Remember when President Obama promised repeatedly that under Obamacare “if you like your plan you can keep your plan, period”?
Politifact awarded it lie of the year after millions of people got cancellation notices for plans they liked. Yet even now, Democrats are determined to force millions more off insurance plans they like. All in the name of “saving” Obamacare.
Last week House Democrats voted to kill what has become a thriving insurance market for affordable short-term insurance plans that don’t comply with Obamacare’s myriad regulations and benefit mandates.
Short-term insurance existed as a niche market before Obamacare. As the name suggests, the plans were designed to cover gaps in coverage, up to 12 months.
But once Obamacare went into effect and premiums in the individual insurance market spiraled upward — doubling from 2013 to 2017, and up other 27% in 2018 — the short-term insurance market exploded. It rocketed up by 121% in just Obamacare’s first two years.
Rather than recognize this for what it was — a clear sign that Obamacare was failing — the Obama administration tried to kill this market off by limiting short plans to just three months. The rule mandating this didn’t go into effect until late 2016, and Trump reversed it the first chance he got.
Every study that’s looked into it concluded that Trump’s reversal would expand insurance coverage, with some estimates as high as 4 million. Unfortunately, several Democratic states reimposed the Obama limits. And those in the House want to do so nationwide.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says that if those House Democrats got there way, 1.5 million more people would be forced off plans they like.
No matter. Democrats say this is “junk insurance” that nobody should be buying.
But that, too, is a lie.
A new study from the Manhattan Institute found that short-term plans often provided better coverage at lower cost than comparable Obamacare plans.
In Fulton County, Georgia, for example, an Obamacare silver plan will cost a 30-year-old non-smoker $467 a month, for a plan with $2,000+ deductible, and an almost $8,000 out-of-pocket maximum.
A comparable short-term plan — with a slightly higher deductible but a lower out-of-pocket maximum — has premiums of just $250 a month. That’s 46% cheaper.
The study also found that while most if not all Obamacare plans available in any given market are HMO plans — which provide no coverage for providers outside the plans’ narrow networks — many of the short-term plans are PPOs, which typically have much broader provider lists.
The study’s author, Chris Pope, goes on to say that short-term plans “cover a significantly larger share of medical costs than ACA exchange plans for the same premiums.”
What’s “junk” about that?
When the Washington Post looked into short-term plans, it came to a similar conclusion, finding them “more consumer-friendly and less like ‘junk’ insurance than Democrats originally charge.”
More importantly, the people buying these short-term plans don’t consider them “junk.” In fact, satisfaction rates are at 91%, according to eHealth, which is significantly higher than the 70% satisfaction rate among Obamacare enrollees (most of whom are getting generous premium subsidies).
So why take away this choice? Because it will “sabotage” Obamacare?
Of course, Democrats want to go much further in denying health care choices. “Medicare for all” — which has been endorsed by virtually every Democratic presidential candidate — would force everyone off private plans they like, and into a one-size-fits-all government insurance program.
When it comes to health insurance, the Democrats idea of choice is akin to Henry Ford’s color selections for the Model T.
You can have any health plan you like, so long as it’s the one and only one we approve.
— Written by John Merline
Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. We’re just getting started, and we’ll be adding new features as time permits. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide.
Be sure to tell all your friends! And if you’d like to make a contribution to support our effort, feel free to click the Tip Jar over on the right.