“That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health plan, you’ll be able to keep your health plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” President Obama, June 15, 2009, from a speech to the AMA
You know what…that was a great campaign soundbite. It might have even been what he wanted. But, it’s not reality. They made a mistake. Move on. Everyone in healthcare knows the industry needs reform. I think the administration would be better off to admit they were wrong and focus on the benefits of reform and stop trying to defend what they’ve said.
Instead, they continue to try to justify this statement – see whitehouse blog. Stop kidding yourself or get out of the ivory tower. It’s like trying to build a website without any experience. It makes no sense.
As I said the other day, just like healthcare.gov isn’t the same as Health Reform (PPACA). The same goes for this statement. Healthcare needs to change. There are some good things here, but healthcare is complicated and the administration made some mistakes.
At the end of the day, I think we have all been surprised at the rate of change especially for big companies:
- Kroger cuts spousal benefits (but pays $1,000)
- Walgreens moves 160,000 to private exchanges
- Private Exchanges not a fad
People are jumping on this opportunity to drop coverage and shift coverage to the exchanges. Someone should have been able to model out all these scenarios years ago. What if this drives lots of companies to lower hours so that people don’t get coverage and they don’t get penalized. That would be a disaster. We don’t want a society where everyone’s balancing 2-3 jobs just to get to full-time hours. (Of course, some people do it just to pay the bills.)
On the flipside, the idea of creating better healthcare coverage for individuals was a good one, but I’m not sure why anyone thought this would be price neutral. In establishing a baseline offering which everyone has to have (e.g., maternity benefits), this is going to drive up costs. By requiring pricing for 2015 before anyone has experience with 2014 is just going to require companies to underwrite a lot of risk and drive premiums up.
As a good summary read of issues, read 31 Things We Learned in HealthCare.gov’s First 31 Days.