Government plan shuts out workers' private insurance
Created on August 11, 2009
Keeping Your Doctor and Health Plan Not That
By Ken McIntyre
President Barack Obama did it again the other day in Portsmouth,
"Under the reform we're proposing, if you like your doctor, you
can keep your doctor," the president assured the friendly crowd Aug.
11. "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health
Obama has reiterated the same promises about liberals' version
of health care reform going back more than a year now, to the
campaign trail. Now he's trying to reassure a substantial
majority of Americans who are happy with their existing health
But a growing number understand that, with all due respect,
their president's saying so over and over again -- while contending
they'll also "pay less" -- doesn't make it so. In
fact, with the changes he seeks, folks will have less choice in
whether to keep their current doctor or health plan - and in their
own family medical decisions.
That's according to an independent analysis by the non-partisan Lewin
Group, the well-regarded health care policy research and management
consulting firm. (Lewin's clients
include the federal government as well as The Heritage Foundation,
other foundations, associations and health care providers.)
Lewin's study of the House bill, HR 3200, found that 88.1
million workers would lose their existing, employer-sponsored
health insurance and be shifted elsewhere. Many would wind up in a
government-run "public" plan modeled on Medicare.
Nationwide, Lewin calculates, 103.9 million Americans would end
up on the government-run plan as employers opt out of existing
private insurance amid unfair taxpayer-funded competition.
What's more, Lewin estimated the typical American's annual
premium for private coverage could jump as much as $460 per person
as the public plan increasingly shifted costs.
If Congress passes such a plan and he signs it into law,
President Obama simply would not be able to keep repeated promises
that Americans can "keep" their doctors and health plans.
Sadly, this wasn't the only untrue or misleading
statement the president made in New Hampshire as he leads the
all-out effort by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid and other liberal Democrats to salvage a Big
Liberals in Congress are feeling a bit queasy as working Americans increasingly oppose such a
startling government intrusion on their cherished
free choices in a free and competitive market.
Some try to paint conservative lawmakers as "opponents"of
overhauling the health care system who'd rather "do nothing." They
ignore responsible Republican alternatives such as the Patients'
Choice Act, the Health Care Freedom Plan and the Improving Health Care for All Americans
Heritage's health policy experts, sobered by the Lewin study and
fairer, measured approach, continue to call Obama on denying
the plain truth.
"Michelle and I don't want anyone telling us who our family's
doctor should be -- and no one should decide that for you either,"
Obama said in a recent weekly video address. "Under our proposals, if
you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. If you like your
current insurance, you keep that insurance. Period, end of
But as Heritage's Nina Owcharenko and Greg D'Angelo blogged in response, "his assertion is only
true if the story were fiction." They added:
"President Obama has stated that any plan he'd sign must include
a health insurance exchange with a public 'option.' So, if you like
your current insurance you may, in fact, lose it. Period. End of
Ken McIntyre is the Marilyn and Fred Guardabassi
Fellow in Media and Public Policy Studies at The Heritage