Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gruber: People Losing Insurance Plans "Part of Calculation"

Our calculations have outrun conception. we have eaten more than we can digest.

Percy Shelley (1792-1822)

In the House Oversight Committee on Oversight and Government Reform , Representative Patrick McHenry (R) of North Carolina asked Jonathon Gruber about his computer model’s calculations and predictions about how many people would have their health plans cancelled when the plans did not comply with ObamaCare plan benefit requirements.

Said McHenry, “Of my constituents in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, 473,000 lost their health insurance because of ObamaCare. Did you think that there would be such a large number of folks that would lose their health insurance?”

Replied Gruber in an artful bureaucratic dodge to change the subject,” "What I was focused on was the net increase in newly insured we had under the law which has been quite substantial.”

"So it's not relevant to your calculation that there would be people that would lose their health insurance?" McHenry asked.

"That was part of the calculation," Gruber admitted. "I don't recall the exact numbers I modeled but we did model some individuals who would lose existing plans and move to new forms of coverage."

I don't know the exact number in North Carolina, but –“

McHenry: “Well, it is 473,000 according to the Department of Insurance and Raleigh News and Observer.”

In other words, Gruber was saying, “The number cancelled was not my concern. I was only concerned with the numbers of newly insured.”

The number of plans cancellations could be "substantial" since 276 million Americans are covered by health plans, and 20 million of these are in the vulnerable individual market. It has been estimated that 40 million health plans may be subject to cancellation. But not to worry says the Obama administration. The cancellations will be delayed, and besides, in 2010 it was predicted only 66% of those in 40,000 small business plans would face cancellations.

According to HHS and CMS, 6.7 million uninsured people gained insurance through the health exchanges.

How many lost insurance is not known because the states are not obligated to report cancelled policies. The number of cancellations reported vary widely by state. Among the numbers reported are these: Florida 300,000, New Mexico 30,000, Virginia 250,000, Kentucky 14,000, Tennessee 20,000, Nevada 90,000, New Jersey 650,000. These cancelled plans could be the tip of an iceberg.

Let’s take McHenry’s 473,000 cancellation as truth. North Carolina had a population of 9.848 million in 2013. 473,000 of 9.848 million is 4.8% of the population. 4.8% of the current U.S. population would be 15.36 million. The numbers are nowhere near that, according to the New York Times, which says only 2 million have had their plans dropped because of noncompliance with ObamaCare. A small number of no concern , says the Times, unless of course your plan is the one being cancelled, and you are forced to switch to a health exchange plan, 39% of which have higher premiums, deductibles, and co-payments.

Whatever the exact figure, the number of cancellations is in the millions. Gruber knew this would happen back in 2010, as did other designers and writers of the health care law, including President Obama. These cancellations were not part of the adminitration's talking points, which were: ” If you like your doctor and your health plan, you can keep your doctor and your health plan. Period.” That Period should have been a Semicolon or a Colon or maybe even a dash - followed by the phrase, "if your plan meets ObamaCare requirements, in which case your premiums will be higher".

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