Obama tells insurance companies to shut up, if they know what’s good for them
More thug tactics from a White House that is no stranger to them, as CNN reports insurance companies have been warned to dummy up about the ObamaCare disaster if they know what’s good for them:
“What is going on is a behind-the-scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening on this Affordable Care Act rollout,” reports Andrew Griffin of CNN. “Basically, if you speak out, if you are quoted, you’re going to get a call from the White House, pressure to be quiet.”
According to Griffin’s sources, Bob Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates – a prominent consultant for insurance companies with a history of criticizing ObamaCare – says he’s getting calls from the executives he works with, asking him to speak out on their behalf, “because they feel defenseless against the White House PR team.”
Laszewski told Griffin, “The White House is exerting massive pressure on the industry, including the trade associations, to keep quiet.” Industry sources confirmed “they fear White House retribution.”
Well, if you give massive amounts of power to people with a history of thug behavior, you can’t be surprised if they turn around and use it. Maybe the industry executives who were initially supportive of ObamaCare, because they saw glittering piles of taxpayer loot and loved the idea of their product becoming a federally-mandated purchase for everyone with a pulse, should have thought that all the way through back in 2008 and 2009. Obama’s governing philosophy requires a great deal of obedience from a private sector he keeps nominally separate from the government. There are many tools for compelling obedience. If the White House PR flacks can’t get the job done, there’s always the IRS.
The White House is especially keen to keep insurance companies from talking about “clarifications made to the Affordable Care Act after the law was passed,” which are “forcing the insurance industry to drop insurance plans that do not meet ObamaCare requirements.”
That was the topic of the blockbuster NBC News report that got blockbustered right the hell off the Internet on Monday night, reappearing hours later with the least Obama-friendly paragraphs mysteriously removed, before an outcry from media watchdogs caused them to reappear. It looks like another round of “glitches” over at NBC’s website have been purging comments posted by readers to this piece, while that fine news organization has become curiously reluctant to talk about its own reporting. Lisa Myers, the lead reporter on the story, didn’t even mention her most explosive findings – there is documentation that proves Obama knew he was lying when he repeatedly promised “if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it,” and regulations promulgated by Health and Human Services are deliberately killing hundreds of thousands of insurance policies – when she appeared on television to discuss it.
Here, once again, is the atomic bomb passage from that NBC report, which the network knows is true, but seems to have become hesitant to explore any further, just like insurance company executives are afraid to tell their side of the ObamaCare story:
Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”
None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.
As it happens, Bob Laszewski – the man terrified insurance executives want to speak out against White House intimidation – was quoted in that article:
“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms. Laszewski estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to buy insurance that meets requirements of the new law, which generally requires a richer package of benefits than most policies today.
[...] For months, Laszewski has warned that some consumers will face sticker shock. He recently got his own notice that he and his wife cannot keep their current policy, which he described as one of the best, so-called “Cadillac” plans offered for 2013. Now, he said, the best comparable plan he found for 2014 has a smaller doctor network, larger out-of-pocket costs, and a 66 percent premium increase.
“Mr. President, I like the coverage I have,” Laszweski said. “It is the best health insurance policy you can buy.”
Of course insurance companies don’t want to be painted as heartless villains – veritable traitors against the American people – for following laws ignorantly signed by corrupt Democrats who didn’t bother to read them, and regulations deliberately written by the Obama Administration. And of course this increasingly desperate White House wants to keep its Little Partners silent while they take the fall for Obama’s failure. Snitches get stitches if they squeal about ObamaCare glitches.