When I was a child, ice cream came in three flavors – Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry. I was good with that since I liked all three. Then one day my father shattered my view of the universe. He came home with a quart of Peach ice cream. That started me to wondering, “What will they think up next.” Little did I know that they would think up a lot.
Years later, Dad took me to a Howard Johnson restaurant. They had an astounding 28 flavors of ice cream from which I could select. And then I heard about a place called Baskin Robbins that topped that with 31 flavors. By the time I stepped inside my first BR I was in college and I realized that the universe was a much more wondrous place than the three flavor variety I accepted as a child.
Currently there are thousands of different health insurance policies available to the consumer. That’s about to change. Unlike the ice cream industry which realized that consumers liked choices and that limiting those choices resulted in fewer satisfied customers, Obamacare has reduced those thousands of policies to a mere four. And in the view of the administration that’s a good thing because they, more than the consumer, know what is best.
Well, perhaps they do. I’m willing to admit that. But the explanations for why so many people are receiving cancellation notices from their present insurers is a bit confusing. How many times did President Obama promise, “If you like your policy you can keep your policy?” The spin put on “explaining” this statement has taken several paths.
The first explanation that is being offered by those who are Obamacare enthusiasts is that this is only going to affect five percent of the population. That’s about 14 million people. For a government that runs deficits in the billions, I guess that number would be considered statistically insignificant – unless you happen to be one of those affected.
The second explanation is that it isn’t the government but the insurance companies that are responsible for the cancellations. That’s true. But what they fail to disclose is that the insurers are being required to issue these cancellation notices because their specific plans don’t meet the four flavor variety standards which are mandated by the law and the regulations written by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services.
The third explanation, born out of the largesse and wisdom of the cognoscenti in the bureaucracy is that “We’re really doing these people with ‘sub-standard’ policies a favor by pushing them into policies that offer far better coverage.” There might be some truth that replacing “skinny” policies with “obese” ones is a benefit – but only if a person wants all the bells and whistles they offer. Why a single thirty year old with no children would select a policy that includes pediatric eye care and be happy to pay for it is unclear to me – and probably to that thirty year old as well.
I sincerely believe that there are a lot of Obamacare boosters who truly think that they are doing something good for the populace, getting them into more comprehensive insurance – whether they want it or not. The predication for their assumption is that they, rather than the individual consumer, knows better what is in their best interest and ultimately in the best interest of the country. Which brings me to a confusing and contradictory provision in the ACA.
If we are to assume that having more extensive insurance will not only be better for the insured and (this is a highly arguable belief) that this will result in better healthcare at a more affordable cost, it would seem logical that if having a better plan is a good thing, having the best plan would be an even better thing. Therefore, we should encourage everyone to have the best plan that there is.
If we accept that assumption then why, beginning in 2018 does the law impose a punitive tax of 40% on what are known as “Cadillac insurance plans” – the most comprehensive plans available in the market place? It’s all so confusing.
Well, I often do my best thinking over a little treat. So I think I’ll head downstairs to the kitchen and serve up two scoops of Rocky Road ice cream – in honor of Obamacare.