These Journalists Laugh at Your Puny Health Insurance Policy Cancellations

Insert "press gaggle" joke here. Also, this really does come from the White House press shop. ||| White HouseYesterday, I wrote about how
President Barack Obama’s approach toward journalists while selling
the Affordable Care Act has arguably amounted to “working
the refs
.” But there are some professional truth-slingers who
require no extra nudge–they’re here to tell you that Obamacare
critics are all wet, that maybe the president went a
wee bit too far with that whole you-can-keep-it stuff, but
that the more important thing is that these aren’t the health plans
you were looking for.

Here’s a sampling from the genre; bolding is mine to emphasize
apologia for presidential mendacity and other WTFery:

David Firestone, New York Times, “The
Uproar Over Insurance ‘Cancellation’ Notices

Most lawmakers mentioned President Obama’s unfortunate
blanket statement
that all Americans would be allowed to
keep their insurance policies if they liked them. He failed to make
an exception for inadequate policies that don’t meet the new
minimum standards. […]

The so-called cancellation letters waved around at yesterday’s
hearing were simply notices that policies would have to be upgraded
or changed. Some of those old policies were so full of holes that
they didn’t include hospitalization, or maternity care, or coverage
of other serious conditions.

Republicans were apparently furious that government
would dare intrude on an insurance company’s freedom to offer a
terrible product to desperate people
. […]

Luckily, a comprehensive and affordable insurance policy
is…now a basic right….Ms. Sebelius never lost her cool in
three-and-a-half hours of testimony, perhaps because she knows that
once the computer problems and the bellowing die down, the country
will be far better off.

Pssst! Hiltzik! That box to your right! ||| White HouseMichael Hiltzik, Los
Angeles Times
, “Obamacare
hysteria: Don’t believe the canceled insurance hype

We’re supposed to be scandalized by this, since
President Obama himself assured everyone that if they
liked their insurance they’d be able to keep it. […]

Back in March, Consumer Reports published a study of many of
these plans and placed them in a special category: “junk
health insurance
.” Some plans, the magazine declared, may be
worse than none at all. […]

It’s time to tamp down the breathless indignation about these
health plan cancellations. Many of the departing plans are
being outlawed for good reason
, and many of the customers
losing them have no idea how much financial exposure they were
saddled with in the old days. That’s the real scandal in American
health insurance, and Obamacare is designed, rightly, to fix

I prefer his early work. |||Henry J. Aaron, New York Daily News,
truth about those Obamacare coverage letters

Of late, numerous reports have told of people surprised by
letters telling them that insurance plans they now have will not be
renewed. Many are puzzled. Weren’t they told that if they like
their insurance they could keep it? Opponents of health reform in
general are seizing on the fact and asking in an accusatorial
manner: “Isn’t this a betrayal of trust?”

No. […]

[Obamacare] bars certain common practices of insurance companies
that most people find unacceptable at best, outrageous at
worst. […]

People should be no more shocked when substandard insurance
plans are removed from the market than they would be if food purity
legislation caused some products to be removed from a grocer’s
shelf. Obamacare is removing insurance products from the
market that are bad for your health

“Terrible” insurance products that are “bad for your health” and
being “outlawed for good reason”? You might want to ask
Robert Laszewski
about that.

Read Peter Suderman for more on how “The
Obama Administration’s Response to Insurance Plan Cancellations Is
Misleading and Condescending
.” An excerpt from that:

The argument here, essentially, is that anyone whose plan gets
canceled didn’t really like his or her plan—that, even though the
beneficiary might not know it, the plan being canceled wasn’t worth
having anyway.

It’s a fundamentally condescending argument that makes a blanket
assumption that people don’t know whether or not they liked their
plan. It’s also a bunch of nonsense.

The administration can’t possibly know what sort of insurance
each and every individual likes or wants, and it can’t account for
the people who are losing plans that clearly did meet the needs of
the individuals who purchased them.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal‘s
James Taranto has a
making similar points to mine, and with more examples
worth reading.

from Hit & Run

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.