This was originally a response to Swamp Yankee’s call for people to read the healthcare bill and publicize problems. See Swamp’s orignal post here. I’ll try to look at other portions tomorrow. I’m really interested in the employer mandate to provide coverage; employee mandate to buy coverage and the end of life/hospice language inserted by one of my senators.
I’ve just read Section 102, which purports to preserve our right to keep our current health coverage. As far as I can tell, any such right is EXTREMELY limited and VAST numbers of people will start to be forced into the government plan on or about January 1, 2013.
I don’t regularly engage in statutory interpretation, but it is really not that hard to parse this screed. I think I’m giving a fair interpretation and accurate description of what will happen in 2013 and 2018. If someone out there thinks I’m wrong, please give me a more plausible interpretation.
SHORT VERSION: We will ALL (you, me, the paperboy, the grocery cashier, Rosie O’Donnell, EVERYONE) will be suffering together with Obamacare by Jan. 1 2018, with next to no exceptions. The “you can keep your current coverage” is true in a very short term sense…otherwise IT IS A LIE.
LONG VERSION: My interpretation is that…
NOTE: I use “government plan” throughout below. By government plan, I mean the public option that will mimic Canada or the UK or a “private” plan that is effectivly under massive government control and oversight (e.g. bureaucrats in charge).
Sec. 102(a) “grandfathers” any private insurance plan in effect on or before Jan. 1, 2013. This means that any entity wishing to implement a health plan after Jan. 1, 2013 must use the government health plan. So if you have any aspiration of owning your own business and want to offer private health benefits to your employees … do it before 2013. [[[ Well … actually … it doesn’t matter. Sec. 102(b)(1)(A) makes it a waste of time to establish a new plan if you plan to still be in business in 2018.]]]
Sec. 102(a)(1) (a) prohibits an employer with a “grandfathered” private plan from adding new employees to that plan after Jan. 1, 2013. So if a company expands and adds people it will be forced to place them on the government plan. More directly, if you change jobs on or after Jan. 2, 2013, you will be put on the government plan, whether your new employer has a “grandfathered” plan or not.
Sec. 102(a)(2) prohibits a “grandfathered” private plan from making any changes to the policy coverage on or after Dec. 31, 2012. So an employer is PROHIBITED for amending the plan to meet the needs of the business or the employees effective Dec. 31, 2012. Even INCREASING COVERAGE is banned. Seems to be a perfect paragraph to include if you want to sped the obsolescence of existing private plans.
Sec. 102(b)(1)(A) was drafted by someone who clearly wants to hide it’s true intent. Basically this paragraph essentially says that on Jan. 1, 2018 all “grandfathered” private plans must be made identical to the government plan. Sure it’s still privately run…but it’s the same as the government plan. Sooooo, why would a company keep it’s private plan come 2018?
Sec. 102(b)(1)(B) – provides some very specialized and limited exceptions to the 2018 deadline to become just like the government plan. Specifically, COBRA coverage extended under the Porkulus and special purpose insurance coverage like long-term care. However, these excepted plans shall “[i]n no case…be treated as acceptable coverage…]. So there will be a very limited number of truly private special purpose plans that exist after 2018, but the government doesn’t like them because they are not acceptable. Who wants to bet that by 2018, they’ll have eliminated those special purpose private plans?
Sec.102(b)(2) says that the “grandfathered” private plans existing on Jan 1, 2013 enter a “grace period” until 2018, when they need to become clones of the government plan. During this grace period the private plans are “treated as acceptable”, meaning they are inherently unacceptable and only the good graces of the government allows them to exist between 2013 and 2018. Again, bets on how quickly this grace period will be shortened or how nebulous “acceptable” is interpreted?
Sec. 102(c) has a title that says it all … “LIMITATION ON INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE” How much more clear does this need to be for people to wake up?
Sec. 102(c)(1) says that if a health plan isn’t “grandfathered” it must be a government plan. Recall my above inpretation of Sec. 102(a) that all entities offering new health coverage aftr Jan 1, 2013 must be on the government plan.
Sec. 102(c)(2) provides another very limited exclusion for specialty coverage.
Sure we can keep our current superior private coverage … for a little while. Should this get enacted say goodbye to insurance coverage as you want it, how you want it and where you want it.