The Arrogance of Obama, and Obamacare

So I guess the Left has hit on its favored meme in response to the millions of insurance cancellations.  From Obama to Valerie Jarrett to any number of bloggers, the explanation is that the cancelled policies were "sub-standard".  We may have thought we liked them, but it turns out we were wrong.  Deluded in fact.

These folks -- despite not knowing my income, my net worth, my health situation, my age, my family size, my number and age of kids, my risk adversity, my degree of hypochondria, my preventative care habits, my diet, my lifestyle, my personal preferences and priorities, or any details about my insurance policy that I spend many hours analyzing and cross-comparing -- have decided they know better than I what health insurance I should want.

My plan was not substandard.  I graduated magna cum laude in engineering from Princeton and was first in my class at Harvard Business School.  I spent hours shopping for my coverage and was fully satisfied with my resulting policy.  Many of the aspects of my policy that cause Obama to call it "sub-standard" -- lack of mental health care, lack of pediatric dental care, lack of maternity care, lack of free contraception, a higher than average deductible -- were my preferences.  I got what I wanted.

More expensive, more highly featured products are not necessarily "better".  A Mercedes is not necessarily the best car choice for a middle class buyer just because it has more features than his Taurus.  Would Obama tell that person his Taurus is "sub-standard" and force him to pay for a Mercedes? If not, why the hell is doing the exact same thing but with health insurance OK?

From his speech today, via Bryan Preston

When Obama came to that section of his speech when the line usually falls, he went with a new spin. If you’ve lost your healthcare thanks to his law, he wants you to know that you were just “under-insured.” Because he says so.

“One of the things health reform was designed to do was to help not only the uninsured but also the under-insured,” he said.

“If you had one of these substandard plans before the Affordable Care Act became law, and our really liked that plan, you are able to keep it. That’s what I said when I was running for office.”

“But ever since the law was passed, if insurers decided to cancel or downgrade these substandard plans, what we said, under the law, is you have got to replace them with quality, comprehensive coverage,” he said, “because, that, too, was a central premise of the Affordable Care Act from the very beginning.”

Update:  ugh

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 9.12.14 AM

Update #2:  Yesterday I said the time seemed right for the Left to pick a meme to explain the insurance cancellations and then give the media its marching orders.  David Firestone of the NYT has gotten the memo

The so-called cancellation letters waved around at yesterday’s hearing were simply notices that policies would have to be upgraded or changed. Some of those old policies were so full of holes that they didn’t include hospitalization, or maternity care, or coverage of other serious conditions.

Republicans were apparently furious that government would dare intrude on an insurance company’s freedom to offer a terrible product to desperate people.

“Some people like to drive a Ford, not a Ferrari,” said Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. “And some people like to drink out of a red Solo cup, not a crystal stem. You’re taking away their choice.”

Luckily, a comprehensive and affordable insurance policy is no longer a Ferrari; it is now a basic right. In the face of absurd comments and analogies like this one, Ms. Sebelius never lost her cool in three-and-a-half hours of testimony, perhaps because she knows that once the computer problems and the bellowing die down, the country will be far better off.

So you see the talking points as the media gets their orders.  1.  All policies that were cancelled were sub-standard.  2.  People will be better off with more expensive policies, even if they are too dumb to konw it.

My policy was perfectly fine.  I was not tricked.  I am willing to bet I am at least as smart as David Firestone.  I am positive I am smarter than Barrack Obama.  And yet my policy was cancelled.


  1. Methinks1776:

    I will just gently shove the spiked tip of my boot up their *ss at 150 mph and then patiently explain that I've determined that it's good for them and I had to go ahead and do it to them since they didn't know it was good for them. I'm just an angel of mercy like that.

  2. marque2:

    I like the great hole that the plans don't cover maternity. My wife and I no longer um - well its kind of personal - but we don't need maternity insurance any longer.

  3. mesaeconoguy:

    My corporate plan changed directly as a result of Obamascare. Nobody is talking about that impact.

    I just had the equivalent of a major tax increase levied on me, and am adjusting spending accordingly.

    And Obama wants to “fix” the economy? LMGDFAO, this will kill it even more.

    The stupidity and arrogance of this crowd is shocking.

  4. Methinks1776:

    Yes. Obama totally gives a damn about the economy. I believe that. I'm going to go pet my unicorn now.

  5. Methinks1776:

    You know, talk is cheap. That's why these bastards will just keep running their mouths. American are stuck with this POS. It doesn't matter what they say. It doesn't matter if you vote out every single Demonrat in the next election. The special interests are already entrenched and, as Coyote points out, changing will be difficult for the insurance companies. This is why Mesaeconguy and I joined forces in 2009 to do everything in our power to stop the passage of this POS. Sit back and watch the train wreck, screaming "I toooooold you so!".

  6. mesaeconoguy:

    Be sure to clean up the solid golden shits.

  7. MichaelMoran:

    Question. Everyone is talking about individual plans that are getting cancelled. What about plans provided by employers where such plans do not meet standards. Plan I provide for my employees falls in that group. Was requirement that employer plans meet requirements delayed with delay of individual mandate? Large employers who self insure are different, but small employers who offer group plans are going to be limited in the plans they can offer. This is much larger group, as 140 million get insurance from employer, and maybe 60% are group plans (not self insured). Anyone with some answers? Or thoughts on how that plays out.

  8. Stirner:

    The great irony is the Obamacare plans are the ones that are substandard. Extremely high deductibles, and in many cases a total lack of out-of network coverage. Want to go to that specialty cancer clinic....sorry chump, out of network, no insurance for you!

    Millions of Americans are about to learn how an insurance deductible works. There is no spinning what is going to happen when they start getting those bills for Dr. office visits on top of their pricey premium costs....

  9. Canvasback:

    Good health is worth paying for. I wish we would look after our health the way we look after our money. Wait, strike that. Anyway, I haven't heard the ACA promotion team talk about how as a nation we'll have better health outcomes. And there doesn't seem to be any metric for success, either financially or in health. It's like they just decided to take over and worry about what happens later.

  10. mesaeconoguy:

    My large corporate employer self-insures, but we had to change anyway, to avoid the Cadillac tax.

    My deductible went up, and my prescription drug coverage went to almost nil, so I'm out-of-pocket on a lot of stuff, which is the same as a tax.

  11. LowcountryJoe:

    "There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." ~ The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

  12. LowcountryJoe:

    Did you read Walter Williams' most recent piece?

  13. KRB:

    BUT..... he said you could keep it, a whole lot of times

  14. Methinks1776:

    No. I'll go look for it. Thanks for letting me know.

  15. Jeff Southall:

    "about plans provided by employers where such plans do not meet standards"
    For now, nothing, but Section 1302 eventually takes over all insurance plans, regardless, with the control function being tax issues for non compliant plans.

  16. glenn.griffin3:

    As near as I can tell, all the employer-sponsored plans that don't pass muster will also be cancelled, but this administration is not enforcing it until Jan 2015, with the employer mandate. Vague information out there, though: -- wouldn't it be nice if the mainstream news could do some digging for us ...

  17. Another_Brian:

    The second part of this defense appears to be "Even though the price tag for your 'better' plan is higher than what you were paying for your 'substandard' plan, you won't be paying as much because we're going to force other people to buy your insurance for you through 'taxpayer subsidies'."

  18. Methinks1776:

    Michael, the way I understand it is that insurance companies are going ahead and canceling employer plans if they do not meet the arbitrary requirements of OBullsh*tcare. If you as an employer are choosing not to sign up for the new cr*ppier plans, you will not face a fine until next year.

    So, the mandate to buy insurance is delayed but the elimination of your preferred insurance plan is not.

  19. MNHawk:

    "...have decided they know better than I what health insurance I should want."

    Of course. Who else, other than people too stupid for medical school, else they'd be practicing medicine, too stupid for business/fiance, else they'd be underwriting the insurance they think best offered, but apparently smart enough for a school of government, would be qualified to determine what you need? You? Don't be silly.

    "I graduated magna cum laude in engineering from Princeton and was first in my class at Harvard Business School."

    Pa-leeze. Did you ever venture into the part of Harvard harboring the real rocket surgeons of society, the Kennedy School of Government? then shut up, you deserve to have no say in your life. Only your betters should have that say.

    /sarc, just in case it's needed. ;-)

  20. mahtso:

    What they did not know about the blogger was obviously not important to them. I am not sure whether the fact that the blogger believes its coke and pepsi had any effect on them. Although it may appear that I am beating a dead horse by repeatedly bringing up coke/pepsi, remember we are only a year away from another election.

  21. lelnet:

    No, free speech is a basic right. Bearing arms is a basic right. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure is a basic right. Freedom from self-incrimination is a basic right.

    Know what distinguishes these things from health insurance plans containing features we won't use and don't want?

    That's right...obtaining them merely requires the _passive tolerance of others_, rather than us spending the overwhelming bulk of our incomes!

  22. Nehemiah:

    The employer mandate was delayed until Oct 1st 2014. Traditionally, employer plans have an annual renewal mechanism. Typically the same plan was available, but pricing was adjusted based on general factors and plan experience. However, if your current plan expires on or after Oct 1st 2014, your insurer must modify your plan to meet the Obamacare minimums. You may or may not have a problem with the new premiums, but if you do your recourse is to dump your employees onto the exchange and pay the penalty. This will happen to a lot of employee plans.

  23. Cardin Drake:

    The answer of course, is this is really about income redistribution. Why make you pay for somebody else's Taurus, when the government can make you pay for their Mercedes?

  24. perlhaqr:

    Would Obama tell that person his Taurus is "sub-standard" and force him to pay for a Mercedes?

    No, he'd just mandate that everyone is required to have transportation, and end up forcing that person to buy a bus pass... for the price of a Mercedes.

  25. Hoosier Grandma:

    No, it's even scarier than that. He's forcing you to buy a bus pass, even if there are no buses in your town.