Insurance Companies to Blame for Old Canceled Policies

Dean BakerI am going to be out pretty much all day, so there won’t be anything up until tonight. However, I wanted to mention a really good article by Dean Baker, You Can Keep Your Insurance: Washington Post Fact Checker Assessment. It follows after Glenn Kessler’s assessment of Obama’s statement that if you liked your insurance you could keep it. Kessler gave the statement “four Pinocchios.” It’s all pretty pathetic, because he has to go pretty far out of his way to find the statement that misleading.

It does remind me that Politifact will undoubtedly use this as their “Lie of the Year.” It is so rare that these supposed fact checkers get an actual lie from the left side of the political spectrum, they are going to use it for all it’s worth. And more, as we see with Kessler.

Baker put the whole thing in perspective. The truth of the matter is that insurance policies that were in effect when the law took effect can, in fact, keep being sold. They were fairly restrictive about how they could change them going forward, but they were most definitely not required to end them. How it looks to me is that the companies preferred to end those policies. Given that everyone is now required to get insurance, why allow someone to buy a cheap policy when they could force them into a higher cost policy.

This gets down to the evil essence of the Affordable Care Act. Requiring everyone to buy overpriced and inefficient health insurance from a private company is the height of crony capitalism. From a constitutional or libertarian standpoint, straight government run single payer is actually a more justifiable system. Not that I expect any flavor of conservative to admit that. But we are, at least for now, stuck with this system and it is what it is.

The main thing is that although Obama was largely wrong when he said people could keep their existing insurance, it wasn’t especially a lie. It was more along the lines of what we’ve all come to expect from Obama: naivete. What’s more, it is the wrong way to think about this. We should be thinking in terms of people getting decent insurance. But the media system just can’t resist this story. For once the Republican Party has a talking point that has a real kernel of truth. It’s very much a kind of false equivalence, however. Since the Republicans are usually on about nothing, the media make a big deal when they are a quarter right. Hopefully we can get past all this and onto some real news this week. But it is unlikely.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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