Health Care Promises

It’s pretty obvious now that President Obama should not have said anyone who liked their pre-Obamacare individual health insurance policy could keep it. It turns out (a) the right to “keep” an individual policy belongs to insurers, not consumers, and (b) insurers don’t ever much “like” them because they want to boost premiums and/or restrict coverage every year, which means they aren’t grandfathered under ACA.

So that’s a bad for the president. But it is by no means, IMO, equivalent to the constant efforts of Obamacare opponents to claim that (a) a huge number of employers are abandoning their prior willingness to supply health insurance, or (b) that Medicare beneficiaries are affected negatively by Obamacare. Then again, a lot of the same folks pretend that ghettoizing people with preexisting conditions in state-run risk pools is a good idea, and that allowing interstate insurance sales will enhance choice and competition instead of creating a race-to-the-bottom that completely guts existing state insurance regulation.

So all and all, I’d say the president is still in a vastly superior position to his Republican critics in terms of promises about health care. Add in the fact that the “cancelled” policyholders who may or may not have been happy with their individual health insurance will get something much better and maybe even (with subsidies considered) cheaper and it’s no contest.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.