...people who buy insurance in the individual market who are affected by the ACA changes, it actually as many as 93 million people, most of whom get employer based plans.
On Wednesday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testified before Congress about the continuing issues with the rollout of Obamacare's health insurance exchanges. "Hold me accountable for the debacle," said Sebelius. "I'm responsible." I attended the hearing, and I was struck by the scope, scale, and depth of the health law's problems, problems that far exceed any one political appointee. But Obamacare's disruption of the existing health insurance market—a disruption codified in law, and known to the administration—is only just beginning. And it's far broader than recent media coverage has implied.
If you read the Affordable Care Act when it was passed, you knew that it was dishonest for President Obama to claim that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," as he did—and continues to do—on countless occasions. And we now know that the administration knew this all along. It turns out that in an obscure report buried in a June 2010 edition of the Federal Register, administration officials predicted massive disruption of the private insurance market....
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney attempted to minimize the disruption issue, arguing that it only affected people who buy insurance on their own. "That's the universe we're talking about, 5 percent of the population," said Carney. "In some of the coverage of this issue in the last several days, you would think that you were talking about 75 percent or 80 percent or 60 percent of the American population." (5 percent of the population happens to be 15 million people, no small number, but let's leave that aside.)...
But Carney's dismissal of the media's concerns was wrong, on several fronts. Contrary to the reporting of NBC, the administration's commentary in the Federal Register did not only refer to the individual market, but also the market for employer-sponsored health insurance.
Section 1251 of the Affordable Care Act contains what's called a "grandfather" provision that, in theory, allows people to keep their existing plans if they like them. But subsequent regulations from the Obama administration interpreted that provision so narrowly as to prevent most plans from gaining this protection.
"The Departments' mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013," wrote the administration on page 34,552 of the Register. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their "grandfather status" and become illegal. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 156 million Americans—more than half the population—was covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2013.
Another 25 million people, according to the CBO, have "nongroup and other" forms of insurance; that is to say, they participate in the market for individually-purchased insurance. In this market, the administration projected that "40 to 67 percent" of individually-purchased plans would lose their Obamacare-sanctioned "grandfather status" and become illegal, solely due to the fact that there is a high turnover of participants and insurance arrangements in this market. (Plans purchased after March 23, 2010 do not benefit from the "grandfather" clause.) The real turnover rate would be higher, because plans can lose their grandfather status for a number of other reasons.
How many people are exposed to these problems? 60 percent of Americans have private-sector health insurance—precisely the number that Jay Carney dismissed. As to the number of people facing cancellations, 51 percent of the employer-based market plus 53.5 percent of the non-group market (the middle of the administration's range) amounts to 93 million Americans.
Maybe the good folks at Mother Jones just didn't see that CBO report; it's more likely that they decided to ignore it, as it just doesn't fit the radical statist template - as truth so seldom does. They certainly can't claim that this a recent development, as the rule was written in 2010. If you want to plow through the rule, it's at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-06-17/pdf/2010-14488.pdf.
The cancellations aren't "phony", Rob, nor is the fact that ACA-compliant plans with the same deductibles and co-pays cost much more (almost $2,000/year more in my case).