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If You Like It, You CAN'T Keep It

June 8, 2010

Who am I?

"If you like your current plan you will be able to keep it. Let me repeat that: If you like your plan, you'll be able to keep it." That was a direct quote from our President at the White House on July 21, 2009. You may remember… the Administration was desperate to obtain public support for the (still) controversial health care plan, and thought that "promise" would appease the American people. Did it? Well, there were certainly some who bought into the faulty claim, but many of us remained skeptical of the details and ultimate ramifications of such a large, complicated bill. Now, those details are starting to emerge…

Politico published a piece today entitled "Health law could ban low-cost plans." The leading paragraph reads, "Part of the health care overhaul due to kick in this September could strip more than 1 million people of their insurance coverage, violating a key goal of President Barack Obama's reforms."

Here's why:

The "Affordable" Health Care Act would ban the caps currently in place for the amount of insurance company payouts. While, on the surface, this sounds like a positive reform to improve the quality of care, it is problematic for a couple of reasons. There is a niche insurance market, called mini-med plans, which many employees (retail, restaurant workers, etc.) have come to depend on. While these plans do offer limited benefits, they are priced low for low-wage workers who may not be able to afford more comprehensive health care. If caps are eliminated, it could force insurance companies to significantly raise costs or eliminate the plans altogether. That would be detrimental to many of these low-wage workers since insurance exchanges and tax credits will not be available until 2014. According to Politico, a number of employer groups sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and asserted, "this population would likely be left with no coverage until 2014" – again, when tax credits, etc. begin to kick in.

We are still waiting on the Administration to release particulars on how this provision will be implemented, but I'd recommend getting that job at Nordstrom NOW…before it's too late.  


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