Dear David Axelrod,
Like a lot of Americans today I received your email today regarding health reform. As usual the propaganda you and the rest of the Obama administration send out requires a deep understanding of what exactly you are saying. The first 8 reforms that you list are 8 that a majority of Americans would agree with (me included), but what prompted me to write this letter to you was this section about keeping your own health insurance if that's what you desire:
You can keep your own insurance. It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
Mr. Axelrod, that's simply not an accurate picture or description of what's in the current version of House Bill # 3200 America's Affordable Health Choice Act of 2009. When you write it WILL NOT ELIMINATE THEM OR YOU CAN KEEP YOUR OWN INSURANCE those are simply too absolute descriptions that do not currently describe the language in the bill. So I'm very confused as to why you would describe something in this manner when the bill contains the following language:
- Your plan can be grandfathered as long as the insurer does not change ANY terms & conditions including benefits and cost sharing. That simply seems to be an impossibility over time, but at the onset of this plan it is probably technically accurate.
- There is a grace period of 5 years. After 5 years what happens????
- Any insurance that is not grandfathered must then qualify for the exchange. I think this part is added to close any possible loopholes in writing a bill, but then again who knows?
I reprinted the exact language below. As an American with concerns on health insurance (if you personally knew me instead of the hello you gave me as this year's AAPC you'd understand what I mean), I find it shameful at the absolutes you and the rest of Obama administration put around keeping your current insurance.
Why wouldn't you simply say "you can can your current insurance for the first 5 years as long as there is no change to ANY terms including benefits and cost sharing"? Isn't that the more accurate description? Wouldn't that be fairer to average Americans trying to understand this bill.
Perhaps you as an adviser to President Obama believes that is an avenue you don't want to go down because it isn't a good sound bite for marketing Health Care Reform. I think it is horribly wrong to market Health Care Reform in this manner.
If I'm wrong in interpreting this current bill, please let me know. I may not be part of the Administration but I have a degree in Engineering from Rutgers as well as a MBA from Rutgers, so I'm pretty sure I have the intellect to interpret words like grandfathered and grace period. However, once again if I'm wrong, I'm happy to correct this post. I'd really like to know your thoughts.
PardonMyFrench and thanks,
P.S. Mr Axelrod, you'll notice I didn't give the tougher argument but the one I believe in which is after a public option is introduced it will be too hard for private companies to compete or worse, businesses will gladly pay the $750 per employee fine to drop offering health care coverage and force everyone to the public option.
-----------------------COPY OF THE BILL REGARDING GRANDFATHERED PLANS
Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage Defined- Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term ‘grandfathered health insurance coverage’ means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:
(1) LIMITATION ON NEW ENROLLMENT
IN GENERAL- Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health
insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual
in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after
the first day of Y1.
(B) DEPENDENT COVERAGE PERMITTED- Subparagraph (A) shall not affect the subsequent enrollment of a dependent of an individual who is covered as of such first day
IN GENERAL- The Commissioner shall establish a grace period whereby,
for plan years beginning after the end of the 5-year period beginning
with Y1, an employment-based health plan in operation as of the day
before the first day of Y1 must meet the same requirements as apply to
a qualified health benefits plan under section 101, including the
essential benefit package requirement under section 121
TRANSITIONAL TREATMENT AS ACCEPTABLE COVERAGE- During the grace period
specified in paragraph (1)(A), an employment-based health plan that is
described in such paragraph shall be treated as acceptable coverage
under this division.
(1) IN GENERAL- Individual health insurance coverage that is not
grandfathered health insurance coverage under subsection (a) may only
be offered on or after the first day of Y1 as an Exchange-participating
health benefits plan.