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  • Obama’s Non Sequitur: An Instant Response to the White House’s Health Insurance Talking Points

    President Barack Obama is visiting North Carolina and Virginia today looking to shift the debate away from the massive new spending and government control in his health care plan, and to the “Security You Get” under Obamacare. But if  “health insurance consumer protections” are what Obamacare is all about, then why is Congress fighting over massive expansion to Medicaid, the creation of a federal health board, and a public option? If these goals are what the President has in mind, why is Congress doing this other nonsense?

    White House talking point #1: No Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions
    Heritage response: We want all Americans to be able to join the insurance pool without facing discrimination. The federal government has rules on the books that limit the time frame in which employers can impose pre-existing condition exclusions. Congress could simply extend those same rules to the individual-level health insurance market as well.

    That way, people who do the right thing by getting and keeping coverage won’t face pre-existing condition exclusions if they change coverage. At the same time, people will be discouraged from trying to “game” the system by waiting until they are sick to apply for coverage, which is what will happen if insurers and employers were prohibited from imposing pre-existing condition exclusions under any circumstances.

    White House talking point #2: No Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses
    Heritage response: The concern with this promise is you’re ultimately taking choices away from people. We don’t want government to use health-care cost-sharing as a means of income redistribution. When a politician says, “You’re paying a $2,500 deductible and I promise to lower it to $500,” consumers need to keep in mind what options are being taken away from them for that lower cost.

    Government shouldn’t be defining those price points. Consumers and the marketplace should. If we subject health insurance premiums to this kind of government manipulation, Washington will take choices and liberty away from the American people.

    In today’s market, consumers may pay lower health premiums because they’re willing to take the risk of a higher deductible, which can mean out-of-pocket costs. Often, that’s because they think their total cost will be less in the long run. Why would you want to take away that option from them?

    White House talking point #3:
    No Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care
    Heritage response: This is an easy promise to make, but in reality it will drive up health care costs for everyone. When you give people something for free, even preventive care, it will lead to over-utilization, because people aren’t associated with the actual costs.

    Plus, where do you stop on the definition of “preventive care?” Do we want to promise everyone in America they can have their teeth cleaned for free twice a year as preventive care? Or are school jungle gyms really preventive care taxpayers should be paying for?

    Furthermore, some experiments have found that patients actually value and use preventive care more when they have to pay for it (through co-pays or other means).

    White House talking point #4:
    No Dropping of Coverage for Serious Illness
    Heritage response: This is an outrageous issue that needs to be addressed. Now, current federal law already prohibits insurers or employers from selectively dropping the coverage of sick people.

    However, it does permit exceptions to that general rule in cases where the policyholder engaged in fraud, either when applying for coverage or filing claims. Critics have pointed to the cases of insurers apparently abusing that fraud exception to deny coverage or payment.

    This kind of behavior from insurers is unacceptable. However, the solution is to make sure the existing laws on the books are more accurately and fairly applied and enforced.

    White House talking point #5:
    No Gender Discrimination
    Heritage response: Again, the solution is that Americans are treated as part of the larger group. We don’t want health insurance companies looking at a consumer as just a man or woman. Now currently, most health insurance plans do not charge men and women different premiums for the same coverage.

    Still, men and women should all be grouped together and viewed “blindly.” When you have everyone in the pool, spreading the risk and set the premiums accordingly, you’re less likely to run into discrimination based on gender or health type.

    White House talking point #6:
    No Annual or Lifetime Caps
    Heritage response: In your policy, you might have coverage for up to $1 million. Insurance companies typically do. The problem is that $1-million cap was set 40 years ago, when $1 million was considered to be a lot more than it is today.

    Rather than regulating particular policies, the solution is expanding coverage by giving individuals access to that marketplace or exchange where they can freely pool their risk together.

    White House talking point #7:
    Extended Coverage for Young Adults
    Heritage response: We call them the “young immortals,” but they should be participating in the pool. But how do you get them there? We want these young people to join the health insurance pool, but you don’t want to create a situation where young adults can jump on and off an insurance plan. This is an issue for health plans on how they can be more competitive and innovative with their health plan products.

    White House talking point #8: Guaranteed Insurance Renewal
    Heritage response: Congress has already addressed this issue. Since 1996, federal law has required health insurers to provide guaranteed renewal of coverage for individual and group market plans. An insurer cannot decide to not renew you because of your use of medical care. We need to see how we can make sure these rules are justly enforced.

    Ed Haislmaier co-authored this post.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Obama’s Non Sequitur: An Instant Response to the White House’s Health Insurance Talking Points

    1. Norma Jean Wiley,Hil says:

      Has anyone noticed in the "talks" today that in order to continue with a policy, preventative tests would be REQUIRED? This was mentioned in the NC discussion. I also find it so interesting that the end of life councils which are MANDATED are now being said by Mr. Obama to have been MISREAD and MISUNDERSTOOD. My advice to everyone is READ the bill, spread the actual information that is in the bill, and loudly say


    2. Kikillkinrel says:

      ??????? ???????, ??? ????????? ?? ??????

    3. mike , albany , oreg says:

      what good does it do to get health insurance (for those with preexisting conditions) when they are the individuals with the highest likelihood or risk of being rationed out (no or limited care). If you have a kid with cystic fibrosis do you think the Obama health care system is going to continue top level care, no way rationing will dictate that these resources are being wasted or inefficiently spent and the kids will get minimum care if any. Wake up America.

    4. Pingback: » Financial News Update - 07/29/09 NoisyRoom.net: Where liberty dwells, there is my country…

    5. Pat,Green Bay says:

      This was an excerpt from the early morning bell writer, Bob Moffit—Traditional Medicare routinely covers only 54 percent of the total spending for beneficia­ries’ health care.[10] Without access to Medicare Advantage plans, seniors would have two choices: either settle for the inferior level of coverage of tra­ditional Medicare and go without the additional benefits or buy additional coverage through Medi­gap or some other supplemental coverage option. Meanwhile, the rollback of Medicare Advantage plans would impose a disproportionate burden on the low-income and minority seniors who enroll in them, as well as reduce seniors’ access to Medicare Advantage plans in rural areas.

    6. jim smith says:

      Nobama presides over a jumble of unread socialist legislation, pontificates to us until it's painful and repeats himself with other words. Although America speaks collectively in the voting booth, sometimes we get it wrong. This is one of those times, with living and dead voters falling for unmitigated lies. Like the recent past rejection of immigration "reform", it is time, once again, to utter a very loud NO. We need to take back our country now.

    7. jumpin john says:

      "empowered consumers in a competitive market"

    8. michelle ann , mesa says:

      Quote from email I just received from my congressman. I agree 100% with him ..

      The rising cost of healthcare is truly a major problem. As you know, over 45 million Americans are either unable to acquire health insurance on their own or simply choose not to have coverage.

      I believe that all Americans should have access to affordable healthcare, and the federal government can achieve this by making the market as open as possible and encouraging health insurance companies to offer a wide variety of plans that cover a wide variety of health conditions. The key to meaningful reform is not more government intervention, but rather to allow the free market to control costs and improve quality through choice and competition.

      For those truly unable to acquire health insurance, government programs like Medicaid and welfare are available to qualifying individuals. Medicaid is a health insurance program jointly funded by both the states and the federal government. The United States welfare program provides assistance to qualified low-income individuals and families.

      Waste, fraud, and abuse are prevalent in government programs, and we owe it to all taxpayers to ensure that only those who truly need assistance are the ones receiving it. Expanding the government's role in healthcare will not create access to affordable healthcare but, as we have seen in other countries that have nationalized their healthcare systems, will only create delays, rationing, and increased overall costs. Instead, a free market system will lower costs, encourage innovation, and empower individuals.

      I believe that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are a successful example of the free market system encouraging individuals to obtain health insurance and control where their health care dollars are spent. Millions of Americans are now taking advantage of HSAs, which allow pre-tax dollars to be used for health care expenditures. I support the expansion of HSAs, so that more Americans will have the freedom to determine the direction of their health care dollars.

    9. Merry, Edmond, OK says:

      This isn't just about health care it is about power and control. We are going to wake one morning and find we have no rights at all.

      Of course I won't be around since I am a senior citizen and "it is my duty to die" according to ex gov Lamm of Colorado.

    10. Jimi1959 says:

      Where is the end of life counsel mentioned in the bill. Page number etc. I would like to read it but there are over a thousand pages. Please direct me to this.

    11. Chuck in Virginia says:

      The president and members of congress have forgotten the fact that they are all public servants. The majority of American's do not want government run healthcare. What don't they get?

    12. Jerry from Chicago says:

      I've been in the group health insurance business for 42 years. This is the kind of health insurance employee get from their employers. Most people under age 65 get their Medical insurance through their employer's health plan.

      I can tell you from my experience that the Heritage responses to the government's talking points are accurate.

      So many of those in the government just have no idea of what they are talking about when it comes to health insurance and medical coverage. Instead of wrangling with each other, over things they know nothing about, The President, our Congress and our Senate should have contacted any one of a dozen Actuarial Consulting firms to give them an unbiased and thorough look at the state of health care in America today. That way they would all be looking at the same set of facts. They should be given a primer of insurance terms and be educated on the difference between group and individual medical insurance. They should learn the difference between limited and comprehensive medical insurance policies and the differences between self-insured and fully-insured medical plans. They should be educated on how much both state and federal government mandates over the years have added to the cost of health claims and of medical benefit administration.

      This would be the sensible way to go about it. But I somehow doubt that all of these VERY important people in the Oval Office, Congress and Senate would submit to learning a little about our health care system before scrapping it. Especially since they have no intention whatsoever of giving up the health coverage they have and joining that which they want to foist on the rest of us.

    13. Concerned citizen &a says:

      Is anyone else sick of seeing Totus pontificating daily & nightly

      still lying about "If you like your doc and your insurance policy,you can keep them?!Evidently he has not read the pages

      that don't allow any new enrollment in any private ins.plan after

      the "public option becomes law so if you loose your job,you won't

      be able to chose anything except the "public option".The House bill page states that after age 65,it will be mandatory to

      a discussion with govt" End of life" counselor(will that be a

      "volunteer" pd by tax dollars i.e. Acorn trained ,compassionate

      Marxist who believes in "social justice")Take from the wealthy,

      give to the poor(like we all haven't been giving our tax dollars for govt.housing,food stamps,medical care for over 40 yrs now…Dems never told us what the exit strategy WAS for Lyndon JOHNSON'S " WAR ON POVERTY"IT HAS BEEN OVER 44YRS now,

      congress has approved of several "surges"(more money to expand welfare) without the positive effect the "iraq surge" had! Do we need to ask Harry Reid if that" war is lost" ?! Too bad Walter Cronkite didn't tell us nightly about the heavy costs of that war and turn the country against it like he did with "dinner hour body counts" of Vietnam casualties.We might not be fighting the culture war between those who believe this is

      a great country ,have a strong work ethic and traditional values, close family ties with community & church and believe

      in helping neighbors or fellow americans who have endured a

      devastating illness or hurricane(Katrina..I personally know

      of more than a few WASPs who took time off from their jobs and

      went to New Orleans and/or Biloxi to help people rebuild(Despite the fact Ray Nagan talked about rebuilding "a

      Chocolate City"he didn't seem adverse to accepting help from

      non-blacks!I digress the main point is This Healthcare Reform is a croc,a thinly disguised power grab by the fed.Govt and the

      AARP has no shame ,supporting a plan that will do the opposite

      of what that org.pretends to have as its mission…Helping the

      elderly with "Affordable Insurance Coverage!"

      Johnson's WAR ON POVERTY ?!

    14. Claude Cornell says:

      Anytime the government puts the word "Affordable"

      before anything we should get a good grip on our wallets. Remember "Affordable" housing?

      Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac is a disaster.

      Affordable Healthcare will be a whole lot worse.

    15. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Obama has no discrimination in his Health Care Package, If you are old, infirm, of no social use, or to expensive to care for, then you don't get any Health Care!


    16. Pingback: Morning Bell: Obamacare Is A Deficit Hawk’s Worst Nightmare | Conservative Principles Now

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