Why ‘If You Like Your Plan’ Can’t Be Fixed
Nov. 15, 2013
NYT columnist Ross Douthat says there’s no good way to let people keep their health plans within the context of Obamacare (and he’s right).
Instead, he suggests an approach the President might take to placate people who are losing lower-cost coverage that they liked:
Obamacare’s regulations could be rewritten to allow insurers to sell less comprehensive plans on the exchanges. This wouldn’t require doing away with every new regulation, or rolling back the pre-existing condition guarantee, which is what liberals argue the Upton bill currently being considered in the House would do. But it could involve heeding the recent hint from the University of Chicago’s Harold Pollack, a card-carrying Obamacare advocate, that perhaps in the wake of the last month’s developments the government should ”revisit just how minimal the most minimal insurance packages should be,” which in turn could open the door to allowing many more people to buy the kind of high-deductible catastrophic plans that the law currently allows insurers to only sell to twentysomethings.
I don’t think this can work, either. Broadly, there are three reasons people who buy individual market insurance may be facing premium increases due to Obamacare. The Douthat/Pollack approaches don’t go very far in addressing them: