Accuracy in Media

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The New York Times published an editorial online Saturday accusing congressional Republicans  of stoking “fear and confusion” with charges that Obamacare is causing insurers to cancel policies and forcing many people to pay substantially higher premiums. They argue that the President merely “misspoke” when he said that “If you like your insurance policy, you can keep it:”

Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it.

Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that. By law, insurers cannot continue to sell policies that don’t provide the minimum benefits and consumer protections required as of next year. So they’ve sent cancellation notices to hundreds of thousands of people who hold these substandard policies. (At issue here are not the 149 million people covered by employer plans, but the 10 million to 12 million people who buy policies directly on the individual market.)

Misspoke? One time maybe, but based on the number of times Obama said it, both before and after passage of Obamacare, makes it a calculated lie.

Calling the plans that are being canceled substandard has become the war cry from Democrats and the White House in a feeble attempt to defend Obamacare, but for at least one person that charge is ludicrous.

Dave Hamilton, who runs the website, took issue last week with the President, calling his insurance plan substandard, in his personal blog:

Yesterday, Mr. Obama called the type of health insurance plan that has served my family for 10+ years “substandard.” This type of plan has served us through the birth of a child, several sets of broken bones, major invasive surgery and related hospitalization, a concussion, Lyme disease, Bell’s Palsy, and all manner of everyday maladies that happen to a growing family.

Every year I take the previous three years’ numbers and run them against all kinds of insurance plans. I, too, like the “pie in the sky” idea of a no-fuss, $30-copay, and every year I hope that my math will show me that in at least one of the previous three years that would have been the smart plan to get. But every single time I do the math it shows me that the only correct move for us is the one I have always chosen: a high-deductible plan that does nothing more than protect us from bankruptcy. True insurance.

With this type of plan we pay for our healthcare starting with dollar one, and the plan essentially only kicks in when we’ve spent more than about $5,000 on any one person in the family. Yes, that means our cash flow is sometimes unpredictably impacted, but it saves us thousands every year.

It’s never made any sense whatsoever for us to carry maternity coverage, either. Even in the year our son was born it made more financial sense to pay out-of-pocket for the pregnancy-related costs than it would have to add maternity to our plan. It’s important to note that while our plan didn’t cover routine maternity costs (by our choice, of course), it would have (and did) cover any pregnancy-related complications. Again, our insurance was chosen by us to minimize our yearly out-of-pocket costs (and protect us from bankruptcy, of course), nothing more.

Every year I put a lot of responsible thought and effort into choosing exactly the right health insurance plan for my family, and for our President — someone to whom we’re supposed to look up and respect — to call it “substandard” says to me that he thinks I’m a substandard father for actively and repeatedly choosing this path for my family.

Screw you, buddy. To call any human “substandard” is not something I’ll tolerate from anyone. Not from my kids, not from my coworkers, and certainly not from you.

While the Times called it an “overblown controversy,” saying that what Obamacare is trying to do is worth the price, for Hamilton and millions of other Americans, the law is going to force them to buy more expensive insurance that they can’t afford, with benefits they don’t need or want.

So much for letting Americans choose what’s best for them.

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