Lies, Damned Lies, and Scare Tactics

16 Jul

This morning, an understandably concerned friend shared an editorial with me that suggested that the House version of the health reform bill would kill the individual private health insurance industry. The article, the link to which I hesitatingly include here (read at your own risk), plays on two rather prominent concerns Americans have: Loss of choice and Government-run health care.

Specifically, the editorial claims that those who currently have individual private coverage would not be able to change their plans, but would be forced to keep their current coverage (loss of choice), and that the future creation of new individual private insurance plans would be, and I quote, “illegal.” This, we are told, would lead directly to an Orwellian state-run system.

Are you scared to death yet? I wouldn’t blame you if you were. Scare tactics are VERY effective. The problem is, that the editorial is just plain wrong. Allow me to explain….

The editorial takes one paragraph of a HUGE piece of legislation out of context. There is no indication that the individual private health insurance market is being made “illegal”…..rather the proposed legislation would:

1. Grandfather in existing individual private insurance plans and require them to adhere to strict terms — which are included to protect enrollees from having their benefits reduced or their premiums raised at unreasonable rates in the wake of health reform (to prevent private insurers from attempting to “compete” with the public plan on uneven terms that would essentially be unfair to the consumer who would be ill-informed as to prices and benefits of other products
available to them — if any of you’d like to give that a try, you should visit the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan Finder and play around with it to see if you can pick the “best” plan.
(And before you go saying, “Well, that’s no surprise! The government can’t do anything right!” Keep in mind that these are PRIVATE insurers’ plans you are looking at.)

2. Require private health insurers who intend to offer new individual plans in the wake of reform to participate in the government’s new “health insurance connector” — something taken directly from the Massachusetts plan (enacted under the Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, by the way) — the purpose of which is to help pool risks in the individual market (which would help keep costs down) as well as make it easier for individuals to compare plans side-by-side. Like the Medicare Part D tool referenced above, this is likely to be confusing, but honestly, it will be less confusing than the convoluted mess we have now. That is to say “seeing through a glass darkly” is better
than remaining completely blind.

But, hey, this is a democracy, so don’t just take my word for it. When it comes to anything we hear, see, or read in politics, we would do well to be like Paul Harvey and be sure to get “the rest of the story.” For those of you who feel especially “inclined” the full 1,018 page House bill is available here.


2 responses to “Lies, Damned Lies, and Scare Tactics

  1. Anonymous

    July 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    No, it doesn't say "illegal." But the lack of choice comes from if you do not have a provider the year this goes into effect, you WILL HAVE the public ins. Where's the choice in that? And forget about changing anything in your current policy. You are stuck with that coverage you have on day 1 of year 1 of this plan.Obama himself doesn't even know about this part of the bill!! WHAT?! Give me a break! Of course he knows about it. He jus doesn't the rest of us to know anything about it. We're just suppose to trust him and ALL the others in Congress to do what's right for the good of the community (Socialism anyone?)In the press conf last night he said the American people will no longer pay for tests that do not make us better. Since when does a test make us better? The test provides the info needed to take a course of action to make us better. How are we going to know what to do to make us better if we can't have the tests!!? Yes, they may be costly, but is our lives not worth it? Well some of us may not be, but the govt will decide that issue as well. Good luck!!This is just another step in govt controlling another aspect in our lives. Why is this OK? Why do we need MORE govt in our lives? What does the govt know about my health and what I need? Since when can the govt do a better job than my doctor? Where's their Medical Degrees?Very Concerned, Law-Abiding, Constitution-loving, Independent American Citizen

  2. Very Concerned Law Abiding Consitution Loving Independent Citizen Too

    August 9, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    MRI's ordered by private practice doctors who own their own MRI machines and need to pay for them would be one example of "tests that don't make us better." This is happening in all areas of medicine all over the country.


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