Okay; in the name of trying to be an informed citizen, I'm taking my Sunday morning (after a quick workout and breakfast date with the kids) to see if I can read as much as I can of the new proposed "Obamacare" bill. I'll probably never get through the whole thing, but I'll see if I can get through some of it...
One of the things we've heard over and over about this bill is that Americans satisfied with their current health insurance will have the option of simply keeping their current insurance.
However, let's look at the relevant section of HR 3200:
SEC. 102. PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE.
(a) Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage Defined- Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term ‘grandfathered health insurance coverage’ means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:
(1) LIMITATION ON NEW ENROLLMENT-
(A) IN GENERAL- 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 Y1.
(B) DEPENDENT COVERAGE PERMITTED- Subparagraph (A) shall not affect the subsequent enrollment of a dependent of an individual who is covered as of such first day.
(2) LIMITATION ON CHANGES IN TERMS OR CONDITIONS- Subject to paragraph (3) and except as required by law, the issuer does not change any of its terms or conditions, including benefits and cost-sharing, from those in effect as of the day before the first day of Y1.
(3) RESTRICTIONS ON PREMIUM INCREASES- The issuer cannot vary the percentage increase in the premium for a risk group of enrollees in specific grandfathered health insurance coverage without changing the premium for all enrollees in the same risk group at the same rate, as specified by the Commissioner.
(c) Limitation on Individual Health Insurance Coverage-
(1) IN GENERAL- Individual health insurance coverage that is not grandfathered health insurance coverage under subsection (a) may only be offered on or after the first day of Y1 as an Exchange-participating health benefits plan.
In essence, this says that you can keep your current insurance is and only as long as "the issuer does not change any of its terms or conditions" of the policy and does change the premiums except as per a specific allowable formula.
Market conditions change. Insurance companies tweak plans all the time, as a matter of course. Under this bill, any change at all in any such policy will invalidate it. Competition for these pre-existing policies will be non-existent as no private insurer may offer a new non-qualifying insurance plan that is not grandfathered.
Of course, this provision could be adjusted before anything passes, but this is how the bill stands, as of now.
Question: Is the President being somewhat less than forthcoming when he promises, over and over again, that you will be able to keep your current insurance? I understand it's technically accurate. But doesn't honesty demand a caveat such as; "but, oh, by the way, we're phasing out the private insurance plans that you have now."?