A little needed perspective on those health plans

National news has been dominated today by President Obama’s decision to allow insurance companies to continue  to offer plans that would have been canceled by Affordable Care Act.

But the problem with the cancellation of plans is not as cut and dried as you think. Economist Dean Baker addressed that very topic earlier this week in a column that is worth your time to put the current debate in some needed context. Here is the crux of Baker’s point.

First, it is important to note that the ACA grand-fathered all the individual policies that were in place at the time the law was enacted. This means that the plans in effect at the time that President Obama was pushing the bill could still be offered even if they did not meet all the standards laid out in the ACA.

The plans being terminated because they don’t meet the minimal standards were all plans that insurers introduced after the passage of the ACA. Insurers introduced these plans knowing that they would not meet the standards that would come into effect in 2014. Insurers may not have informed their clients at the time they sold these plans that they would not be available after 2014 because they had designed a plan that did not comply with the ACA.

However if the insurers didn’t tell their clients that the new plans would only be available for a short period of time, the blame would seem to rest with the insurance companies, not the ACA. After all, President Obama did not promise people that he would keep insurers from developing new plans that will not comply with the provisions of the ACA.



  1. GOP Rules

    November 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Yeah, it’t the insurance companies fault. That’s the ticket. Nevermind that everyone in the know realized that an insurance policy is a contract with an expiration date and is thus in no way the same as the prior or future version of the contract. President Obama knew what he was doing the whole time, and is just using this as his ultimate leap to government healthcare. Too bad no one here realizess it.

  2. NitWitCharmer

    November 14, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    It’s tough being Democrat when the party breaks unAmerican…

  3. SockPuppet #2

    November 14, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    GOP Rules,

    Have you ever been on the receiving end of an insurance companies pre-existing condition excuse, or one of their other favorites escape clauses “it’s experimental”. So yes, the insurance companies do indeed deserve a LOT of blame for the sub-prime standard of healthcare in this country.

    What ‘evidence’ do you have to support your assertion that “President Obama knew what he was doing the whole time, and is just using this as his ultimate leap to government healthcare. Too bad no one here realizess it”. Yeah, I can see a single payer, government healthcare system happening here in my liftime…not.

    And here we have NWC with his unAmerican statements again… please…. you’ve worn out the unAmerican comment already.

  4. Frances Jenkins

    November 15, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Does Chris ever admit he is wrong and he has mislead the people he wants to inform?

  5. Alan

    November 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Does Frances ever post anything that makes sense?

  6. GOP Rules

    November 15, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Your post is perfect. Rather than destroying the healthcare system in the United States, they should have targeted the situations that were unreasonable. It would have been much easier to implement a reform of pre-existing conditions for example than the path the Democrat party took.

    As far as “Obama knows”, well he knew you could not keep your plan as has been well documented (even in the liberal media I point out). And if Harry Reid knew, you know the President’s handlers let him know.

  7. NitWitCharmer

    November 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    SP said:
    “And here we have NWC with his unAmerican statements again… please…. you’ve worn out the unAmerican comment already.”

    It seems to me that Democrats have worn out progressivism.

  8. GeneMBridges

    November 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    “It would have been much easier to implement a reform of pre-existing conditions for example than the path the Democrat party took.’ Excuse us, but this is a good point to remind you that while no Republican voted for the ACA, they certainly did help write the ACA. That was a bipartisan effort. In fact, the original Democrat plan was a European style NHS. We can find the documentation for the ACA’s genesis in Heritage Foundation documents on their own website. Pretending that the Democrats alone crafted the ACA is bald-faced lie, which is ironic considering you have accused Obama of lying.

    Now, with that said, you obviously know what a lie is. You stated above: “President Obama knew what he was doing the whole time, and is just using this as his ultimate leap to government healthcare .” That implies that his statements were intentional and underwrite a wider, in your opinion, malicious intent to drive us in a particular direction.

    However, you can’t show that. Obama did not lie, unless you can show his intent. To date, you and your side of the aisle have nothing but a set of stock assertions that come from tinfoil hattery.

    A lie is defined as withholding the truth from whom it is due, usually with malice aforethought. This does not rise to that level. Obama did not intentionally do this to do harm to the people. The healthcare companies did, and they are trying to leave him holding the bag.

    Third, the charge that he lied and that the ACA is to blame misplaces blame and misunderstands the concept of moral blame. You’ve made a level confusion.

    By pointing to the ACA, it’s an attempt to hold the law responsible, but responsibility and blame are not the same thing. Responsibility is a necessary, yet insufficient condition for blame. Blame requires a proximate, immediate action. The ACA is responsible mediately, but not immediately. The immediate condition lays solely at the feet of the insurers. There’s nothing especially liberal about that definition; that’s a standard definition of the concept that is covered in any basic logic or ethics class.

    This can be illustrated very simply, and I’m surprised nobody has pointed it out to the critics.

    Hypothetical. A law is enacted that says all properties must be built under a new safety code. Any landlords that own properties built before a certain date have the option of bringing those properties up to code, but they can still rent them. Those properties are grandfathered in. The law itself does not mandate that they close down your building.

    This, by the way, is precisely what the ACA does. Whether or not it includes subsidies is irrelevant to the illustration. The illustration is on point at the key points – the nature of the law, a set of consumer protections codified, a grandfather clause, and the actions that the landlords/insurers take and the options available to the tenants/consumers.

    However, those owners then decide that it is more profitable for them to build and/or rent properties constructed after the new code. They send you a letter telling you that they are going to cease renting the property on a certain date. After that date, your apartment will be considered a condo and you can purchase it, or, they will bring it up to code and you can continue renting it, albeit for a certain price.

    By the way, that’s fairly common practice in gentrified neighborhoods with older apartment buildings. When I lived in Atlanta, this was happening all over the place. It’s happening right now in SFO.

    Under the logic of critics of the ACA, the landlord isn’t to blame, the law is to blame. That’s interesting, because typically, we don’t blame the new building code laws for these practices, we blame the landlords. The logic of the critics strikes me as misplaced.

  9. GOP Rules

    November 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Whether they “helped write it” or not is not an issue. The fact that they did not vote for it is much more relevant. As it was at that time they would have easily pushed through whatever they wanted with the majority they have, so your comment holds no water.

  10. ML

    November 15, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    You failed to address all but one point of a very logical and thorough response by GMB. The comment holds water and hasn’t nothing to do with that fact that you disagree with the idea that any blame rest with anyone but dems. It’s fine if you’re too lazy or too incompetent to address all the valid points laid out by GMB.

  11. GOP Rules

    November 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I am not sure what you mean. Most of the long post is gibberish that has nothing to do with the issue. No reason to debate housing when we are discussing healthcare, plus his example makes no sense at all since it is an individual’s decision no some government mandate.

  12. ML

    November 15, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Not discussing any housing issues, housing was used as a hypothetical or imaginary comparison which was clearly lost on your simple brain.

  13. ML

    November 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Try reading it thoroughly so you can engage in sensible and logical debate. Maybe try out your own hypothetical…

  14. ML

    November 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I guess civitas employees get the weekends off.

  15. Doug Gibson

    November 16, 2013 at 10:40 am


    You’re so right! It would have been so much easier just to regulate insurers’ refusal to enroll folks with pre-existing conditions. That’s why nothing happened on that score from 2002-2006 while Republicans were in entire control of the federal government. It was such an easy fix that they just couldn’t be bothered. Why can’t progressives understand this?

  16. LayintheSmakDown

    November 17, 2013 at 10:11 am

    We had a lot of other things going on in that 2002-2006 time frame, and socialized healthcare was far from the minds of anyone at that time. I do remember in the lead up to the 2009 ramrod through of Obamacare that the main issue was pre-existing conditions putting people out of their insurance, not the need for socialized healthcare. Even what was sold to us was not socialized healthcare, reference the “you can keep your plan” lies by barry and kay “sock puppet” hagan..

  17. genembridges

    November 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Most of the long post is gibberish that has nothing to do with the issue.

    If that’s so, you should be able to address it easily. You can start by demonstrating that Obama “lied.” I outlined an actual argument. Merely asserting that he lied is not an argument it’s just an assertion.

    You can then continue by pointing out how the analogy I offered is inappropriate. It is, of course, exactly relevant to the issue here (the blaming of the cancellation of health plans on Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party – the ACA in particular, which is sum and substance of your first post in this thread. The fact that you gloss right over it demonstrates your inability to reason and your skewed moral compass. To wit: ”
    No reason to debate housing when we are discussing healthcare” – Seriously? You can’t spot an analogy? I see your reading comprehension skills don’t rise above the sixth grade.

    “his example makes no sense at all since it is an individual’s decision no some government mandate. ” Actually, the analogy offered is exactly on point, It even makes the necessary allowances at the key point of comparison. Your inability to follow it says a lot about either your lack of reading comprehension skills or your duplicity or both.

    Notice the bait and switch. Your original contention was that the Democratic Party took a particular direction, to the exclusion of the GOP’s complicity. That’s not convertible with the GOP not voting for the ACA. The reality is that the GOP helped write the ACA. Merely appealing to their lack of votes for a bill they themselves crafted and hails from the Heritage Foundation going all the way back to the 1980’s only highlights their duplicity and your own. Thanks for playing this game of logical fallacies. In the end, all you have is a list of equivocations and assertions, mere slogans, not actual arguments. This, by the way,is why people call the GOP the party of stupid, and for that, we truly do thank you for giving us a marvelous demonstration.

  18. GOP Rules

    November 19, 2013 at 11:46 am


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