latter was historically limited by traditional plans because of the potential to become a black hole of expense.

    A patient could run up tens of thousands in costs annually just from regular therapy (ignoring any drugs or inpatient stays)

    And most mental health care tends to be open-ended, not like a round of chemo.

    It's a boon the "Dr. Hartleys" of the world, but at what price to the rest of us paying the premiums?

  18. I agree whole heartily Tony….but the profits need not be obscene as is the case with the Corp health system.

  19. I have no issues whatsoever with Doctors…..I had attended pre-med and considered med school…however the dedication and time involved was too much for me…..I applaud the ones who endured that path….they deserve to make a very good living…..the obscene money charged is going to obscene CEO pay and obscene corp profit!

  20. The reason your visit cost over $5K is because SOMEBODY has to pay for the uninsured / illegals who show up and expect treatment. News flash: if companies don't profit, whether they are insurance, auto dealers, hospitals, or Walmart, they're out of business.

  21. Can't produce a working website nor balance a checkbook. The insurance companies are the ones who will eventually be screwed on this. One by one, they'll be put out of business, which I believe is the ultimate goal of this nonsense. Then what wll we have? Single payer and no competition for them. Which means they can charge whatever the hell they want. Yeah, that'll help us a lot. . . . .

  22. A subsidy is just a way of hiding the real cost of something, or forcing someone other than the recipient to pay for it.

    Where does the government get the money to "subsidize"? Do these other people pay willingly? What if they don't want to pay? Do they go to jail? Does their property get confiscated? What if they resist being jailed or having their earnings and property taken from them? Don't then people with guns and badges show up to force them? What if they then resist? Are they then not likely shot?

    So what is a subsidy, other than theft by proxy – with the recipient receiving stolen goods?

    Where's the morality in that? Is it compassion? Or is it just a violation of "thou shalt not steal"?

  23. Hey just like the farm bill subsidy and oil company subsidy……just your elected money grubbers at work doing the corp bidding!!!

  24. Here's something else he said on the campaign trail that he never delivered on: "You can take that to the bank!"

  25. All the tax breaks, favors to special interest groups and corporate loopholes you mention, were created during the 50-year Democratic reign in Congress from the end of FDR's administration to 1996 when Newt Gingrich and the Republicans took the House back. Oh, I forgot: you can't read.

  26. The push to put this bill through as soon as possible without proper deliberation, and without bipartisan support told me all that I needed to know about the bill.

    I also know about how arbitrarilty shifting expenses from one party to another, for undrehanded purposes never works as expected.

    So I knew that that Obama was lying from the moment he said he would "Transfer the wealth." And I"m not all that smart. What is wrong with all those millions of people who voted for him the first time?

  27. even better – the ACA also requires treatment for substance abuse be covered.

    now those forced onto ACA-compatible plans can also look forward to subsidizing habitual drug & alcohol abusers and their $1,000/day inpatient rehab stays (unfortunately rehab rarely works the first time around)

  28. old_salty_dawg says:

    No there are some differences between the people you listed at first and Obammy. First Nixon was not a crook in that he stole nothing he was however an accessory to a crime. Bush did not LIE he said NO NEW taxes the key word here is NEW which he did not give he raised old taxes which is an entirely different thing. He did not break his promise but he did do something that could be seen as breaking it by those who hated him which was every Democrat in America. Obammy on the other hand FLATOUT LIED and has not stopped since he still breaths. Obammy is the only person of whom it can be said If he is breathing he is LYING. Obammy LIED and LIED to get that MASSIVE PILE of FECAL MATTER named after him the MOST MASSIVE PILE of FECAL MATTER to ever hold Office. Had the TRUTH been told by Obammy or the MORONS in the SO CALLED MEDIA it would never have gotten passed the American people.

  29. Don't hold back Tom.

    Tell us how you really feel.

  30. I normally don't care about anyone's ethnic make-up, color of their outer skin, ethnic features. I do care about his character, whether he lies, whether he believes that Communism is the answer to all our problems, and his overall sleaziness.

    But, because he was elected because he's Black, and he and his minions keep reminding us that he's Black, and his books remind us that his father was Black African, they have put it on the table and made it a point. It is then a reasonable thing to bring up.

    I personally really don't care if he's purple or blue or green. But I don't like the fact that he splits him loyalty between the Muslim Brotherhood and his Marxist friends.

  31. Another large problem is the fact that hospitals are required to treat people who can't afford it and don't have insurance. That "free care" is paid for by the people who have insurance, and their insurance companies. Michael's $5000.00 bill paid for his $1000.00 care and someone else's $4000.00 treatment.

  32. How about the 80 year old single man who is required to pay for maternity insurance?

  33. bill sexton says:

    wake up America. Stop voting for people who do nothing but line their pockets with our money. Stop voting PARTY and vote what is best for YOU. Vote for honesty, integrity, and people who wont stay longer than two terms in office. Vote for common sense like auditing the federal reserve. What idiot does not want to know where their money is going? Stop voting for power hungry officials to take more and more of our money and spend it blindly with out controls and without our knowledge of where it goes. Low information voters are on a trip to the poor house.

  34. bill sexton says:

    It is all about VOTING! Get involved and help people with common sense get elected. Vote for people who want to help the hard working middle class people keep their hard earned money.

  35. Liar ! Liar ! Pants on fire ! Obama does not know what truth is. Lenin said: " Truth is a burgoisie luxury tha we cannot afford."
    Obama's lies are legion. Remember these whoppers?

    "I promise 100% transparency in my administration."

    "I promise NO NEW TAXES on a family making less than $250K a year."

    "I will allow 5 days of public comment before I sign any bills."

    "I will remove earmarks for PORK projects before I sign any bill."

    "I will end Income Tax for seniors making less than $50K a year."

    "I'll put the Health Care negotiations on CSPAN so everyone can see who is at the table!"

    "I'll have no lobbyists in my administration."

    Maybe the dumbest of the dumb are finaly realizing that this S.O.B. is not the messiah.