Yesterday, Tuesday August 11, 2009 President Obama was quoted saying, "Spread the facts. Let's get this done."
By all means, let us spread the facts. For quite some time now I have been scouring H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009, which is current legislation being proposed at the House of Representatives. This is an insanely long piece of potential legislation filled with labyrinthine twists and turns like to give anyone a headache as they try to navigate their way through it. I know, it gave me one.
There are so many issues with this legislation that I can only concentrate on one at a time here. I will visit as many of the issues as I can for as long as this debate goes on.
First up is the claim from the White House that by no means does any of the proposed legislation prevent you from choosing your insurance, your doctor or both. The talking points repeated over and over again by our president assure the American people that by no means is this reform about converting America into a single payer public health care system.
Isn't it amazing out those in power in our government can tell a truth that is anything but?
The proposed legislation does indeed spell out that you will have the right to choose to stay with your current health insurance. But what it also says is this:
(highlighting is mine for emphasis. I have included Section 102 in its entirety in order to prevent any thoughts that I may be taking anything out of context and thus propagating "misinformation".)
SEC. 102. PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE.
- (a) 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-
- (A) 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.
- (2) 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.
- (3) RESTRICTIONS ON PREMIUM INCREASES- The issuer cannot vary the percentage increase in the premium for a risk group of enrollees in specific grandfathered health insurance coverage without changing the premium for all enrollees in the same risk group at the same rate, as specified by the Commissioner.
- (b) Grace Period for Current Employment-based Health Plans-
- (1) GRACE PERIOD-
- (A) 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.
- (B) EXCEPTION FOR LIMITED BENEFITS PLANS- Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to an employment-based health plan in which the coverage consists only of one or more of the following:
- (i) Any coverage described in section 3001(a)(1)(B)(ii)(IV) of division B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
- (ii) Excepted benefits (as defined in section 733(c) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), including coverage under a specified disease or illness policy described in paragraph (3)(A) of such section.
- (iii) Such other limited benefits as the Commissioner may specify.
- In no case shall an employment-based health plan in which the coverage consists only of one or more of the coverage or benefits described in clauses (i) through (iii) be treated as acceptable coverage under this division
- (2) 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.
- (c) Limitation on Individual Health Insurance Coverage-
- (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.
- (2) SEPARATE, EXCEPTED COVERAGE PERMITTED- Excepted benefits (as defined in section 2791(c) of the Public Health Service Act) are not included within the definition of health insurance coverage. Nothing in paragraph (1) shall prevent the offering, other than through the Health Insurance Exchange, of excepted benefits so long as it is offered and priced separately from health insurance coverage.
What I believe this to be saying (and I am by no means a legal expert) is that if this Act is signed into law, the private health insurance that you currently have will stay the same, and you can choose to keep it, but that at the end of a 5 year grace period it must then convert to and only be offered as an Exchange-participating health benefits plan. Thus an end to your private insurance and the beginning of a government supervised and enforced health care insurance system as outline here:
(Again, highlights are mine for emphasis only. In this next section the QHBP means Quality Health Benefits Plan.)
TITLE II--HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE AND RELATED PROVISIONS
Subtitle A--Health Insurance Exchange
SEC. 201. ESTABLISHMENT OF HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE; OUTLINE OF DUTIES; DEFINITIONS.
- (a) Establishment- There is established within the Health Choices Administration and under the direction of the Commissioner a Health Insurance Exchange in order to facilitate access of individuals and employers, through a transparent process, to a variety of choices of affordable, quality health insurance coverage, including a public health insurance option.
- (b) Outline of Duties of Commissioner- In accordance with this subtitle and in coordination with appropriate Federal and State officials as provided under section 143(b), the Commissioner shall--
- (1) under section 204 establish standards for, accept bids from, and negotiate and enter into contracts with, QHBP offering entities for the offering of health benefits plans through the Health Insurance Exchange, with different levels of benefits required under section 203, and including with respect to oversight and enforcement;
- (2) under section 205 facilitate outreach and enrollment in such plans of Exchange-eligible individuals and employers described in section 202; and
- (3) conduct such activities related to the Health Insurance Exchange as required, including establishment of a risk pooling mechanism under section 206 and consumer protections under subtitle D of title I.
- (c) Exchange-participating Health Benefits Plan Defined- In this division, the term `Exchange-participating health benefits plan' means a qualified health benefits plan that is offered through the Health Insurance Exchange.
Compare what you see, look at the disparities yourself. This isn't a "staged protest". This is not fear mongering, this is imploring you, for the preservation of your freedoms to look into the facts yourself. Do not believe anything I tell you. Do not blindly believe anything our president is telling us. For the sake of all that is good, don't listen to the popular media. Find out for yourself, and when you do, talk about it and encourage everyone you see to do the same.
To paraphrase our President, doing nothing here would be extremely detrimental to America.
How's that, Mr. President, for spreading the facts?
~If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.~