In Part 1 of this series I listed things in the house version of ObamaCare (H.R.3200) that I think are worthwhile in concept if not in their implementation. I also presented elements of the proposed legislation I considered bad in concept. Part 2 highlights some things in H.R.3200 that are downright ugly.
Some have said there is no bill simply because nothing has yet been passed. In response, I point out that H.R.3200, as posted on the Internet prior to the Congress’ August recess, is the bill President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid pushed to pass and sign into law BEFORE leaving Washington for the recess.
H.R.3200 may be modified after Congress returns in September, but the version dated July 14, 2009, is the version they want.
The Ugly -
1. Losing Your Current Insurance: - Section 102 allows current health insurance plans to be “grandfathered” so “you can keep your current insurance if you like it”. However, paragraph (a) (2) reads as follows:
“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.”
This paragraph seems to require conversion to a “qualified” plan if anything changes in your current health insurance. If you have insurance through a private employer you are aware that health insurance coverage is renegotiated annually. So unless your employer elects to keep the current plan literally forever you will be forced into a “qualified” plan – probably as early as the year following enactment of ObamaCare (Y1).
2. Squeezing Insurance Companies: - Sections 141, 142 and 161 combined turn health insurance into a true commodity. Section 141 establishes a “Health Choices Administration”. Section 142 requires that the “Health Choices Administration create a standard benefits package that defines a “Qualified” plan or QHBP. And Section 161 establishes a limit on how profitable a health insurance company can be by requiring rebates to policy holders when profitability exceeds a predefined level. Insurance companies would effectively become “mutual insurance companies” and stock holders will need to find other investments. Capital will become a problem and a couple of years with higher than expected claims may force companies out of business.
3. Insurance for Illegal Aliens: - Section 301 theoretically precludes illegal aliens from getting taxpayer-paid public option health insurance. It does not preclude them from buying public option health insurance that will almost certainly be subsidized for all. It will also be entirely moot if President Obama and the Democrat Congress are able to push through their desired “comprehensive immigration reform”. Once passed the illegals would be illegal no more and hence eligible for taxpayer-paid public option health insurance after all.
There’s plenty more ugly to report in future posts.