Monday, April 15, 2024

Viral Video Proves that the Real “Junk Insurance” Is Obamacare

Just before Easter, the Biden administration announced it had finalized a proposal it claimed would “protect consumers from being scammed into purchasing lower quality insurance, or ‘junk insurance.’” The finalized rule will prevent insurers from offering short-term limited duration plans, which do not have to meet all of Obamacare’s mandates and regulations, for longer than four months, down from three years (and potentially renewable for longer periods) under a Trump administration rule.

But as one viral video recorded in March suggested, if regulators wanted to crack down on “junk insurance,” they should do something about Obamacare itself. The law has wrecked the marketplace for insurance, and rather than doing anything to help the many people harmed by the law, the Biden administration instead wants to crack down on any avenues Americans have used to escape its worst effects, like short-term limited duration plans.

‘Everything They Said Was Not True

The video, by a two-time bone cancer survivor who lost one of his arms, shows that Obamacare’s harms extend to those with preexisting conditions:

I heard all the talking points of “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” “the average family is going to save $1,500 a year,” “it’s not a tax.” … And then the Democrats were saying Republicans don’t want you to have health insurance if you have preexisting conditions. Well I was a walking preexisting condition having cancer twice.

My insurance was $185/month with a $1,000 deductible. That was for a family of five. So I voted for Obama-Biden in 2008 based on Obamacare. Now fast forward to 2010 when Obamacare was implemented. Everything that they said was not true. The Supreme Court ruled that it was a tax if you didn’t have insurance, that penalty. So that was a lie. Insurance premiums went up instead of down. That was a lie. The insurance policy that I had specifically that I had going through two bouts of cancer — chemotherapy, amputation, all of this stuff. It was great insurance. The insurance company canceled it. … They came up with a new offer and said this is what your new plan will be. … And when I looked at it, the cheapest insurance I could find to replace that one was $1,200 a month with a $6,000 deductible.

(A longer transcript is available here.)

All of the attacks on Obamacare listed here are true, save one: While the video claimed Democrats sold the law on saving the average family $1,500 per year, then-candidate Obama actually claimed the law would save the average family $2,500 per year.

The Unaffordable Care Act

Lest anyone believe this story represents an unintentional consequence or an anomaly, the harmful causes of Obamacare that this individual suffered come directly from the law itself. By mandating a richer benefit package, and allowing people to buy “insurance” after they become sick — a contradiction in terms if ever one existed — the law forced insurance companies to assume that primarily sick people will purchase coverage.

With the benefit package mandated and their customer base sicker than before Obamacare, insurers have only three options to reduce the cost of coverage: 1) raise deductibles, 2) narrow networks, and/or 3) increase premiums. Insurers have used some combination of all three levers, which is how the man in the video went from a plan with a premium of $185 per month and a $1,000 deductible to a plan with a premium of $1,200 per month and a $6,000 deductible.

The Biden administration wants to advertise all the people enrolling in the exchanges in recent months. But as I recently noted, the Biden administration also advertised that 80 percent of those individuals “were able to find health care coverage for $10 or less per month for plan year 2024 after subsidies.” To turn the administration’s salesmanship on its head, if you can only get people to sign up for coverage by having them pay nothing (or next to nothing), how much do they really value that coverage in the first place?

The individual in our video apparently earns too much money to qualify for subsidies, making the “Affordable” Care Act quite unaffordable for him. It’s enough for him to rue his political choices back in 2008: “I voted for that sh-t. And it did nothing but hurt me and my family.” Or, as he put it, the “piece of sh-t legislation,” and the way it led to his plan’s cancellation, meant he could not obtain follow-up cancer screenings for the several years he went without coverage.

Hurting People with Preexisting Conditions

Obamacare hurt individuals who “did the right thing” and maintained coverage before they got sick. It hurt people like the cancer survivor in the video, and the father of a colleague of mine, whom I profiled in my book. In that case, my colleague’s father got his previous insurance plan canceled because of Obamacare and then developed cancer. Again, so much for helping people with preexisting conditions.

The fact that the Biden administration went and killed the market for short-term limited duration insurance, an option that allowed some people to escape the worst effects of the “Unaffordable” Care Act, shows how the left will not tolerate anyone who dares try to opt out of their regulatory schemes. And as our viral correspondent discovered, it will do nothing but hurt the Americans Obamacare was intended to help.

This post was originally published at The Federalist.