So bad that the New York Times has to issue one of its patented awful editorial board op-eds in order to try to defend the law–and the administration that has botched its implementation. The whole thing is a laugh riot from soup to nuts.
The very title of the piece–”Insurance Policies Not Worth Keeping”–signals to the reader that the Times is fully prepared to cover up, paper over, and outright ignore the fact that President Obama and his political allies repeatedly and deliberately misled the nation by promising Americans that if they liked their health care plans, they could keep them. We are told that the president “clearly misspoke” when he told Americans that they could keep their plans in all instances; for the Times, “clearly misspoke” is a euphemism for “repeatedly consistently and deliberately told the exact opposite of the truth,” given that the prevaricators in this instance were political actors the Times approves of when it comes time to hand out endorsements (and when it comes time for Times employees to go to the polls and vote). This talk about “clearly [misspeaking]” is about as blatant a signal that the Times is ready to engage in journalistic fraud and malpractice as is the opening paragraph, which tells us that the reason news reports are focusing on the cancellation of insurance policies–and the revelation that the Obama administration and its political allies lied to the American people–is that congressional Republicans “have stoked fear and confusion.” As though the stories of cancellations and sticker shock themselves–told straight and without any congressional Republican lobbying for the stories to be told–were not enough to make Americans fearful, and as though the unbelievably malfunctions that have been suffered by the website are not enough in order to make Americans confused and outraged.
We are told that insurers “are scrambling to retain as many of their customers as possible with new policies that are almost certain to be more comprehensive than their old ones,” a sentence that hardly inspires confidence, especially when one considers the context of the Obamacare rollout. We are also told that “in all the furor, people forget how terrible many of the soon-to-be-abandoned policies were. Some had deductibles as high as $10,000 or $25,000 and required large co-pays after that, and some didn’t cover hospital care.” Never mind that we have seen cancellations of insurance policies with deductibles much lower, and customers forced to purchase replacement policies with higher deductibles, and with premium increases of 100%, if not higher.
We also get this:
This overblown controversy has also obscured the crux of what health care reform is trying to do, which is to guarantee that everyone can buy insurance without being turned away or charged exorbitant rates for pre-existing conditions and that everyone can receive benefits that really protect them against financial or medical disaster, not illusory benefits that prove inadequate when a crisis strikes.
The cancellation of millions of insurance plans–a phenomenon the president and his allies assured us would never occur–is an “overblown controversy” now. And what good is health care “reform” when it increases deductibles and premiums in many, many cases, causing financial “crises” for individuals and families all across the country?
Starting next year, all plans sold in this country will be required to provide 10 essential benefits, including some, like mental health and substance abuse treatment and maternity and newborn care, that are not now part of many policies. And premiums may well rise, in part because insurance companies must accept all applicants, not just the healthy.
Why do people who are not expecting to have children–single males, elderly couples, infertile couples–obliged to get health insurance plans that cover maternity and newborn care? Why can’t people opt out of mental health coverage if there is not a reasonable chance that they will need that coverage? Why can’t they get mental health coverage when it is needed? After all, pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied, so in the event that mental health coverage is needed down the line, it can be obtained and the insurance companies cannot deny people who already have pre-existing mental health conditions. The Times assures us that over-coverage–and the high premiums that come with it–is “one price of moving toward universal coverage with comprehensive benefits.” They don’t explain why having unnecessary coverage is a step towards social justice, but as we saw from the beginning of this intelligence-insulting, repulsively dishonest op-ed, the New York Times is less about explaining, and more about covering up a disastrous rollout with disastrous policy consequences for the country. The Times editorial should be ashamed of its partisan shilling, and of the the fact that it cannot competently shill worth a damn.
I am sure that Times editorials in the future will refrain from pointing out the security risks of using the HealthCare.gov website. I am also sure that Times editorials in the future will refrain from excoriating the Obama administration for awful management and rollout procedures for the HealthCare.gov website. The Washington Post story claims that a lot of the truly terrible decisions made by the Obama administration were made because of the fear that competent management decisions would somehow invite Republican political opposition. Apparently, the White House believed that it would be politically safe by making incompetent management decisions, a determination that historians will struggle to comprehend and explain so long as intelligent life continues to exist in the universe and so long as that intelligent life has access to the chronology of the Obamacare rollout story.
The Times editorial board won’t talk about this either:
Senate Democrats voted unanimously three years ago to support the Obamacare rule that is largely responsible for some of the health insurance cancellation letters that are going out.
In September 2010, Senate Republicans brought a resolution to the floor to block implementation of the grandfather rule, warning that it would result in canceled policies and violate President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their insurance if they liked it.
“The District of Columbia is an island surrounded by reality. Only in the District of Columbia could you get away with telling the people if you like what you have you can keep it, and then pass regulations six months later that do just the opposite and figure that people are going to ignore it. But common sense is eventually going to prevail in this town and common sense is going to have to prevail on this piece of legislation as well,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said at the time.
“The administration’s own regulations prove this is not the case. Under the grandfathering regulation, according to the White House’s own economic impact analysis, as many as 69 percent of businesses will lose their grandfathered status by 2013 and be forced to buy government-approved plans,” the Iowa Republican said.
On a party line vote, Democrats killed the resolution, which could come back to haunt vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year.