As the Obama administration begins to enact the new national health care law, the country’s biggest insurers are promoting affordable plans with reduced premiums that require participants to use a narrower selection of doctors or hospitals.
The plans, being tested in places like San Diego, New York and Chicago, are likely to appeal especially to small businesses that already provide insurance to their employees, but are concerned about the ever-spiraling cost of coverage.
But large employers, as well, are starting to show some interest, and insurers and consultants expect that, over time, businesses of all sizes will gravitate toward these plans in an effort to cut costs.
The tradeoff, they say, is that more Americans will be asked to pay higher prices for the privilege of choosing or keeping their own doctors if they are outside the new networks. That could come as a surprise to many who remember the repeated assurances from President Obama and other officials that consumers would retain a variety of health-care choices.
But companies may be able to reduce their premiums by as much as 15 percent, the insurers say, by offering the more limited plans.
“What we’re seeing is a definite uptick in interest because, quite frankly, affordability is the most pressing agenda item,” said Dr. Sam Ho, the chief medical officer for UnitedHealth’s health-care plans.
Many insurers also expect the plans to be popular with individuals and small businesses who will purchase coverage in the insurance exchanges, or marketplaces that are mandated under the new health care law and scheduled to take effect in 2014.
Tens of millions of everyday Americans will buy their coverage through those exchanges, a vast pool of new customers, including many of the previously uninsured, whom insurers expect will be willing to accept restrictions to get a better deal.
“What this does is eliminate the Gucci doctors,” said Peter Skoda, the controller of the Haro Bicycle Corporation, a Vista, Calif., business that employs 30 people. Facing a possible 35 percent increase in its rates, Haro switched to an Aetna plan that prevents employees from seeing doctors at two medical groups affiliated with the Scripps Health system in San Diego. If employees go to one of the excluded doctors, they are responsible for paying the whole bill.
And just in case you still believe Obama when he says the IRS won't be coming after you if you are without health insurance and do not buy into the shitty plans detailed above, the Obama administration now says the new insurance mandate IS a tax that they will enforce like other tax laws:
WASHINGTON — When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”
And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce.
Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.
Under the legislation signed by President Obama in March, most Americans will have to maintain “minimum essential coverage” starting in 2014. Many people will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them pay premiums.
In a brief defending the law, the Justice Department says the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes.
Wow - so many outrages coming as a DIRECT RESULT of Obama's policies.
How many Obama lies surrounding Obamacare can you count in the above two stories?
Let's see, your coverage won't get worse under the new plan.
Except it does.
You can keep your old doctor.
But only if you pay 100% of the costs.
You won't be hounded by the IRS if you don't buy shitty health insurance in 2014.
But Obama now says you will.
And this is BEFORE the excise tax kicks in.
When that happens, EVERYBODY with employer-provided health care coverage will be dropped from decent plans and given a shitty one or dropped completely and forced to buy into one of the shitty ones.
As I said in an earlier post today, not enough bad stuff can happen to the fucking people in this administration.
UPDATE: Via Politico, the Obama administration is using the new health care reform bill to RESTRICT access to abortions:
A reader forwarded this email that was sent by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards to the activist group's list late yesterday, which comes after a week of debate and push by anti-abortion activists over whether two states would allow elective abortion under the new health care reform bill.
But Richards is arguing the White House is now going further than the bill requires.
The key lines are these: "The Obama administration has decided that no woman in the new high-risk insurance pools will be allowed to obtain abortion coverage beyond limited cases (rape, incest, endangering the life of the woman). Not even if she pays for that coverage with her own money...
"...The president committed his administration to preventing any federal funds from being spent on abortion care. But the fact is, this announcement from HHS goes well beyond that. Nothing in the new health care reform law requires a ban on abortion coverage in the high-risk pools. No law passed by Congress forced this decision. The Obama administration has chosen to place a new burden on ill and medically vulnerable women seeking abortion coverage."
UPDATE: I should note that NARAL and other groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights have been pushing the issue too.
The tea party people are right about Obama - he is a Manchurian candidate.
He's a corporate-friendly/anti-union/anti-traditional public education/anti-abortion center-right sell-out in the guise of a "progressive."
Not that I ever believed the progressive part.
You can go back to NYCEducator.com and look at my Obama posts during the 2008 primary season to see that.
But even I never thought he would be as big a sell-out as he is.