One of the statist battlecries of Obamacare has been that greedy insurance companies don’t want your business if you have a pre-existing condition. Or, if they want your business they’ll charge up the ying-yang.
A lot of emotion surrounds the issue but you can’t decide public policy on emotion. Imagine for a moment that you own an insurance company that limits coverage for people with pre-exising conditions or doesn’t accept those that have them.
You only cover healthcare for diseases or injuries incurred after people sign up. However, one day a woman comes along and wants to sign up. The problem is that she has a severe illness that would cost your insurance company $200,000 a year.
Are you going to let her sign up for a couple hundred a month? If you did, you would essentially be stealing from your existing policyholders. That money has to come from somewhere. And that’s where it will come from.
Insurance is not supposed to be like buying a winning lottery ticket. People sign up for insurance because no one knows in advance who will win and who will lose. If you already know you will win, it’s not insurance. It’s forced wealth redistribution from existing policyholders to you.
Right before Halloween, President Obama lashed out at what he called “bad apple insurers.”
“One of the things health reform was designed to do was to help not only the uninsured but also the under-insured,” Obama said. “And there are a number of Americans, fewer than 5 percent of Americans, who’ve got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident.
“Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received or used minor pre-existing conditions to jack up your premiums or bill you into bankruptcy.”
One would surmise that Obamacare would somehow put these “bad apple insurers” out of business. Of course, no such thing happened because the statement is a blatant lie.
Price transparency is slowing expanding in the US. The Hollywood Walk-In Clinic is an excellent example. The facilities are top-notch, modern, and affordably priced. An urgent care visit is only $69. Curiously, under Obamacare the co-pay for the Bronze plan is $120 for an urgent care visit.
When Obama was pitching Obamacare, he realized people would be concerned about losing their current insurance and paying higher prices.
If the American public believed this, Obamacare would be dead on arrival. So, he repeatedly insisted that this would NOT be the case. Here are some quotes from President Obama:
If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance. This law will only make it more secure and more affordable.
If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your current health insurance plan you can keep it.
If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.
Now, anyone who did even a cursory reading of the Affordable Care Act knew the President was lying.
This week “Obamacare” (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) enrollment begins. Briefly, how did we get here?
The core of “Obamacare,” the requirement that individuals purchase health insurance, traces back to Stuart Butler at the conservative Heritage Foundation in the late 1980s. This can be seen in a 1989 Heritage monograph (p. 51). Ezra Klein points to University of Pennsylvania economics professor and conservative Mark Pauly as the father of the individual mandate based on Pauly’s co-authored 1991Health Affairs paper (p. 8, item 3) supporting the idea.
Two years after Pauly’s paper, and using the same argument Pauly made about mandatory auto insurance, conservative Republican Newt Gingrich appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press enthusiastically supporting the mandate. (Gingrich re-endorsed the mandate on the same program on May 15, 2011, then recanted the next day after a firestorm of criticism and ridicule.)
A Republican governor, Mitt Romney, signed the mandate into law in Massachusetts in April of 2006. Barack Obama, as a presidential primary candidate in 2008, firmly opposed the mandate but as president signed it into U.S. law on March 23, 2010.
In danger of being overturned, in June of 2012 conservative Republican Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, came to the mandate’s rescue, providing the critical fifth vote to the court’s progressive judges in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius to cement the mandate in place as supposedly constitutional statute.