ObamaCare will force many to change plans

ObamaCare will force many to change plans

September 4th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Despite assurances to the contrary, many Americans will not be able to keep their current health coverage once ObamaCare kicks in fully in 2014.

A new survey of midsize and large businesses found that about one in 10 plans to drop its employee health coverage once ObamaCare is in effect. That would leave the employees with little choice but to go on ObamaCare, even if they prefer their former insurance plan. An additional 20 percent of the companies polled said they aren't sure what they might do once ObamaCare is fully implemented, the Towers Watson survey found.

That is in stark contrast to President Barack Obama's repeated promises prior to the passage of his socialized medicine law that the law would not force Americans to give up their existing coverage. He said in 2009, for instance, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

But that is simply not true.

Starting in 2014, ObamaCare has provisions requiring that companies with 50 or more full-time employees either provide health coverage approved by the federal government or pay a $2,000 fine per full-time worker, excluding their first 30 workers.

But even after paying the fines, many companies may find it cheaper to drop their own medical insurance plans and let employees go onto government-controlled ObamaCare. Of course, there is no guarantee that ObamaCare will let you keep your current doctor, nor that it will provide the same benefits you're used to receiving under an employer plan.

So in reality, ObamaCare has no guarantees that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan." In fact, even the president has acknowledged that some Americans will lose their current coverage.

Asked about employers dropping coverage, the president said, "When I say, 'If you have your plan and you like it, ... or you have a doctor and you like your doctor,' that you don't have to change plans, what I'm saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform."

But saying that government is not going to make you change your health coverage is quite a different thing from saying that you won't have to change your plan at all. Under ObamaCare, many Americans will have to change their health plans -- in large part because of misguided financial incentives in the law that encourage employers to drop coverage.

And even the estimate that "only" 10 percent of medium-size and large businesses will drop coverage under ObamaCare could be far below the actual number who wind up doing so. A McKinsey & Co. survey found that almost a third of employers definitely or probably think they will drop the plans they offer once ObamaCare is fully in place.

After each of these surveys, the Obama administration has attacked the polling organizations, suggesting the surveys got it wrong and that ObamaCare won't force people into different health care plans.

But fears that ObamaCare will push more and more people into government-run care are, painfully, well-justified.